COUNTY FAIR

Album version


Every year when summer comes around
They stretch a banner 'cross the main street in town
You can feel somethin' happenin' in the air
Well from Carol's house up on Telegraph Hill
You can see the lights goin' up out in the soldiers' field
Gettin' ready for the county fair

County fair, county fair
Everybody in town will be there
So come on, hey, we're goin' down there
Hey little girl with the long blond hair
Come win your daddy one of them stuffed bears
Baby down at the county fair

Now you'll be hangin' tight when we hit the top
And that rollercoaster's ready to drop
And you brag, how you wasn't even scared*
Well baby you know I just love the sound
Of the pipe organ on the merry-go-round
Baby down at the county fair**

County fair, county fair
Everybody in town will be there
So come on, we're goin', goin' down there
Hey little girl with the long blond hair
Come win your daddy one of them stuffed bears
Baby down at the county fair

Now at the north end of the field, well they set up a stand
And they got a little Rock 'N' Roll band
The people dancin', yeah, out in the open air
Well it's James Young and the Immortal Ones
Just two guitars, baby, bass and drums
Just rockin' down at the county fair

Well county fair, county fair
Everybody in town will be there
So come on, we're goin' down there
Hey little girl with the long blond hair
Come win your daddy one of them stuffed bears
Baby down at the county fair

Now it's gettin' late before we head back to town
We let the fortune wheel spin around
Come on mister, tell me what's waitin' out there
On my way out I steal a kiss in the dark
Hope I can remember where our car's parked
Baby at the county fair

Now off down the highway there's the last stream of cars
We sit a while in my front yard
With the radio playin' soft and low
I pull Carol close to my heart
And I lean back and stare up at the stars
Oh I wish never had to let this moment go


Born In The U.S.A. outtake released for the first time on The Essential Bruce Springsteen bonus disc in 2003. This detailed portrait of a small-town end-of-summer fair could be viewed as a sequel to WILD BILLY'S CIRCUS STORY which was written over 10 years earlier.

* Some sources replace this line with "You'll be braggin' that you wasn't even scared"; hard to distinguish which one Bruce sings.
** On The Essential Bruce Springsteen booklet, this line is "As it (bells) at the county fair", but I think it should be "Baby, down at the county fair".

The song was recorded between mid-Jan and mid-Feb 1983 at Springsteen's home studio (Hollywood Hills Garage Studio, Los Angeles, CA) after the Nebraska sessions.

There are two studio versions of this song in circulation. The first one appears on The Lost Masters vol. 17 (Labour Of Love) bootleg. According to the liner notes on The Lost Masters vol. 17, that version is a solo outtake recorded by Bruce between Jan and May 1983 at Hollywood Hills Garage Studio, Los Angeles, CA.

The second one, and the more popular of the two, first appeared on The Lost Masters vol. 19 (Labour Of Love), The Lost Masters Essential Collection (Labour Of Love), The Genuine Tracks (Scorpio), and several other bootlegs, and it is the same one that was later officially released on The Essential Bruce Springsteen bonus disc. According to the liner notes on The Lost Masters vol. 19, that version was recorded by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band on 09 Nov 1983 at The Power Station Studios, New York City, NY.

These two versions appear to be two different remixes of the same recording. It is very obvious that it is exactly the same vocal used on both, with full E Street Band instrumental and female vocals added to the mix later to form what became the second/official version. This yields to the conclusion that this is a solo acoustic song recorded in early 1983 at Springsteen's home studio in Hollywood Hills after the Nebraska sessions -- and that is consistent with the liner notes on The Essential Bruce Springsteen booklet. It might be the remixing that took place on 09 Nov 1983 at The Power Station Studios, New York City, NY.

It should be also noted that during the early 1983 Hollywood Hills solo sessions, Bruce was playing all the instruments and using a drum machine. This gave him the freedom to try variants of the different songs prior to choosing the version that fitted his mood best. This is the instrumental that can be heard on the first version mentioned above.

Available Versions

List of available versions of COUNTY FAIR on this website:

COUNTY FAIR [Album version]
COUNTY FAIR [Live 06 Aug 2005 version]

Page last updated: 11 May 2007