Live 31 Jan 1973 (late show) version
[Spoken intro:] Thank you. Uh, this is uh... a song I wrote for John Wayne, I think. It's a Western number. Da da...
Well 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 oh of a religious strain
And though he was not an addict, he wore scars upon his veins
Like a young girl holds her first pimp, he held his Bible limp
Whoa from desert bars and church bazaars, the hungry slowly came
With vulgar faces from vulgar places lookin' for a game
With ivory gun handles and chamber grease and souped-up hydroplanes
With bullets burned from TV silver, bearin' great cowboys names
14 inches of gun barrel, and he was smokin' from the lid
Spurs on straight black boot heels, he said "Uptown, they call me the Brooklyn Kid"
And in his lonely zenith nightmares, that's just what they did
With a holster slung low like a hot kid-sister tied tight to his leg like he was gonna do
He was stompin' a step he called the Brooklyn Twister with six-guns pumpin' he was comin' through
And his tongue hung low in the sawdust scrapin' across the plains
He crawled up outside the Juda Ranch and started callin' the angel names
Now the architect angel stood, in one hand a staff, and in 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, and the job was done
That night the moon stretched tight light down on the plains
As real cowboys sat around real campfire flames
And the county wolf called as if to explain to his son
Oh, the way the west was won
The way the west was won
The above lyrics are for the live 31 Jan 1973 (late show) performance of SAGA OF THE ARCHITECT ANGEL at Max's Kansas City in New York City, NY. Springsteen performed the song in a solo piano arrangement. This is the only confirmed live performance of SAGA OF THE ARCHITECT ANGEL.
Bruce Springsteen opened for headliner Biff Rose in 1973 during a 6-night stand (from 31 January to 05 February, two shows each night) at Max's Kansas City in New York City, NY.
Soundboard recordings of both shows from the first night are in circulation among collectors. The recording from the early show consists of eight songs (two solo and six with the band) and is believed to be the complete show. The recording from the late show consists of only the first two songs of the show (the solo segment). The remaining setlist for the first night's late show (the band segment), as well as the setlists for the remaining ten shows from this six-night residency, are unknown. In the 17 Feb 1973 issue of Billboard magazine, Jim Melanson wrote a review on one of twelve shows Max's Kansas City mentioning five songs performed by Springsteen. The review could be for any of the twelve shows in the stand, but is more likely from one of the latter ones considering the late publication of the review.
The soundboard recordings from the 31 Jan 1973 shows were 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.
By prior arrangement with Columbia Records and Springsteen's then-manager Mike Appel, the D.I.R. Broadcasting Corp. (New York City, NY) recorded Bruce Springsteen's 31 Jan 1973 early and late shows at Max's Kansas City for use on its upcoming new weekly syndicated radio program called "King Biscuit Flower Hour". The D.I.R. Broadcasting engineers had been in Buffalo two days earlier recording the Mahavishnu Orchestra and the week before that in Dallas recording a Blood Sweat & Tears concert. The radio show used a two to four weeks delayed broadcast formula and made its debut on 18 Feb 1973. The debut episode featured mostly Blood Sweat & Tears who were major stars at this time, only one track by Mahavishnu Orchestra, and only one track by Bruce Springsteen (BISHOP DANCED). D.I.R. Broadcasting still retains in its archives a master tape of the entire 31 Jan 1973 early show and the solo segment from the late show. There are conflicting reports as to whether the company also has any of the band segment from the night's late show.
On the D.I.R. Broadcasting master tape reel SAGA OF THE ARCHITECT ANGEL is erroneously titled "John Wayne" – introducing that performance of the song, Springsteen said that he wrote if for the Western movie star (see spoken intro above).
The company has repeatedly sought and been declined permission to commercially release its recording of the Springsteen show as part of its ongoing King Biscuit Flower Hour archive CD reissue series. The radio show ended in 2007, although new programming ceased in 1993 and previous shows were repeated from that point. During its prime time, the program was carried by more than 300 radio stations throughout the United States. In 2006, the King Biscuit Flower Hour tape archives were acquired by Wolfgang's Vault which began streaming concerts online, including Springsteen's original King Biscuit Flower Hour recording from 31 Jan 1973. Streaming of the Springsteen recording started in February 2008, and is considered to be a considerable improvement in sound quality over what has been circulating on bootlegs.
Some of the above info about the 31 Jan 1973 shows is taken from Brucebase.
List of available versions of SAGA OF THE ARCHITECT ANGEL on this website:SAGA OF THE ARCHITECT ANGEL [Studio version]