Johanna's Visions

a music site

Great songs: Tom Taubert’s Blues – Tom Waits

Wikipedia:
“Tom Traubert’s Blues” opens the album Small Change. Jay S. Jacobs has described the song as a “stunning opener [which] sets the tone for what follows.” The refrain is based almost word by word on the 1890 Australian song, “Waltzing Matilda” by A.B. “Banjo” Paterson, although the tune is slightly different.

Old Grey Whistle Test, 1977:

The origin of the song is somewhat ambiguous. The sub-title of the track “Four Sheets to the Wind in Copenhagen” seems to indicate that it is about a time that Waits spent in Copenhagen in 1976 while on a tour. There, he apparently met Danish singer Mathilde Bondo. Indeed, in a 1998 radio interview, she confirmed that she met Waits and that they spent a night on the town together.

Waits himself described the song’s subject during a concert in Sydney Australia in March 1979: “Uh, well I met this girl named Matilda. And uh, I had a little too much to drink that night. This is about throwing up in a foreign country.” In an interview on NPR’s World Cafe, aired December 15, 2006, Waits stated that Tom Traubert was a “friend of a friend” who died in prison.

Bones Howe, the album’s producer, recalls when Waits first came to him with the song:

He said the most wonderful thing about writing that song. He went down and hung around on skid row in L.A. because he wanted to get stimulated for writing this material. He called me up and said, “I went down to skid row … I bought a pint of rye. In a brown paper bag.” I said, “Oh really?.” “Yeah – hunkered down, drank the pint of rye, went home, threw up, and wrote ‘Tom Traubert’s Blues’ [...] Every guy down there … everyone I spoke to, a woman put him there.”

Allmusic Review:

by Thomas Ward
“Tom Traubert’s Blues” is one of Tom Waits’ most popular songs, although this is due in the most part by Rod Stewart’s vastly inferiors cover version. Waits’ original is heartbreakingly beautiful, containing some of the artist’s finest lyrics, especially in the croaking opening “Wasted and wounded/’Taint what the moon did/Got what I paid for now”. The story, essentially a drunken tale, fits the gorgeous, elegiac melody perfectly, and indeed the song is so evocative it’s almost impossible for the listener not to be swept up in the story. Although the arrangement and the use of strings doesn’t take any real risks, it embellishes the melody beautifully. Without doubt, one of Tom Waits’ finest recordings.

Here introduced as Waltzing Matilda at Rockpalast in 1977:

Howe was amazed when he first heard the song, and he’s still astonished by it. “I do a lot of seminars,” he says. “Occasionally I’ll do something for songwriters. They all say the same thing to me. ‘All the great lyrics are done.’ And I say, ‘I’m going to give you a lyric that you never heard before.”‘ Howe then says to his aspiring songwriters, “A battered old suitcase to a hotel someplace / And a wound that will never heal.” This particular Tom Waits lyric Howe considers to be “brilliant.” It’s “the work of an extremely talented lyricist, poet, whatever you want to say. That is brilliant, brilliant work. And he never mentions the person, but you see the person.”

Lyrics, Tom Taubert’s Blues:

Wasted and wounded, it ain’t what the moon did
I got what I paid for now
See you tomorrow; hey, Frank, can I borrow
A couple of bucks from you to go
Waltzing Matilda, waltzing Matilda?
You’ll go waltzing Matilda with me

I’m an innocent victim of a blinded alley
And I’m tired of all these soldiers here
No one speaks English and everything’s broken
And my Stacy’s are soaking wet to go
Waltzing Matilda, waltzing Matilda
You’ll go waltzing Matilda with me

Now the dogs are barking
And the taxi cabs parking
A lot they can do for me
I begged you to stab me
You tore my shirt open
And I’m down on my knees tonight
Old Bushmill’s, I staggered
You buried the dagger
In your silhouette window light to go
Waltzing Matilda, waltzing Matilda
You’ll go waltzing Matilda with me

Now I’ve lost my St Christopher now that I’ve kissed her
And the one-armed bandit knows
And the maverick Chinamen and the cold-blooded signs
And the girls down by the striptease shows go
Waltzing Matilda, waltzing Matilda
You’ll go waltzing Matilda with me

No, I don’t want your sympathy
The fugitives say that the streets aren’t for dreaming now
Manslaughter dragnets and the ghosts that sell memories
They want a piece of the action anyhow, go
Waltzing Matilda, waltzing Matilda
You’ll go waltzing Matilda with me

And you can ask any sailor and the keys from the jailer
And the old men in wheelchairs know
That Matilda’s the defendant, she killed about a hundred
And she follows wherever you may go
Waltzing Matilda, waltzing Matilda
You’ll go waltzing Matilda with me

And it’s a battered old suitcase to a hotel someplace
And a wound that will never heal
No prima donna, the perfume is on
An old shirt that is stained with blood and whiskey
And goodnight to the street sweepers
The night watchman flame keepers
And goodnight, Matilda, too

- Hallgeir

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Comments are closed.

Follow
Get every new post delivered to your inbox
Join millions of other followers
Powered By WPFruits.com