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Record Guide

These capsule reviews of a few currently available releases are designed to help readers decide which records to buy. Inclusion does not indicate Monitor endorsement. Further reviews in the rock/pop category - as well as in other categories, such as classical and jazz - are published from time to time. ROCK/POP

Bruce Springsteen: ''Nebraska.'' Columbia TC 38358. From the haunting harmonica that opens the album to the powerful lyrics that bring it to a close, ''Nebraska'' is a departure from the usual fast-paced Springsteen album. Most obvious is the absence of the E Street Band, which has backed Springsteen on all of his previous albums. Though originally planned to be recorded with the band, Springsteen felt that the impact and depth of the songs were lost with the heavy instrumentation, so the original experimental tape Springsteen made was re-engineered for the album. The result is a purely acoustical album with an intimate yet powerful flavor, one that will satisfy old Springsteen fans and probably bring him some new ones. Each cut is a tale of either power or glory, joy or despair.

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