Friday, February 27, 2009

Video Gold:--> Tom Waits




"...took out her barrettes...and her hair spilled out like root beer."
-Tom Waits-




The first time I heard Tom Waits...was while driving my TV remote...blind through all the upteen channels on my digital box...one long bored afternoon.

Austin CL was replaying a performance by Tom because of an extreme outpouring from hungry viewers.

He was standing by some gas pumps...smoking a cigarette...looking like some hip-cat from the fifties. He recited a story about a young girls wanderlust for the unknown.

Lost gem:--> "Burma Shave"...is paintbrush poetry.  Like knife-packin' fireflies at a summer evening glow-off!
Beautiful...Mesmerizing...Unforgettable.

Tom Waits performing "Burma Shave" on ACL 1978.



Licorice tattoo turned a gun metal blue scrawled across the shoulders
of a dying town the one eyed jacks across the railroad tracks

and the scar on its belly pulled a stranger passing through
he was a juvenile delinquent never learned how to behave
but the cops would never think to look in
burma shave.

and the road was like a ribbon and the moon was like a bone
he didn't seem to be like any guy she'd ever known
he kinda looked like farley granger with his hair slicked back
she says i'm a sucker for a fella in a cowboy hat
how far are you going he said depends on what you mean
I'm only stoppin' here cause I got to get myself some of this gasoline
he says I'm going thataway just as long as it's paved
I guess you'd say I'm on my way to
burma shave.

why don't ya put up your knees on the glove compartment
took out her barrettes and her hair spilled out like root beer
and she popped her gum and arched her back
hell Marysville ain't nothing but a wide spot in the road
some night my heart pounds just like thunder
I don't know why it don't explode cause everyone
in this stinking town has got one foot in the grave
and I'd rather take my chances out in
burma shave.

Presley's what I go by why don't you change the stations
count the grain elevators in the rear view mirror
mister anywhere you point this thing
has got to beat the hell out of the sting
of going to bed with every dream that dies here every mornin'
and so drill me a hole with a barber pole
I'm jumping my parole just like a fugitive tonight
why don't you have another swig of that Black Velvet
and pass that car if you're so brave
I wanna get there before the sun comes up in
burma shave.

just you and me baby. This town's driving me crazy it's drivin' me crazy
I don't care what they say go ahead and let'em talk
tonight were gonna drive just you and me baby.

and the spider web crack and the mustang screamed
smoke from the tires and the twisted machine
just a nickel's worth of dreams and every wishbone that they saved
lie swindled from them on the way to
burma shave.

and the sun hit the derrick and cast a bat wing shadow
up against the car door on the shot gun side
and when they pulled her from the wreck you know she
still had on her shades
they say that dreams are growing wild just this side of
burma shave.

and over by the frosty freeze they're closing up now the waitress
is goin' though her purse only a few cars left a truck rolls by and
there's another young girl up against the coke machine with
swizzle stick legs sucking on a lucky strike with a sign
in her hand that says I'm on my way to
burma shave

and it's a hot summer night the fish are jumping
the cotton is white your daddy's rich and your
momma's good lookin'
hush now
don't you cry.


Good stuff.

Casey Chambers
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3 comments:

Anonymous said...

yes tom waits is great...
i first saw him when he was opening for sonny terry and brownie mcgee in chicago in 1973.
he was sitting at the table next to us while sonny and brownie played and i thought he was a straight up bum and a nut who would drink my beer when i got up to use the mensroom...then it turns out he's the opening act for the 2nd set...WOW! he had the same band and did his nighthawks at the diner show and boy that was it for me. when he did big joe and the phantom 309 i became the galaxy's biggest waits fan and he has never let me down...sometimes he sped past me (swordfish trombones was the first time), but i always caught up...a genius

Casey said...

Anon...Okay...so you mistook Waits for a low-on-dough barfly wandering around looking for a neglected beer-pitcher to guzzle!!!

That's pretty funny stuff.

And that turn of a phrase you made...

"sometimes he (Waits) sped past me...but i always caught up."...

That's great. Ya gotta let me steal it. Good stuff.

Anonymous said...

i stole that line from poet and novelist jim harrison. the poem is
in poetry magazine fall 2008

he said old age sped past me, but i caught up