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Tom Waits
Tom Waits


Background information
Birth name Thomas Alan Waits
Born December 7, 1949
Born place Pomona, California, United States
Genre(s) Rock
Experimental
Years active 1972—present
Label(s) Island Records
Asylum Records
ANTI-
Website Website



Music World  →  Lyrics  →  T  →  Tom Waits  →  Albums  →  Tales From the Riverside

Tom Waits Album


Tales From the Riverside (2001)
2001
1.
Downtown Train (Nme Version)
2.
3.
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17.
I'll Tell You Why That Is
18.
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. . .



Outside another yellow moon
Punched a hole in the nighttime, yes
I climb through the window and down the street
Shining like a new dime
The downtown trains are full
With all those Brooklyn girls
They try so hard to break out of their little worlds

You wave your hand and they scatter like crows
They have nothing that will ever capture your heart
They're just thorns without the rose
Be careful of them in the dark
Oh if I was the one
You chose to be your only one
Oh baby can't you hear me now

Chorus:
Will I see you tonight
On a downtown train
Every night its just the same
You leave me lonely, now
I know your window and I know its late
I know your stairs and your doorway
I walk down your street and past your gate
I stand by the light at the four way
You watch them as they fall
They stay at the carnival
But they'll never win you back
Chorus:
Will I see you tonight
On a downtown train
Where every night its just the same
You leave me lonely
Will I see you tonight
On a downtown train
All of my dreams just fall like rain
All upon a downtown train


. . .


Once i built a railroad, i made it run
I made it run against time
Once i built a railroad, and now it's done
Buddy, can you spare a dime?

Once i built a tower way up to the sun
Of bricks and morter and lime
Once i built a tower, and now it's done
Buddy can you spare a dime?

Once in khaki suits, gee we looked swell
Full of that yankee-doodlee-dum
A half-a-million boots went sloggin' through hell
And i was the kid with the drum

Say don't you remember, you called me al
It was al all the time
Say don't you remember, i was your pal
Buddy, can you spare a dime?

Once i built a railroad, i made it run
I made it run against time
Once i built a railroad, and now it's done
Buddy, can you spare a dime?

. . .


When the hawk's in the kitchen and the sirens in bloom
And the losers have been swept from the gin mills
Hello sucker, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
34th Street good tidings to you

And will you meet me in Paradise Alley tonight
We'll leave town in a bottle of whiskey
And come on, you old scarecrow, and be a wheel, not a lamppost
Just put a saddle on a wishbone, and you're halfway there

You know, the heroes will wait where their dreams used to be
Go on and ask the hooligans as they sweep down the midway
I'm going waltzing tonight with the Statue of Liberty
And come on, you old lazy-bones, let's get out of this place

Will you meet me in Paradise Alley tonight
We'll leave town in a bottle of whiskey
And come on, you old scarecrow, and be a wheel, not a lamppost
Just put a saddle on a wishbone, and you're halfway there

Now there's a counterfeit moon, and I'm seeing right through it
Cause the dawn spent it all in one place
And we'll rise to the top of the morning tonight
You can ride on my shoulders, and I'll show you the way

If you meet me in Paradise Alley tonight
We'll leave town in a bottle of whiskey
So come on, you old scarecrow, and be a wheel, not a lamppost
Just put a saddle on a wishbone, and you're halfway there

. . .


In the evening he stumbles home with his tie undone
And as the moon sweeps 7th Avenue as usual
You lie awake at night
You remember when
now that Annie's back in town

Well I know why you're drinking
I know your alibi
Don't make up excuses
for those are tears in your eyes
And you're falling back in love again
now that Annie's back in town

And it came down through the grapevine
It put your business on the street
I hear you've been hanging out 'til dawn
in some lunch room
Well you thought you've gotten over her
but that was 'til you found
that Annie's back in town

And all the corner boys are trouble-makers
and the sailors are all fools
You know it seems like some things round here
I guess they'll never change
Oh but it's always good for business
Guess we'll be seeing you around
now that Annie's back in town

. . .



(Tom Waits/ Kathleen Brennan)

On our anniversary
There'll be someone else where you used to be
The world don't care and yet it clings to me
And the moon is gold and silvery

Who knows where the sidewalk ends
Well, the road will turn and the road will bend
They always say he marks the sparrow's fall
How can anyone believe it all?

