LADY WALKING DOWN BY THE RIVER

Live 13 Jan 1970 version


Hey!

Lady walking down by the river
Can't you see how she moves along
Lady walking down by the river
She says her work is never done

Young men lovers quench their thirst for sunlight
Wedging their tongues in a forestland stream
Bathe in the splendor of their bodies
And they sleep 'neath the silent trees

Lady walking down by the river
Won't you come and sing me a song
Lady walking down by the river
Won't you come and take me along

Lady walking down by the river
Carrying her infant son
Lady walking down by the river
She says her man has long been gone
She says her man has long been gone

Lady walking down by the river
Won't you come and sing me a song
Lady walking down by the river
Won't you come and take me along
Ahh ahh, whoa whoa-whoa
Oh go go go go go

[Long guitar interlude]

Lady walking down by the river
Lady walking down by the river
Lady walking down by the river
Lady walking down by the river
Lady walking down by the river
Lady walking down by the river

Lady walking down by the river
Carrying her infant son
Lady walking down by the river
She says her man has long been gone
She says her man has long been gone
She says her man has long been gone
She says her man has long been gone

Lady walking down by the river
Won't you come and sing me a song
Lady walking down by the river
Won't you come and take me along
Lady walking down by the river
Won't you come and sing me a song
Lady walking down by the river
Won't you come and take me along
Lady walking down by the river
Won't you come


Info

LADY WALKING DOWN BY THE RIVER is a song written by Bruce Springsteen in the summer or fall of 1969 and performed by his early band Steel Mill.

Springsteen took the "And now the lovers..." verse from his 1968 poem SEASCAPE.

Fourty years later, LADY WALKING DOWN BY THE RIVER was recorded by Jersey Shore band Steel Mill Retro who released it on All Man The Guns For America, their 2008 album of Bruce Springsteen songs originally performed by the original Steel Mill. See Steel Mill Retro's cover version for more details.

Possible Steel Mill Studio Recording

Still Mill might have recorded the song at Challenger Eastern Surfboards in Asbury Park, NJ. The surfboard factory was also Bruce's home from late 1969 thru late 1970, and a makeshift studio environment of sufficient standard to produce reasonable quality recordings. Although LADY WALKING DOWN BY THE RIVER might have been recorded as part of ongoing rehearsals at Challenger Eastern Surfboards, none of these 1969 and 1970 recordings is currently in circulation. Due to financial restrictions the reel-to-reel tapes were often reused. Consequently there is a distinct possibility that much of what was recorded at Challenger no longer survives, even in Springsteen's personal archive.

Live 13 Jan 1970 version

The above lyrics are for the live 13 Jan 1970 performance of LADY WALKING DOWN BY THE RIVER at The Matrix in San Francisco, CA, with Steel Mill.

The 13 Jan 1970 Show

Steel Mill performed a series of concerts in January and February 1970 at The Matrix, opening for Boz Scaggs or The Elvin Bishop Band. On one of the know dates of these concerts, 13 Jan 1970, scheduled headliner Boz Scaggs cancelled due to illness and Steel Mill became the sole act on the bill. This show was attended by critic Philip Elwood who turned up intending to review Scaggs but ended up writing a highly favorable review of Steel Mill that appeared in the 14 Jan 1970 edition of The San Francisco Examiner. And excellent-quality soundboard recording from one of the California gigs is in circulation and has been released on several mainstream bootlegs. The audio very likely (but not absolutely certain) emanates from this 13 Jan 1970 show, as it seems to correspond closely to details noted in Elwood's article.

  1. THE WAR IS OVER
  2. LADY WALKING DOWN BY THE RIVER
  3. JEANNIE I WANT TO THANK YOU
  4. AMERICA UNDER FIRE - AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL
  5. HE'S GUILTY (THE JUDGE SONG)
  6. THE TRAIN SONG
  7. GOIN' DOWN SLOW

The 13 Jan 1970 show in San Francisco, CA (minus GOIN' DOWN SLOW) 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 -- Rockin' Roots Of Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen -- Rockin' Roots Of Bruce Springsteen

2xCD - Laser Media (LM 9883) - UK, 2015

This release contains the 13 Jan 1970 show in San Francisco, CA, and the 15 May 1971 show in Union, NJ.
Bruce Springsteen -- The Ultimate Roots Of Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen -- The Ultimate Roots Of Bruce Springsteen

CD - Laser Media (LM 5004) - UK, 2016

This release contains the 13 Jan 1970 show in San Francisco, CA.

Live History

LADY WALKING DOWN BY THE RIVER is known to have been performed at least twice in Bruce Springsteen's early years (pre-October 1972). Very little is known about shows from this early period, and therefore, the song must have been played on some more dates. According to Brucebase, Steel Mill regularly performed LADY WALKING DOWN BY THE RIVER in concert during the second half of 1969 and into the early months of 1970.

  1. 13 Jan 1970 at The Matrix, San Francisco, CA (with Steel Mill)
  2. 28 Feb 1970 at Free University, Richmond, VA (with Steel Mill)

Covers

As far as it's known, only one artist has recorded and released Bruce Springsteen's LADY WALKING DOWN BY THE RIVER.

Steel Mill Retro -- All Man The Guns For America
Steel Mill Retro -- All Man The Guns For America

CD-R - Mega International (674167112427) - USA, 2008

This is a Bruce Springsteen tribute album. This is the first of two issues of this album. See Steel Mill Retro's cover version for more details.

References

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

Request

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Available Versions

List of available versions of LADY WALKING DOWN BY THE RIVER on this website:

LADY WALKING DOWN BY THE RIVER [Live 13 Jan 1970 version]
LADY WALKING DOWN BY THE RIVER [Steel Mill Retro's cover version]

Page last updated: 16 Sep 2017