Circus Town

CIRCUS SONG - V1 uncirculating

Note: Written in 1972 as "Circus Town" and performed live as an acoustic show opener from December 1972 (by which time it was being called "Circus Song") up until mid-1974. Inspired by memories of the circus that came to Freehold every summer when Bruce was young: "I’ve stood around carnivals at midnight when they're clearing up and I was scared, I met some dangerous people." On April 24, 1973 at the Main Point, Little Tiny Tim says, "Sampson, where's the liars? / Oh, they're outside cryin' / Oh, hear the liars / Oh, feel their fire / Hear the liars / They're so scared of dyin'," after which he sings "Well, anybody wanna try the big top? / All aboard, Nebraska's our next stop." Though he had performed "Circus Song" with these lyrics since January, he made a change just before appearing May 1, 1973 at the Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles, where it was to be filmed for showing at the CBS Sales Convention in July. The final verse was changed to, "And the strong man, Sampson, lifts the midget, little Tiny Tim, way up on his shoulders, way up and carries him on down the midway, past the kids, past the sailors, to his dimly lit trailer, and the Ferris go 'round and 'round like it ain't ever gonna stop / And the circus boss is whispering into some little boy's ear, "Hey son, you wanna try the big top?" All aboard, Nebraska's our next stop!" In the blink of an eye, "Circus Song" went from the killer of every boy's dream to run away and join the circus, to something less nefarious, and that's the way it stayed. Click this link for further details.

The first studio recordings were made on May 14, 1973 at 914 Sound Studios, with eight takes; it is not known if any of these recordings survived, but are listed above as V1. Work on "Circus Song" was resumed with two days on June 25 and 26 and final dubs on the 28th, the complete album take renamed "Wild Billy's Circus Story". When or why the title of the song was changed is not currently known, but it was June or later, at least as far as documentation goes. Mike Appel claims that the midsong press roll is not performed by Vini Lopez but by an uncredited sessions drummer.

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