After much hype, publicity and a measure of controversy, BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN’S vaunted soul long player, ‘Only The Strong Survive’ wins official release at the end of the week – just in time for the lucrative Christmas present trade!

Much of the controversy surrounding the Boss’s 15 track homage to what he calls “ the legendary catalogues of Motown, Gamble and Huff, Stax and many more” comes  from so-called soul purists who ask why the singer has “dared” venture into soul. Well, it seems to us @ SJF that those purists don’t really want to spread “the faith”. Selfishly, they seem to want to keep it all to themselves! We think that Only The Strong Survive’ is an honest homage to soul, its rich heritage and a marker , from a major player, to just how much soul has impacted on popular culture! And if it turns others onto soul, so much the better!

For the record, you’ll probably know that ‘Only The Strong Survive’ feature’s Brucie’s versions of things like Jerry Butler’s ‘Only the Strong Survive’ and ‘Hey Western Union Man’, the Temptations’ I Wish It Would Rain’, the Four Tops ‘Seven Rooms Of Gloom’ and ‘When She Was My Girl’ and, of course, Frank Wilson’s ‘Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)’ which was  the album heralding single. Sam Moore guests on two tracks, ‘Soul Days’ and ‘I Forgot to Be Your Lover’. The former is an old and little known Dobie Gray tune which shows that Mr S  must have done plenty of homework in the soul archive.