Tag Archives: Tom Waits

Take a walk down Kentucky Avenue with Tom Waits

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Warning: This is a participatory post.

I’m not allowed to play Tom Waits at home while my wife is there, I can only listen through my headphones. The voice, well she just doesn’t get it. I can understand that, he is an acquired taste, but even she admits the power of his lyrics, well the ones she can make out.

I think everyone should listen to Tom, I know that ain’t gonna happen but I’m going to do my part to introduce you non-Waiters to one of the most original artists of our times via a song called Kentucky Avenue. It is a remembrance of his childhood and his friendship with a wheelchair bound pal stricken with polio. It is an amazing song, one that still moves and astounds me with its beauty. It captures that time so perfectly that it transports you.

So  click here, hit play, then come back to this page and read the lyrics below as Tom sings, do this, you will not regret it.

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Well Eddie Grace’s Buick got four bullet holes in the side

And Charlie DeLisle is sittin at the top of an avocado tree
Mrs. Storm will stab you with a steak knife if you step on her lawn
I got a half a pack of Lucky Strikes man so come along with me
And let’s fill our pockets with macadamia nuts
And go over to Bobby Goodmanson’s and jump off the roof

Well Hilda plays strip poker with the Mummers ‘cross the street
Joey Navinski says she put her tongue in his mouth
And Dicky Faulkner’s got a switchblade and some gooseneck risers
That eucalyptus is a hunchback there’s a wind down from the south
So let me tie you up with kite string and I’ll show you the scabs on my knee
Watch out for the broken glass put your shoes and socks on
And come along with me

Let’s follow that fire truck I think your house is burnin down
Asnd go down to the hobo jungle and kill some rattlesnakes with a trowel
And we’ll break all the windows in the old Anderson place
And we’ll steal a bunch of boysenberries and I’ll smear em on your face
I’ll get a dollar from my mama’s purse and buy that skull and crossbones ring
And you can wear it round your neck on an old piece of string

Then we’ll spit on Ronnie Arnold and flip him the bird
And slash the tires on the school bus now don’t say a word
I’ll take a rusty nail and scratch your initials in my arm
And I’ll show you how to sneak up on the roof of the drugstore
I’ll take the spokes from your wheelchair and a magpie’s wings
And I’ll tie em to your shoulders and your feet
I’ll steal a hacksaw from my dad and cut the braces off your legs
And we’ll bury them tonight out in the cornfield
Just put a church key in your pocket we’ll hop that freight train in the hall
We’ll slide all the way down the drain to New Orleans in the fall

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You’re welcome.

Kentucky Avenue is on the album Blue Valentine.

 

 

 

 

Covers Better Than The Original? Yep.

Everybody loves a list so here’s mine on a topic that is on many music blogs and sites. Now most of the time I prefer an artist’s own rendition of their work. Many people prefer Rod Stewart’s version of Tom Wait’s Downtown Train. Granted Rod has a voice that is like a sandpapered angel, beautiful; Tom’s is a sandpapered frog . But Tom’s version is full of the city’s mean streets and its hard luck citizens. I believe it is the vastly superior version.

So here are five covers I like better than the original, it’s subjective and personal, just like music.

5. Turn, Turn, Turn – The Byrds. That shimmering guitar jangle and Fab-like harmonies make one beautiful song. The great Pete Seeger’s original, not so much.

4.  House Of The Rising Sun – The Animals. This was a traditional blues folk song brought to radio life by a great British Invasion band. Here is an original interpretation by blues legend Leadbelly and his wife.

3. Mr. Bojangles – The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Originally recorded by its writer Jerry Jeff Walker and released in 1968. It was a minor hit. In 1971 it was eclipsed by TNGDB and their excellent version.

2. Twist And Shout – The Beatles. Originally recorded by The Top Notes, then more successfully  by the Isley Brothers, the song is now on hold  to The Fabs and John Lennon’s throat tearing vocals. One of the great vocal performances in rock and roll.

1. All Along The Watchtower – Jimi Hendrix. Sorry Bob Dylan, I love you, but Jimi now owns this.

So, there are my favorite covers that outshine the originals, I’d love to hear yours.

Your Life’s Playlist, So Far.

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Imagine you have to choose twenty songs that represent who you are, not just your favorite songs but songs that are you. Twenty songs that make up your life’s playlist as you stand right now. Twenty songs that friends would reflect upon you, but more importantly, twenty songs that a stranger would hear and form a glimpse of the person you are. Well, here’s mine.

1. When You Wish Upon A Star – Jiminy Cricket

2. Jailhouse Rock – Elvis

3. Old Wooden Cross – Johnny Cash

4. I Want To Hold Your Hand – The Beatles

5. A Change Is Gonna Come – Sam Cooke

6. Country Comfort – Elton John

7. Every Picture Tells A Story – Rod Stewart

8. Willie The Wandering Gypsy and Me – Waylon Jennings

9. Kentucky Avenue  – Tom Waits

10. Gimme Shelter – Rolling Stones

11. Don’t Fall Apart On Me Tonight – Bob Dylan

12. Daniel And The Sacred Harp- The Band

13. Real Love – John Lennon

14. Wonderful Remark – Van Morrison

15. When Johnny Strikes Up The Band – Warren Zevon

16. Buffalo River Home – John Hiatt

17. Alien Love Song – Todd Wright

18. Here (A Song For Tammy) – Stilson Greene

19. The Weight – The Band

20. In My Life – The Beatles

So as of today, there’s mine, it could change tomorrow. I’d love to hear yours, so post on……

10 Things I Don’t Get

Look, there are a lot of things I love that people don’t get: fedoras, Crocs, Tom Waits, peach jelly on a bacon and egg sandwich, Buckaroo Banzai and way too many more to mention. The following list I’m sure will contain many things you like or love, hopefully a few you will agree with me. Ready?

1. The Geico gecko speaks in an English, nah Cockney, accent? WTF!

2. The Dave Matthews Band, Kings of Leon and My Morning Jacket. There are too many bands to name that I don’t get, but these three are liked or loved by many people I respect and usually agree with as far as music goes. I’ve tried, I don’t get.

3. Guacamole. Pea diarrhea.

4. Good manners seen as a sign of weakness. In reality nothing makes you stronger.

5. Political hate speech. The way politicians, media pundits and officials spout hateful and bigoted views is just harmless and expected rhetoric, right? Wait a minute, Germany, January 30, 1933.

6. Why we celebrate and idolize the reality stars on Jersey Shore, Real Housewives and their ilk. When did this behavior become something to be cherished and worse, valued?

7. Ketchup on a Hot Dog. Dude, that’s just wrong.

8. Self entitlement. I was at a restaurant yesterday, it was 88 degrees outside. A woman and her friend came in and asked for the heat to be turned on, she is chilly at anything over 74 degrees. At first the waiter thought she was kidding, she wasn’t. When he said he could not turn it on, she became irritated. She could’ve cared less about anyone else dining, just herself. And people, our educational system puts up with these jerks everyday…  and their children, see #4.

9. Car advertisements that highlight the speed of a car that can go to 120 miles per hour. Where in America can you drive 120 miles an hour on a public road?

10. Ringo Starr is not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as an individual artist, yet all the other Fabs are. He has had more “hits” than John and is the most famous drummer in the history of the friggin’ world. (Poco should be in there , too.)