If you're someone who looks on albums as friends, then one of the best that anyone could have is Bruce Springsteen's 32-year-old masterpiece 'Darkness on the Edge of Town' - good times or bad, things always feel better when it's around and the drums to opener 'Badlands' kick in. Those 10 songs have stitched themselves into so many lives that the record's power and mythology continue to grow, and 'The Promise' adds a great lost chapter to its story and those of the millions who have made it their own.

Twenty-one unreleased recordings from the 'Darkness...' sessions, it's like hearing all about an old pal from the years before you knew them: you understand them in a different way, find new stuff to wonder about and (hopefully) strengthen the bond between the two of you. From jukebox hero to late night saviour, Springsteen offers many different sides to his personality here and, yet again, his creativity astounds, soothes and inspires.

Listen to tracks from 'The Promise'.

Whether any of these tracks or versions of classics should have made the final cut in 1978 is for everybody to decide for themselves - there's no right or wrong answer in what music means to you. What's undeniable, however, is that two minutes in and another 86 later, 'The Promise' sounds perfect for the magic era from which it came and as fresh as anything out there today.

"Tough music for folks in tough circumstances," as the man himself says. The more things change...

Harry Guerin