The architect angel held the straight Judah ranch
Just a dirty mile down on the borderline
Where he mastered blastin' and hustled young cattle for slaughter
And dated Judah's daughter
From the cellar ways to the attics and all across the plains
Broke electric static of religious strain
And though he was never an addict, he wore scars on his veins
Like a young girl holds her first pimp, he held his Bible limp
From desert bars and church bazaars, the hungry slowly came
With vulgar faces from vulgar places lookin' for a game
Well ivory gun handles and chamber grease and souped-up hydroplanes
The bullets burn from TV silver, bearin' great cowboys names
Now with 14 inches of gun barrel smokin' from the lid
Spurs on straight black boot heels, he said "They call me the Brooklyn Kid"
And in his lonely zenith nightmares, well that's just what they did
Oh how he played out his scenes, loaded on Benzedrine
Well, his holster slung low like a hot kid sister tied tight to his leg like he gonna do
He was stompin' the step he called the Brooklyn Twister, his six-guns were pumpin' through
His tongue hung low like sawdust scrapin' across the plains
He crawled up outside the Judah ranch and started callin' the angel names
And now the architect angel stood, in one hand a staff, the other a gun
He held the staff high in the wind, the gun was like a piece in the sun
He started howlin' like a monsoon wind, drew fast, the job was done
At night the moon stretched tight light across the plains
As real cowboys sat around real campfire flames
And the county wolf called as if to explain to his son
The way the west was won
The west was finally won
Oooh-oooh-oooh, the way the west was won
SAGA OF THE ARCHITECT ANGEL is a song written in late 1972 by Bruce Springsteen who recorded it in studio in early 1973. The song, which has been performed live around that period, has not yet been officially released. The above lyrics are transcribed from the only known studio take of SAGA OF THE ARCHITECT ANGEL.
1972 was a massive songwriting period for Bruce Springsteen. Following the completion of his debut album sessions in October 1972, he continued composing new material. SAGA OF THE ARCHITECT ANGEL probably saw the light during that period. According to Brucebase, Springsteen was allegedly supplied with a reel-to-reel recorder by Mike Appel (Springsteen's former manager) and Jim Cretecos (Springsteen's former co-manager) and is thought to have made some home demos on his own during this period. None of that home-recorded audio has ever emerged.
According to Sony's database of Springsteen recording sessions, SAGA OF THE ARCHITECT ANGEL was demoed on 29-30 Jan 1973 at 914 Sound Studios in Blauvelt, NY. These sessions were produced by Mike Appel and Jim Cretecos, and engineered by Louis Lahav. A solo acoustic guitar recording of SAGA OF THE ARCHITECT ANGEL is in circulation among collectors, and most probably it's the one cut during the 29-30 Jan 1973 sessions. The above lyrics are transcribed from that circulating studio version of SAGA OF THE ARCHITECT ANGEL.
The 2010 box set reissue of the Darkness On The Edge Of Town album was packaged in an 80-page notebook containing reproductions from Springsteen's original notebooks from the album's recording sessions. These include alternate lyrics, song ideas, recording details, personal notes, and several lists Springsteen made at the time. Among these were lists of considered tracks, various configurations of songs to make up the A and B sides of the LP, album titles ideas, and more. "Architect Angel" (as Springsteen wrote it) is included in one such list titled "Album IV". This indicates that the 1973 song could have been cut in studio during the Darkness On The Edge Of Town recording sessions.
In his 2012 book E Street Shuffle: The Glory Days of Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, Clinton Heylin writes that the song's title appears on provisional lists for The Wild, The Innocent, & The E Street Shuffle, Born To Run, and Darkness On The Edge Of Town. However, there is no evidence to suggest that SAGA OF THE ARCHITECT ANGEL was recorded for any of these albums (that is, after the 29-30 Jan 1973 sessions).
Introducing the song during the 31 Jan 1973 late show at Max's Kansas City in New York City, NY, Springsteen said that he wrote the song for John Wayne. See the live 31 Jan 1973 (late show) version.
The studio version of SAGA OF THE ARCHITECT ANGEL can be found the bootleg The Unsurpassed Springsteen Volume 6 (Yellow Dog Records).
SAGA OF THE ARCHITECT ANGEL is known to have been performed live once, during what is considered the Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. Tour. See the live 31 Jan 1973 (late show) version for more details. Very little is known about the 1973 shows, and the song must have been played on more dates on this tour.
As far as it's known, no artist has recorded and released Bruce Springsteen's SAGA OF THE ARCHITECT ANGEL.
List of available versions of SAGA OF THE ARCHITECT ANGEL on this website:SAGA OF THE ARCHITECT ANGEL [Studio version]