Well, the band has stopped playing but we keep dancing
The world keeps turning, the world keeps turning
On his hand he wore the ring of another
And the world keeps turning, the world keeps turning

We broke the bank and we tore up the place
And we disappeared oh without a trace
Now the sun it falls into the sea
And around the only one for me

I was so green and the dress you wore was yellow
And the world keeps turning, the world keeps turning
The sun is down and the moon is in the meadow
And the world keeps turning, the world keeps turning

Put a hat on your head
Will you paint the whole damned town red with me?

Well, the band has stopped playing but we keep dancing
The world keeps turning, the world keeps turning
On his hand he wore the ring of another
The world keeps turning, the world keeps turning

The world keeps turning, the world keeps turning
The world keeps turning, the world keeps turning


. . .



(Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan)

The sky's as deep as it can be
Bend down the branches
Close your eyes and you will see
Bend down the branches

You're like a willow
Once you were gold
We're made for bending
Even beauty gets old
Climb the stairs they're not so steep
Bend down the branches

Close your eyes and go to sleep
Bend down the branches


. . .


Woah I, know I've been changed
And I know I've been changed
I know I've been changed
Angels in heaven done sign my name
Angels in heaven done sign my name

Well, I know I got religion,
Lord knows I'm not ashamed
Well, a holy ghost is my witness
And the angels done sign my name

Oh, I said: I know I've been changed
And I know I've been changed, yeah
Know I've been changed
Angels in heaven done sign my name
Angels in heaven done sign my name

Lord knows I've been converted
Lord knows I've been redeemed
Well, you can wake me up in the midnight hour
I'm gonna tell ya just a what I seen

I said: I know I've been changed
And I know I've been changed, yeah
Know I've been changed
Angels in heaven done sign my name
Angels in heaven done sign my name
Angels in heaven done sign my name
Angels in heaven done sign my name

. . .



Ain't goin' down
Ain't goin' down
Momma to the well, momma to the well, momma to the well,
Momma to the well, no more
Ain't goin' down
Ain't goin' down
Momma to the well, momma to the well, momma to the well,
Momma to the well, no more
Ain't goin' down.

I'm a true believer, I'm a true believer, believer
Ain't goin' down
Ain't goin' down
Momma to the well, momma to the well, momma to the well,
Momma to the well, no more
Ain't goin' down
Ain't goin' down.

If I ever get able, if I ever get able, able, to pay this debt I owe
Ain't goin' down
I ain't goin' down
Momma to the well, momma to the well,
Momma to the well, no more
Ain't goin' down
Momma to the well, momma to the well, momma to the well, momma to the well,
Momma to the well, no more
Ain't goin' down
Ain't goin' down
Ain't goin' down
Ain't goin' down


. . .



(Tom Waits/Chuck E. Weiss)

This is how the world will be
Everywhere I go it rains on me
Forty monkeys drowning in a boiling sea
Everywhere I go it rains on me
I went down into the valley to pray
Everywhere I go it rains on me
I got drunk and I stayed all day
Everywhere I go it rains on me

Everywhere I go, everywhere I go
Everywhere I go, it rains on me

All God's chilluns can't you see
Everywhere I go it rains on me
Louie Lista and Marchese
Everywhere I go it rains on me
Robert Sheehan and Paul Body
Everywhere I go it rains on me
I went down to Argyle I went down to Dix
Everywhere I go it rains on me
To get my powders and to get my fix
Everywhere I go it rains on me

Everywhere I go, everywhere I go
Everywhere I go, it rains on me
Everywhere I go, everywhere I go
Everywhere I go, it rains on me


. . .



(Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan)

Peoria Johnson told Dirty Ol' Joe
I can break out of any old jail, you know
The bars are iron, the walls are stone
All I need me is an old fishbone

Fish in the jailhouse tonight, all right, oh boy
They're serving fish in the jailhouse tonight, all right, oh boy
They're serving fish in the jailhouse tonight, all right, oh boy
They're serving fish in the jailhouse
Fish in the jailhouse tonight

[?] hammerhead shark
Well, a steelhead salmon or a mud bank carp
I said, one side dull, and then the other side sharp
And on Saturday night I'll be in Central Park

