BISHOP DANCED

Live 09 Jan 1973 version


Bishop danced with a thumbscrew woman
Did a double-quick back flip and slid across the floor
The Catholic traffic flowed freely across the river
And fiddlestick fiddled quick out the front door

Oh, baby dumpling, mama's in the back tree
If the bow breaks, mama might fall
Little sad and only, baby don't be lonely
Mama knows arithmetic, knows how to take a fall
Mama knows arithmetic, knows how to take a fall

And the children cried, "Flapjacks, make 'em fat, early in the morning"
Little Jack, grab your hat, hear the breakfast call
Muskrat, bat a cat, kick 'em in the fireplace
Someone's in the kitchen blowing "Dinah" on their horn
Someone's in the kitchen blowing "Dinah" like they're born

Well, maverick daddy got a one-eyed bride
She glides like a monkey-mule kicking on the back slide
Over hill, over hill, daddy don't you spill now
Papa's got a switch stick, he's pumping little Bill
Papa's got a switch stick, he's pumping little Bill

And Billy cries, "Tomahawk, tomahawk, daddy better duck now"
Mohawk, Mohawk, they're still out there in the woods
Monatuk, Ocanuk, running through my dreams now
With fire on their fingertips and engine screams
Fire on their fingertips and feathers made of moonbeams

And early in the morning the cannoneer cried
"I seen the sailor's warning in the western sky"
Oh, mountain man, if you can, cut me down a fir tree
With branches full of candlesticks for baby and me

And baby cries, "Duke, Duke, the weathervane, she's pointing the way to heaven"
Scatterbrains, scatterbrains, watch out where you fall
Champagne, champagne, a round for all the old choir boys
Jumping off the altar chasing Dinah through the hall
They're jumping off the altar chasing Dinah through the hall

And like kids they're crying, "Flapjacks, make 'em fat, early in the morning"
Little Jack, grab your hat, hear the breakfast call
Muskrat, bat a cat, kick him in the fireplace
Someone in the kitchen 's blowing "Dinah" on their horn
Someone in the kitchen 's blowing "Dinah" like they're born


Intro

BISHOP DANCED is a song written by Bruce Springsteen. He performed it live a handful of times in 1973, and later in 2012. The live 31 Jan 1973 (early show) version of the song was officially released on the Tracks box set in 1998.

The above lyrics are transcribed from the live 09 Jan 1973 version of BISHOP DANCED.

The 09 Jan 1973 WBCN-FM Radio Performance

The above lyrics are for the live 09 Jan 1973 radio performance of BISHOP DANCED as broadcast on Boston's WBCN-FM. The song was played solo on acoustic guitar.

Bruce Springsteen's first ever radio station performance took place on 09 Jan 1973 and was broadcast live on Boston's WBCN-FM. The show took place at WBCN-FM radio station in Boston, MA, and was hosted by legendary DJ Maxanne Sartori who worked the afternoon shift at WBCN in the early seventies.

Promotional ad for DJ Maxanne Sartori afternoon show on WBCN-FM in the early seventies
Promotional ad for DJ Maxanne Sartori afternoon show on WBCN-FM in the early seventies
(Taken from Brucebase)

In addition to band members Clarence Clemons, Danny Federici, and Garry Tallent (Vini Lopez was not present), co-manager Jim Cretecos, roadie/soundman Albee Tellone, and CBS representative Ed Hynes were in the broadcast studio; the three provided party-like background vocals on BLINDED BY THE LIGHT.

The radio show was recorded off the airways and is available in very good quality on bootleg CDs. This is the earliest circulating "live" audio with what would become the E Street Band. Unfortunately, the recording is missing nearly all of the show's last track plus some concluding discussions about Springsteen's upcoming tour plans. According to Brucebase, a complete but poor quality tape of the show was allegedly circulating in the Boston area for a brief period during the mid-seventies but seems to have vanished from the tape trading pool.

The 09 Jan 1973 WBCN-FM radio broadcast was commercially released in Europe. Since 2005 some enterprising record labels in Europe (mostly in the UK) have been releasing Bruce Springsteen radio and TV broadcasts (and some soundboard recordings) from the seventies, eighties, and nineties. Though these releases are not authorized by Bruce Springsteen or his record company, they are lawful due to a legal loophole in Europe.

