Bruce Springsteen - lead vocals, guitar, harmonica; Clarence Clemons - saxophone, vocals; Danny Federici - organ, piano, accordion, keyboards, vocals; David Sancious - organ, piano, clavinet; Garry Tallent - bass, vocals, tuba, horn, background vocals; Vini Lopez - drums, vocals
Recorded just a few weeks after the release of his first album, Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ, and about seven months before the release of his sophomore disc, The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle, this historic performance is one of the earliest professional recordings of the Boss and his legendary E Street Band, who are heard here in their original line-up. It was recorded as part of the first installment of the King Biscuit Flower Hour syndicated radio show, which aired on February 18, 1973. The premiere KBFH program featured a triple bill of Blood, Sweat & Tears, Mahavishnu Orchestra, and Springsteen, each recorded live in concert just weeks before.
As an interesting historical footnote, the original King Biscuit broadcast featured one song each from Springsteen and Mahavishnu Orchestra while including five from Blood, Sweat & Tears. Springsteen was still relatively unknown at the time. He was booked in New York for six nights at Max's Kansas City, playing short sets while opening for Biff Rose. The songs presented here were recorded on the first of those six nights, when he played two shows. Tracks one through six are from the early show; the last two tracks were recorded at the beginning of the late show.
This performance finds him young, irrepressible, and full of 23-year-old vigor and optimism. Three of the songs featured at this NYC show ("Spirit In The Night", "Mary Queen Of Arkansas" and "Does This Bus Stop At 82nd Street?") are from his first album, and "Wild Billy's Circus Story" would appear on his second, but the other four songs were compositions that never appeared on any official Springsteen studio LP. Two of these, "Bishop Danced" and "Thundercrack" did show up on the 1999 four-CD box of outtakes, B sides, and unreleased demos entitled Tracks, but the other two, "Saga Of The Architect Angel" and "Song To The Orphans" (included here as an outtake) were never released on any official Springsteen LP or box set.
Bruce Springsteen remains America's greatest modern rock artist, and even though this show was recorded thirty five years ago, it holds up brilliantly. Of this E Street Band line-up only Clemons, Tallent, and Federici remain, yet the essence and musical chops of this amazing group are still very much a part of Springsteen's sound. Through this historical moment in radio history as part of the first King Biscuit broadcast, Springsteen gained enough exposure and positive response to warrant his own set on the soon-to-become popular radio series. And the rest, as they say, is history.