Fish in the jailhouse tonight, all right, oh boy
They're serving fish in the jailhouse tonight, all right, oh boy
They're serving fish in the jailhouse tonight, all right, oh boy
They're serving fish in the jailhouse
Fish in the jailhouse tonight

Ask Little Slow Jackson, on a forty-four trip
Ask Whipperfield[?] Farraday, ask what I did
From the jail to the city, there's a rollin' fog
From Natchez(2) to Kenosha, runnin' down to New York

They're serving fish in the jailhouse tonight
All right (all right), oh boy (oh boy)
They're serving fish in the jailhouse tonight
All right (all right), oh boy (oh boy)
They're serving fish in the jailhouse tonight
All right (all right), oh boy (oh boy)
They're serving fish in the jailhouse
Fish in the jailhouse tonight

Fish in the jailhouse tonight, all right, oh boy
They're serving fish in the jailhouse tonight, all right, oh boy
They're serving fish in the jailhouse tonight, all right, oh boy
They're serving fish in the jailhouse
Fish in the jailhouse tonight


. . .



(Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan)

I lost everything I had in the '29 flood
The barn was buried 'neath a mile of mud
Now I've got nothing but the whistle and the steam
My baby's leaving town on the 2:19

I said, hey, hey, I don't know what to do
I will remember you
Hey, hey, I don't know what to do
My baby's leaving town on the 2:19

Now there's a fellow that's preaching 'bout hell and damnation
Bouncing off the walls of the Grand Central Station
I treated her bad, I treated her mean
Baby's leaving town on the 2:19

I said, hey, hey, I will remember you
Hey, hey, I don't know what to do
Hey, I don't know what to do
My baby's leaving town on the 2:19

Now I've always been puzzled by the yin and the yang
It'll come out in the wash, but it always leaves a stain
Sturm and Drang, the luster and the sheen
My baby's leaving town on the -

Hey, hey, I don't know what to do
Hey, hey, I will remember you
Hey, hey, I will remember you
My baby's leaving town on the 2:19

Lost the baby with the water, and the preacher stole the bride
Sent her out for a bottle, but when she came back inside
She didn't have my whiskey, didn't have my gin
With a hat full of feathers and a wicked grin

I said, hey, hey, I will remember you
Yeah baby, I will remember you
My baby's leaving town on the 2:19

On the train you get smaller, as you get farther away
The roar covers everything you wanted to say
Was that a raindrop or a tear in your eye?
Were you drying your nails or waving goodbye?

Hey, hey, I will remember you
Hey, hey, I don't know what to do
Oh baby
My baby's leaving town on the 2:19

I will remember you
I don't know what to do, baby


. . .



Falling James in the Tahoe mud
Stick around to tell us all the tail
He fell in love with a Gun Street Girl and
Now he's danced in the Birmingham jail.

Took a 100 dollars off a slaughterhouse Joe
Brought a bran' new michigan 20 gauge
Got all liquored up on that road house corn,
Blew a hole in the hood of a yellow corvette
Blew a hole in the hood of a yellow corvette.
Brought a second hand Nova from a Cuban Chinese
Dyed his hair in the bathroom of Texaco
With a pawnshop radio, quarter past 4
Well, he left Waukegan at the slammin' of the door
He left Waukegan at the slammin' of the door

Chorus:
I said John, John he's long gone
Gone to Indiana
Ain't never coming home
I said John, John he's long gone
Gone to Indiana, ain't never coming home.
Sitting in a sycamore in St. John's Wood
Soaking' day old bread in kerosene
He was blue as a robin's egg brown as a hog
Stayin' out of circulation till the dogs get tire
Stayin' out of circulation till the dogs get tired
Shadow fixed the toilet with an old trombone
He never got up in the morning on a Saturday
Sittin' by the Erie with a bull whipped dog
Tellin' everyone he saw
They went thatta way

Tellin' everyone he saw
They went thatta way.
Now the rain's like gravel on old tin roof
And the Burlinton Northern's pullin' out of the world
With a head full of bourbon and a dream in the straw.
And a Gun Street Girl was the cause of it all.
Riding in the shadow by the St. Joe Ridge
He heard the click clack tappin' of a blind man's cane
Pullin' into Baker on New Year's Eve
With one eye on the pistol the other on the door,
With one eye on the pistol the other on the door.
Miss Charlotte took her satchel down to King Row
And the smuggled in a bran' new pair of alligator shoes.
With her fireman's raincoat and her long yellow hair, well
They tied her to a tree with a skinny millionaire,
They tied her to a tree with a skinny millionaire.

