03 May 1972 demo version take #1
[Male voice #1 (spoken):] Okay.
[Male voice #2 (spoken):] Stand by.
[Male voice #2 (spoken):] All right, we're, uh, all right, we're rolling.
Mary queen of Arkansas, your white skin is deceiving
Oh, you wake and wait to lie in bait but you ain't good enough to keep me from leavin'
Because on your bed, Mary, I can see the shadow of a noose
I don't understand how you can hold me so tight and love me so loose
And I know a place where we can go, Mary
Where I can get a good job, start out all over again clean
Oh, I got contacts deep in Mexico where the servants have been seen
[Male voice #2:] Great, we got it that time. Right. Stand by.
The above lyrics are for the demo (first take) of MARY QUEEN OF ARKANSAS that was recorded during Springsteen's first studio audition session for CBS Records. The recording took place on 03 May 1972 at CBS Studios in New York City, NY. It features Springsteen solo on vocals and acoustic guitar. See the album version for more details about the song and the events surrounding this audition.
Bruce Springsteen's first "formal" studio audition for CBS took place on 03 May 1972 at CBS Studios in New York City. Produced by John Hammond and engineered by Phil Giambalvo, the session consisted of 12 songs (two of them played twice, making a total of 14 tracks); session log information survives and it has been verified that the below-listed recordings encompass the complete session. This so-called "John Hammond Demo Session" was assigned the job number 79682; Hammond's voice is heard on the recording of the audition reading off the session number, "Bruce Springsteen, Columbia Pop audition, job number 79682, Mary Queen Of Arkansas, take 1".
The master Scotch magnetic tape reels from the audition were on display as part of the From Asbury Park To The Promised Land exhibition at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame And Museum in Cleveland, OH, along with boxes labeled with running orders:
|On the first reel:|
|Mary Queen of Arkansas||(see MARY QUEEN OF ARKANSAS [take #1] and MARY QUEEN OF ARKANSAS [take #2])|
|Saint in the City||(see IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY)|
|Jazz Musician||(see JAZZ MUSICIAN [take #1] and JAZZ MUSICIAN [take #2])|
|If I Was a Priest||(see IF I WAS THE PRIEST)|
|Arabian Nights||(see ARABIAN NIGHTS)|
|On the second reel:|
|Growin' Up||(see GROWIN' UP)|
|Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street?||(see DOES THIS BUS STOP AT 82ND STREET?)|
|Two Hearts in True Waltz Time||(see TWO HEARTS IN TRUE WALTZ TIME)|
|Street Queen||(see STREET QUEEN)|
|Angels||(see THE ANGEL)|
|Southern Sun||(see SOUTHERN SUN)|
|Cowboys of the Seas||(see COWBOYS OF THE SEA)|
Four tracks from the "John Hammond Demo Session" that were previously officially released in other versions were included on the Tracks box set in 1998. These are: MARY QUEEN OF ARKANSAS [take #2], IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY, GROWIN' UP, and DOES THIS BUS STOP AT 82ND STREET?.
In his 2012 book E Street Shuffle: The Glory Days of Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, Clinton Heylin wrote that over the years Hammond would come to insist that their demo was "better than any tape Bruce has made since, because Bruce is [now] so uptight about perhaps overshadowing somebody else in the band." In 1981, he would send Springsteen a copy of the tape as a reminder of what might have been. Springsteen's response was Nebraska.
This 03 May 1972 abandoned first take of MARY QUEEN OF ARKANSAS, along with the second and complete take from the same session (see the 03 May 1972 demo version take #2), has been circulating on a few bootleg releases, including The Early Years Volume Two (Bagel Boys Records).
Thanks Jake (ol'catfishinthelake at BTX and Greasy Lake) for the lyrics help.
List of available versions of MARY QUEEN OF ARKANSAS on this website:MARY QUEEN OF ARKANSAS [Album version]