Sonny Boy Williamson - One Way Out

First performance: 15/05/1971


Bruce covered the song 3 times :
Probably created (Williamson / Springsteen) in early 1971. Bruce has borrowed the melody to Sonny Boy Williamson's blues standard "One Way Out" and added his own lyrics. There are a couple of live recordings from mid-to-late 1971 in circulation. Possibly Bruce's name for Last Night In Texas" is "Fast Blues Shuffle".
Dr. Zoom & The Sonic Boom- LAST NIGHT IN TEXAS

I said its the last night in Texas
And I'm down to San Antoine
It's my last night in Texas
And I'm down to San Antoine
Going to leave old Texas and me alone

Well in South Dakota yeah yeah
Well I met ???
South Dakota yeah yeah
Have myself a big old ???
Spend the nights just ???

Well I'm moving on the west bound
Moving on the west bound train
Said I'm moving on the west bound
I'm on the west bound train
Once I get out of this town
I'm never gonna come back to Texas again

Last night in Texas and I'm on to San Antoine
Got no woman to kick me, no woman to call my own
God knows she won't leave it alone

source: Springsteenlyrics
1971-07-22 D'Scene, South Amboy, NJ (Late)
Second of two shows, double bill, with The Bruce Springsteen Band (in its 9-10 member incarnation) headlining and Sunny Jim opening. This was the first of two consecutive Thursday evening appearances at the club. A song list in Springsteen's handwriting (available on our Setlist and Gallery tabs) has been recalled with some degree of confidence by one of the band members as emanating from either this night or the following week's booking at this club. This does not appear to be not a setlist, but many (or possibly all) of the songs must have been performed at the July 22 and 29 shows. These are all Springsteen compositions and there are several rarities here of which no circulating audio has yet emerged from any show, rehearsal or studio source. A recently discovered soundboard recording from one of the shows on July 29 includes one of these previously unknown songs, "Full Of Love". 

1971-05-15 Newark State College, Union, NJ
The second (and final) performance of Dr. Zoom & The Sonic Boom at the first annual "Ernie the Chickin' Festival". The show opens with the Bob Dylan penned "It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry", sometimes incorrectly labelled "Group Therapy". Steven Van Zandt can be heard jokingly warning the campus ambulances (who were parked nearby) to get ready as Bruce opens the show with some screeching guitar! It was long thought that this statement was made by Kevin "Bird" Connair but Albee Tellone has confirmed that Connair was not at this show. "Zoom Theme" is a rewrite of Irving Berlin's "Alexander's Ragtime Band". "Lady Of Boston" includes an interpolated section of The Rolling Stones' "One More Try".

1971-05-14 Sunshine In, Asbury Park, NJ 
One show, triple bill. This is the first of only two performances ever of Dr. Zoom & The Sonic Boom (the other show was outdoors the following day). Undercard acts for this debut show were Sunny Jim and Godzilla (who were a late substitution for Cornerstone). In reality, Dr. Zoom was merely a progression of Springsteen's March 1971 The Friendly Enemies shows at The Sunshine In and his April 1971 "Jam Concerts" at The Upstage. Much of the long-standing confusion about how many Dr. Zoom shows were performed stems from the fact that some people count the earlier March-April gigs as Dr. Zoom events, while others don't count them. Technically speaking they weren't Dr. Zoom shows, but they did contain most of the musicians and the same party-like atmosphere. The members of Dr. Zoom & The Sonic Boom were Bruce Springsteen, Steven Van Zandt (guitar), David Sancious (keyboards), Garry Tallent (bass), Vini Lopez (drums and backing vocals), Southside Johnny (harmonica and vocals), Bobby Williams (drums), Albee 'Albany Al' Tellone (tenor saxophone), and Bobby Feigenbaum (alto saxophone). There was also an eight-member backing vocal troupe nicknamed "The Zoomettes", consisting of Jeannie Clark, Robin Nash, Connie Manser, Fifi Longo, Sherl Tallent, Kevin Kavanaugh, Steve Large, and John Luraschi. The MC was Kevin "Bird" Connair. Big Danny Gallagher handled the on-stage props. Danny Federici was not involved in the Dr. Zoom shows. The ten-song setlist listed has been culled from a document (in Bruce's handwriting) that is probably the song schedule for this debut Dr. Zoom gig. The material is clearly identifiable by Bruce's header of 'Sonic Tunes'. Whether or not Bruce made any late changes to this setlist for the actual performance is not known. Written on the setlist as "Dave Dudley", the third song is actually "Six Days On The Road", the 1963 hit made famous by country music singer Dave Dudley. The song is a celebration of the American trucker and was covered regularly on the Jersey-shore in the 1970s by many bands, including Albee Tellone's Hired Hands. "Fast Blues Shuffle" may be Bruce's name for "Last Night In Texas" (as also performed at the following day's Zoom gig). "Zoom Theme" is a rewrite of Irving Berlin's "Alexander's Ragtime Band".