Chorus
I said John, John he's long gone
Gone to Indiana
Ain't never coming home
I said John, John he's long gone
Gone to Indiana, ain't never coming home.
Bangin' on a table with an old tin cup
Sing I'll never kiss a Gun Street Girl again,
I'll never kiss a Gun Street Girl again.
Repeat chorus


. . .



(Tom Waits)

There's a place I know where the train goes slow
Where the sinner can be washed in the blood of the lamb
There's a river by the trestle down by sinner's grove
Down where the willow and the dogwood grow

You can hear the whistle, you can hear the bell
From the halls of heaven to the gates of hell
And there's room for the forsaken if you're there on time
You'll be washed of all your sins and all of your crimes
If you're down there by the train
Down there by the train
Down there by the train
Down there by the train
Down there where the train goes slow

There's a golden moon that shines up through the mist
And I know that your name can be on that list
There's no eye for an eye, there's no tooth for a tooth
I saw Judas Iscariot carrying John Wilkes Booth
He was down there by the train
Down there by the train
Down there by the train
Down there by the train
He was down there where the train goes slow

If you've lost all your hope, if you've lost all your faith
I know you can be cared for and I know you can be safe
And all the shamefuls and all of the whores
And even the soldier who pierced the side of the Lord
Is down there by the train
Down there by the train
Down there by the train
Down there by the train
Down there where the train goes slow

Well, I've never asked forgiveness and I've never said a prayer
Never given of myself, never truly cared
I've left the ones who loved me and I'm still raising Cain
I've taken the low road and if you've done the same
Meet me down there by the train
Down there by the train
Down there by the train
Down there by the train
Down there where the train goes slow

Meet me down there by the train
Down there by the train
Down there by the train
Down there by the train
Down there where the train goes slow


. . .


Jesus' blood never failed me yet
Never failed me yet
Jesus' blood never failed me yet
There's one thing I know
For he loves me so

Jesus' blood never failed me
Never failed me yet
Never failed me yet
One thing I know
For he loves me so

Jesus' blood never failed me yet
Never failed me yet
Never failed me yet
There's one thing I know
Loves me so

Jesus' blood never failed me
Never failed me yet
Never failed me yet
One thing I know
For he loves me so

. . .


I stood on the roof, of Stuart's old Dodge
to get a better look at the Fledderjohn's lodge
Bait shop, pistols and ammo too
Nothing but books about World War II
Rottweiler, Doberman, a Pinkerton guard
I ain't allowed in Buzz Fledderjohn's yard

I ain't allowed
No, I ain't allowed
I said, I ain't allowed in Buzz Fledderjohn's yard

I seen a python swallowing a Dobermann whole
Piranha swimming in a mixing bowl

Papers full of stabbings, the sky's full of crows
She's singing in Italian while she's hanging out her clothes
Carp in the bathtub and it's raining real hard
I ain't allowed in Buzz Fledderjohn's yard

I said, that I ain't allowed
No, I ain't allowed
No, I ain't allowed in Buzz Fledderjohn's yard.

Well, a sailor's ringing doorbells, the sinner's in the pew
Weather vane squeaking to the west
I seen the cliffs of Dover and the deepest ocean blue
One thing in the world I can't recommend to you

Cause I ain't allowed
I said, I ain't allowed
No, I ain't allowed in Buzz Fledderjohn's yard

I said, I ain't allowed
No, I ain't allowed
I ain't allowed in Buzz Fledderjohn's yard

I ain't allowed
I ain't allowed
I said, I ain't allowed in Buzz Fledderjohn's yard

. . .


When the show is over and the work is through
I want the big face money

I'll get all that cash and bring it home to you
I'll get the big face money

I'll get the big face money
I want the big face money
I'll get the big face money

. . .

I'll Tell You Why That Is

[No lyrics]

. . .


