BORDER GUARD

Studio version


Bless on the border guard so cold and alone
Bless on the child so far from home

Pity the border guard who feels like a woman to cry
Pity the border guard whose life guards the line
A line is a funny thing, a border, sometimes
A line is a hurting thing, used only to divide

I pity the refugee whose home lies behind
I pity the border guard and his border line
He keeps his machine gun nose pointed to the sky
The night time is his master and you know the dawn light brings his captor

And I pity the border guard, as he walks, well as he walks his own
The echo of his footsteps is all a friend would know
A home is a funny thing, you get tied to the earth
Like love is a crazy thing in the eyes of a child

I pity the border guard whose soul taken captive at birth
May the sweet brace him free and show him how to be so wild
Yes, a line is a funny thing, a border, sometimes
A line is a hurting thing, used only to divide

He who made the open plains and the world one and all
Could not have conceived with a barbed wire brain for the building of the wall
And at night I keep my fire bright that I may be safe when I sleep
Till I wake on that wonderful morning with no more light, well maybe, oooh


Info

BORDER GUARD is a song written by Bruce Springsteen. He probably performed it live with The Bruce Springsteen Band in mid-1971 (see the "Live History" section below). He also recorded the song in studio (see the "Composition and Recording" section below). The above lyrics are for the studio version of BORDER GUARD.

Composition and Recording

There is no indication to when BORDER GUARD was written. One studio version of the song is in circulation among collectors. It's a studio take likely recorded around May-Jun 1972 at Jim Cretecos' apartment in New York City, NY. It features Springsteen solo on vocals and acoustic guitar. The May-Jun 1972 sessions at Jim Cretecos' apartment were produced by Cretecos who also took the role of recording engineer. The above lyrics transcribed from that circulating studio version of BORDER GUARD.

Unofficial Releases

The studio version of BORDER GUARD was released on the briefly-legal albums Unearthed (Masquerade Music, second issue only) and Before The Fame (Pony Express Records, second and third issues only). See PRODIGAL SON for more details.

Bruce Springsteen -- Unearthed (Masquerade Music, second issue)
Bruce Springsteen -- Unearthed (Masquerade Music, second issue)
Bruce Springsteen -- Before The Fame (Pony Express Records, second issue)
Bruce Springsteen -- Before The Fame (Pony Express Records, second issue)
Bruce Springsteen -- Before The Fame (Pony Express Records, third issue)
Bruce Springsteen -- Before The Fame (Pony Express Records, third issue)

Live History

BORDER GUARD is known to have been performed at least once in Bruce Springsteen's early years (pre-October 1972). Very little is known about shows from this early period, and therefore, the song may have been played on some more dates.

  1. 22 or 29 Jul 1971 at D'Scene, South Amboy, NJ (with The Bruce Springsteen Band)

An early Bruce Springsteen handwritten song list (see scan below) is recalled with some degree of confidence by one of The Bruce Springsteen Band members as emanating from one of the band's July 1971 bookings at D'Scene in South Amboy, NJ. The Bruce Springsteen Band made two consecutive Thursday evening appearances at the club, on 22 and 29 July 1971. They headlined two gigs each night, one at 9:00 p.m. and one at 11:30 p.m., with Sunny Jim opening. The handwritten song list was auctioned on the It's Only Rock 'N Roll online auction website in June 2006. The bid started at $500.00 and reached $2221.44. The document contains a list of 22 songs, including BORDER GUARD. This is not a setlist, but many (or possibly all) of the listed songs must have been performed at the 22 and 29 Jul 1971 shows at D'Scene.

Bruce Springsteen handwritten song list from the July 1971 shows at D'Scene, South Amboy, NJ
Bruce Springsteen handwritten song list from the July 1971 shows at D'Scene, South Amboy, NJ

Covers

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

References

Some of the above info about the studio recording and the live performance is taken from Brucebase.

Available Versions

List of available versions of BORDER GUARD on this website:

BORDER GUARD [Studio version]

Page last updated: 07 Apr 2013