"One Way Out" is a blues song first recorded and released in the early-mid-1960s by Sonny Boy Williamson II and Elmore James, an R&B hit under a different name for G.L. Crockett (who also recorded as "G. Davy Crockett") in the mid-1960s, and then popularized to rock audiences in the early 1970s and onward by The Allman Brothers Band. As with many blues songs, the history of "One Way Out" falls into murk. It seems to have been originally recorded by Elmore James at Beltone Studios in New York City in late 1960 or early 1961, as part of James' Fire/Fury/Enjoy recording sessions. It features a full band arrangement with a four-piece horn section, but a completely different melody from later versions. James appears not to have released it at that time. Instead, Sonny Boy Williamson II reworked and recorded it for Chess Records in Chicago in September 1961, releasing it shortly thereafter. He would then return and re-record a different working of it in September 1963, again for Chess in Chicago, this time with Buddy Guy on guitar and Lafayette Leake on piano. The two efforts were substantially different, with one dominated by harmonica playing while the other has the vamp and arrangement that would become familiar with the Allman Brothers' rendition. Subsequently, the initial Elmore James version of "One Way Out" was posthumously released in 1965, using it as the B-side of his single "My Bleeding Heart" for Sphere Sound Records. But by now, the song was associated with Sonny Boy not him. Writing credits for "One Way Out" have varied over the years, with some recordings crediting Sonny Boy alone, then others giving Marshall Sehorn and Elmore James the nod, and finally some naming all three. Furthermore, Sehorn was a recording engineer, record producer, and all-around "record man" at Fire/Fury Records in New York, who likely engaged in the then-common practice of adding himself onto composer credits of songs that he was not actually involved in writing, to get a cut of subsequent royalties. And of course no confusion is complete without mentioning that there are two different Sonny Boy Williamsons − I and II; "One Way Out" pertains to the second one. Whatever its origins, the song's narrative captures the classic tale of a man having an affair with another man's woman in an upstairs apartment. Another man shows up downstairs, and an alternate exit route must be found.

Other cover versions

Bruce on the artist


Sonny Boy Williamson - ONE WAY OUT 
Ain't but one way out baby, Lord I just can't go out the door
Ain't but one way out baby, and Lord I just can't go out the door
'Cause there's a man down there, might be your man I don't know
Lord you got me trapped a woman, up on the second floor
If I get by this time I won't be trapped no more
So raise your window baby, I can ease out soft and slow
And Lord, your neighbors, no they won't be
Talking that stuff that they don't know
Lord, I'm foolish to be here in the first place
I know some man gonna walk in and take my place
Ain't no way in the world, I'm going out that front door
'Cause there's a man down there, might be your man I don't know
'Cause there's a man down there, might be your man I don't know
'Cause there's a man down there and Lord, it might just happen to be your man
Lord, it just might be your man
Lord, it just a might be your man
Oh baby, I just don't know