Woah I, know I've been changed
And I know I've been changed
I know I've been changed
Angels in heaven done sign my name
Angels in heaven done sign my name

Well, I know I got religion,
Lord knows I'm not ashamed
Well, a holy ghost is my witness
And the angels done sign my name

Oh, I said: I know I've been changed
And I know I've been changed, yeah
Know I've been changed
Angels in heaven done sign my name
Angels in heaven done sign my name

Lord knows I've been converted
Lord knows I've been redeemed
Well, you can wake me up in the midnight hour
I'm gonna tell ya just a what I seen

I said: I know I've been changed
And I know I've been changed, yeah
Know I've been changed
Angels in heaven done sign my name
Angels in heaven done sign my name
Angels in heaven done sign my name
Angels in heaven done sign my name

. . .


I am growing old
who she loves is not the answer.
Don't try to change my mind
she will marry who I want her to.

Can't you see she's not a child
she's a woman after all.
You cannot change what's in her heart
when she loves Wilhelm.

I will protect you, my love
with a sword of ice brook temper.
I will bring you the moon
and I always will be true.

I would go anywhere with you
but my father won't approve.
For you see, you're not a huntsman
my dear Wilhelm.

There is more to life
than to fill your heart with dreams.
You don't build your house
from the willow by the stream.

But what is life without the willow
she must listen to her heart.
When her head is on her pillow
she loves Wilhelm.

Open up your heart
please remember we were young once
and we felt like they do.
Have you forgotten all you know.

I have chosen someone for her
and I know his aim is true
and she will grow to love him.

But he's not Wilhelm!

. . .


He'll wear your heart and you will wear his ring
and you'll go rolling down a mustard hill
Play a lullaby on a fishbone harp
ride away on the gray mare's tail

In the morning
In the morning
In the morning when I/you rise
In the morning
In the morning
In the morning I/you will be my/your true love's bride

Weave a rosemary wreath in your auburn hair
and you'll be the envy of all the girls
He'll wear your heart - and you will wear his ring
and you'll go rolling down a mustard hill
Play a lullaby on a fishbone harp
ride away on the gray mare's tail

In the morning
In the morning
In the morning when I/you rise
In the morning
In the morning
In the morning I/you will be my/your true love's bride

Oh the blood of the lamb is in the well
and it runs from the crack along the wedding bell
Perhaps a wind has blown the barrel from its mark
I heard the bird but could not hit it in the dark
I have bought and sold my only love
and my rifle, it has let me down

In the morning
In the morning
In the morning when I/you rise
In the morning
In the morning
In the morning will I/she ever be his/my bride?

. . .



You dance real slow
You wreck it down
You walk away, then you
Turn around

What did that old blonde
Gal say?
That is the part...
You throw away

I want that beggars eyes
A winning horse
A tidy Mexican divorce

St. Mary's prayers
Houdini's Hands
And a Barman who always
Understands

Will you loose the flowers
Hold on to the vase
Will you wipe all those teardrops
Away from your fase
I can't help thinking
As I close the door
I have done all of this
Many times before

The bone must go
The wish can stay
The kiss don't know
What the lips will say

Forget I've hurt you
Put stones in your bed
And remember to never
Mind instead

Well all of your letters
Burned up in the fire
Time is just memory
Mixed in with Desire
That's not the road it is
Only the map...I say
Gone just like matches
From a closed down cabaret
In a Portuguese Saloon
A fly is a circling around
The room
You'll soon forget the
Tune that you play
For that is the part
You throw away
Ah, that is the part
You throw away


. . .



(Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan)

There's a crooked street in Houston town,
It's a well born path I've traveled down
Now there's ruin in my name, I wish I never got off the train,
I wished I'd listened to the words you said.

Don't go down to Fannin Street
Don't go down to Fannin Street
Don't go down to Fannin Street
You'll be lost and never found
You can never turn around
Don't go down to Fannin Street

Once I held you in my arms, I was sure
But I took that silent stare through the guilded door
The desire to have much more, all the glitter and the roar,
I know this is where the sidewalk ends.

Don't go down to Fannin Street
Don't go down to Fannin Street
Don't go down to Fannin Street
You'll be lost and never found
You can never turn around
Don't go down to Fannin Street

When I was young I thought only of getting out
I said goodbye to my street, goodbye to my house
Give a man gin, give a man cards, give an inch he takes a yard,
And I rue the day that I stepped off this train.

Don't go down to Fannin Street
Don't go down to Fannin Street
Don't go down to Fannin Street
You'll be lost and never found
You can never turn around
Don't go down to Fannin Street.


. . .


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