IF I WAS THE PRIEST

April 1972 demo version


Well, there's a light on yonder mountain
And it's calling me to shine
There's a girl by the water fountain
And she's asking to be mine
And Jesus is standing in the doorway
In a buckskin jacket with boots and spurs, so fine
He says, "We need you, we need you up in Dodge City
Because there's, oh, so many outlaws trying to work the same line"

Well, if Jesus was the sheriff and I was a priest
And my lady was an heiress and my Mama was a thief
And Papa rode shotgun for the Fargo line
There's still too many bad boys trying to work the same line

Sweet Virgin Mary, she runs the Holy Grail saloon
Where for a nickel they'll give you whiskey and a personally blessed balloon
Whoa, the Holy Ghost, he's the host with the most, he runs the burlesque show
Where they let you in for free but they hit you when you go
Oh, and Mary serves Mass on Sunday and then she sells her body on Monday to the boot maker who pays the highest price
But he don't know he got stuck with a loser, Mary's a stone junkie, what's more she's a boozer
She's only been made once or twice by some kind of magic

Well, if Jesus was the sheriff, and I was the priest
If my lady was an heiress and my Mama was a thief
Oh, and Papa rode shotgun for the Fargo line
There's still too many bad boys trying to work the same line

Well, things ain't been the same in heaven ever since big bad Bobby came to town
He's been known to down eleven and then ask for another round
And me I've got scabs on my knees, I've been kneeling way too long
It's about time I played the man, took a stand where I belong
And forget about the old friends and the old times
Because there's just too many new boys trying to work the same line

And now there's a light on yonder mountain
And it's calling me to shine
There's a girl by the water fountain
And she's asking to be mine
Jesus, he stands in the doorway
With his six-guns drawn, and ready to fan
He says, "You know, we need you in Dodge City"
Said, "But I'm already overdue in Cheyenne"


Info

The above lyrics are for a demo of IF I WAS THE PRIEST recorded probably in April 1972 at Mike Appel's office or home in New York City, NY. It features Springsteen solo on vocals and piano. See the studio version for more details about the song.

In April 1972, Bruce Springsteen traveled to New York on occasions to visit Mike Appel at the publishing company Pocketful Of Tunes where Appel was then employed. During that period some spontaneous, "off-the-cuff" Springsteen performances were recorded in a songwriting room (not the studio) at Pocketful Of Tunes. To date only a couple of these demos have surfaced. There may have been other songs similarly taped that have yet to circulate among collectors.

Bootleg Releases

This April 1972 demo version of IF I WAS THE PRIEST can be found on The Unsurpassed Springsteen Volume 1 (Yellow Dog Records) bootleg.

Bruce Springsteen -- The Unsurpassed Springsteen Volume 1 (Yellow Dog Records)
Bruce Springsteen -- The Unsurpassed Springsteen Volume 1 (Yellow Dog Records)

Available Versions

List of available versions of IF I WAS THE PRIEST on this website:

IF I WAS THE PRIEST [Studio version]
IF I WAS THE PRIEST [April 1972 demo version]
IF I WAS THE PRIEST [03 May 1972 demo version]
IF I WAS THE PRIEST [Allan Clarke's cover version]

Page last updated: 07 Apr 2013