Bruce Springsteen -- Bound For Glory
Bruce Springsteen -- Bound For Glory

CD - Leftfield Media (LFMCD516) - UK, 2011

This release contains the 09 Jan 1973 WBCN-FM radio broadcast and the 24 Apr 1973 WMMR-FM radio broadcast.
Bruce Springsteen -- Bound For Glory
Bruce Springsteen -- Bound For Glory

2xLP - Let Them Eat Vinyl (LETV039LP) - UK, 2012

This release contains the 09 Jan 1973 WBCN-FM radio broadcast and the 24 Apr 1973 WMMR-FM radio broadcast. It was released under exclusive agreement with Leftfield Media.
Bruce Springsteen -- The Spirit Of The Radio: Legendary Broadcasts From The Early 1970s
Bruce Springsteen -- The Spirit Of The Radio: Legendary Broadcasts From The Early 1970s

3xCD - Parallel Lines (PLCD022) - Europe, 2014

This release contains the 09 Jan 1973 WBCN-FM radio broadcast, the 24 Apr 1973 WMMR-FM radio broadcast, and part of the 05 Feb 1975 broadcast from The Main Point.
Bruce Springsteen -- Acoustic Radio 1973
Bruce Springsteen -- Acoustic Radio 1973

CD - Good Ship Funke (GSF006) - UK, 2015

This release contains the 09 Jan 1973 WBCN-FM radio broadcast and the 31 May 1973 WGOE-FM radio broadcast.
Bruce Springsteen -- The 1973 Acoustic Radio Sessions
Bruce Springsteen -- The 1973 Acoustic Radio Sessions

2xLP - Let Them Eat Vinyl (LETV374LP) - UK, 2015

This release contains the 09 Jan 1973 WBCN-FM radio broadcast and the 31 May 1973 WGOE-FM radio broadcast.
Bruce Springsteen -- Live In Studio 1974 + Bonus 1973
Bruce Springsteen -- Live In Studio 1974 + Bonus 1973

LP - DOL (DOR2109H) - Europe, 2016

This release contains the 09 Mar 1974 KLOL-FM radio broadcast and part of the 09 Jan 1973 WBCN-FM radio broadcast.
Bruce Springsteen -- Acoustic Radio Broadcast Collection
Bruce Springsteen -- Acoustic Radio Broadcast Collection

2xCD - The Broadcast Archive (BSCD6047) - UK, 2017

This release contains the 09 Jan 1973 WBCN-FM radio broadcast, the 31 May 1973 WGOE-FM radio broadcast, the 09 Mar 1974 KLOL-FM radio broadcast, and the 09 Apr 1974 WBCN-FM radio broadcast. This is a repackaging of Good Ship Funke's Acoustic Radio 1973 and Acoustic Radio 1974.
Bruce Springsteen -- Satin Doll
Bruce Springsteen -- Satin Doll

LP - Roxborough Music (ROXMB001) - UK, 2017

This release contains the 09 Jan 1973 WBCN-FM radio broadcast and the 31 May 1973 WGOE-FM radio broadcast.
Bruce Springsteen -- Live In Studio 1973-1974
Bruce Springsteen -- Live In Studio 1973-1974

LP - BRR (BRR4035LPP) - Europe, 2017

This release contains the 09 Mar 1974 KLOL-FM radio broadcast and part of the 09 Jan 1973 WBCN-FM radio broadcast.

Composition and Recording

There is no indication to when BISHOP DANCED was written. The song is rumored to have been recorded during the Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. period (April 1972 to February 1973).

Official Releases

Other versions of BISHOP DANCED were officially released:

Bruce Springsteen -- Tracks (album cover art)
The live 31 Jan 1973 (early show) version of BISHOP DANCED was officially released on the Tracks box set in 1998.

Live History

In 1973, Bruce Springsteen performed BISHOP DANCED on one radio performance. The song was played solo on acoustic guitar.

BISHOP DANCED is known to have been performed at least twice during the Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. Tour. Very little is known about the 1972 and 1973 shows, and therefore, the song must have been played on some more dates. The live 31 Jan 1973 (early show) version of BISHOP DANCED was officially released on the Tracks box set in 1998.

After disappearing from Springsteen's repertoire for 39 years, BISHOP DANCED was performed twice during the Wrecking Ball Tour (133 dates, March 2012 to September 2013). On this tour, the song was played for the first time ever with the E Street Band.

  1. 02 May 2012 at Prudential Center, Newark, NJ
  2. 19 Nov 2012 at Pepsi Center, Denver, CO

Covers

As far as it's known, no artist has recorded and released Bruce Springsteen's BISHOP DANCED.

References

Some of the above info about the live performances is taken from Brucebase.

Available Versions

List of available versions of BISHOP DANCED on this website:

BISHOP DANCED [Live 09 Jan 1973 version]
BISHOP DANCED [Live 31 Jan 1973 (early show) version]
BISHOP DANCED [Live 02 Mar 1973 version]

Page last updated: 01 Apr 2013