SONG FOR ORPHANS

Live 31 Jan 1973 (late show) version


The multitude assembled and tried to make the noise
Them black blind poet generals and restless loud white boys
But time's grew thin and the axis was left somehow incomplete
Where instead of child lions we found agein' junkie sheep

How many wasted have I seen signed "Hollywood or bust"
Left to ride them ever ghostly Arizona gusts
Oh cheerleader tramps and kids with big amps soundin' in the void
High society vamps, ex-heavyweight champs mistakin' soot for soil

Woah so break me now big Mama as Old Faithful breaks the day
Believe me my good Linda, the aurora will shine your way
The confederacy's in my name now, them hounds are held at bay
The axis needs a stronger arm, do you feel your muscles play

The doorstep blanket weaver,
Madonna, she's pushin' bells
From house to house to house to house, givin' last kisses and wishin' well
To every gypsy mystic and all-star hero that the kids might find a place
Who've been lost forever to papa and mama on their weekends out in space

The sons, the sons they search for fathers, but their fathers have all gone
And lost souls search for saviours, but saviours don't last long
Those aimless questless renegade brats who live their lives in songs
They run the length of a candle, in a goodnight whisper and a puff they're gone

Woah so break me now big Mama as Old Faithful breaks the day
Believe me my good Linda, the aurora will shine your way
The confederacy's in my name now, them hounds are held at bay
The axis needs a stronger arm, do you feel your muscles play

Woahhhh

The missions are filled with hermits lookin' for a friend
The terraces are filled with cat-men lookin' for a way in
There's orphans jumped on silver mountains, lost in celestial alleyways
They wait for that old tramp Dog Man Moses, he takes in all the strays

Now don't grow on empty legends, but lonely cradle songs
Because Billy the Kid was just a bowery boy who made a living twirlin' his guns
The night she's long, she's lanky, she speaks in a mother tongue
And lullaby refugees with an amplifier's hum

So break us now big Mama as Old Faithful breaks the day
Believe me my sweet Linda, oh help she sure on the way
The confederacy's in my name now, them hounds are held at bay
The axis needs a stronger arm, do you feel your muscle play
The confederacy's in my name now, them hounds are held at bay
The axis needs a stronger arm, do you feel your muscles play

Hmmm


Info

The above lyrics are for the live 31 Jan 1973 (late show) performance of SONG TO ORPHANS at Max's Kansas City in New York City, NY, during what is considered the Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. Tour. Springsteen performed the song on acoustic guitar and was accompanied by Danny Federici on accordion. This was the last known performance of SONG TO ORPHANS before its resurrection 32 years later during the Devils & Dust Solo Acoustic Tour.

The 31 Jan 1973 Shows

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.

Promotional ad for the Jan-Feb 1973 six-night residency at Max's Kansas City, New York City, NY
Promotional ad for the Jan-Feb 1973 six-night residency at Max's Kansas City, 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.

Bruce Springsteen -- Max's Kansas City
Bruce Springsteen -- Max's Kansas City

Digital album - BKC (no catalog number) - UK, 2015

This is a download-only digital album. It contains the 31 Jan 1973 show at Max's Kansas City, both the early show and part of the late show.
Bruce Springsteen -- Max's Kansas City Night 1973
Bruce Springsteen -- Max's Kansas City Night 1973

Digital album - Doxy Records (no catalog number) - UK, 2015

This is a download-only digital album. It contains the 31 Jan 1973 show at Max's Kansas City, both the early show and part of the late show, plus two bonus tracks
Bruce Springsteen -- Max's Kansas City 1973
Bruce Springsteen -- Max's Kansas City 1973

CD - Zip City (ZCCD059) - UK, 2017

This release contains the 31 Jan 1973 show at Max's Kansas City, both the early show and part of the late show, plus one bonus track.

King Biscuit Flower Hour

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.

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.

References

Some of the above info about the 31 Jan 1973 shows is taken from Brucebase.

Available Versions

List of available versions of SONG FOR ORPHANS on this website:

SONG FOR ORPHANS [Studio version]
SONG FOR ORPHANS [Live 09 Jan 1973 version]
SONG FOR ORPHANS [Live 31 Jan 1973 (late show) version]
SONG FOR ORPHANS [Live 21 Nov 2005 version]
SONG FOR ORPHANS [Live 22 Nov 2005 version]

Page last updated: 20 Apr 2011