Saturday, February 16, 2008

Great Love Songs (3)

The genius of Tom Waits manages to produce a Valentine's Day reference that I don't hate.

There are several songs from the Blue Valentines album that, like this, so brilliantly and quirkily tell a story; I used to use a number of them in my English literature classes when I was teaching in high school a decade or so ago. I'll try to post the lyrics to this in the comments (done!). I think I've said before that Waits is about the only songwriter I can think of whose lyrics consistently stand up on their own without the music, the only one who can make a real claim to being a poet (not Dylan, not Cohen).

This is A Christmas Card From A Hooker in Minneapolis, performed live (in, I would guess, the early '80s).


Froog said...

Hey Charlie, I'm pregnant
and living on the 9th Street
right above a dirty bookstore
on Euclid Avenue.
I stopped takin' dope
and quit drinkin' whiskey,
and my old man plays the trombone
and works out at the track.

He says that he loves me
even though it's not his baby
and he says that he'll raise him up
like he would his own son.
And he gave me a ring
that was worn by his mother,
and he takes me out dancin'
every Saturday night.

And hey Charlie, I think about you
every time I pass a filling station -
on account of all the grease
you used to wear in your hair.
And I still have that record
of Little Anthony & The Imperials,
but someone stole my record player.
Now how do you like that?

Hey Charlie, I almost went crazy
after Mario got busted,
so I went back to Omaha
to live with my folks;
but everyone I used to know
was either dead or in prison,
so I came back to Minneapolis.
This time I think I'm gonna stay.

Hey Charlie, I think I'm happy
for the first time since my accident.
I wish i had all the money
that we used to spend on dope;
I'd buy me a used car lot
and I wouldn't sell any of 'em;
I'd just drive a different car every day,
dependin' on how I feel.

Hey Charlie, for Chrissakes -
do you want to know the truth of it?
I don't have a husband,
he don't play the trombone;
and I need to borrow money
to pay this lawyer,
and Charlie, hey,
I'll be eligible for parole
come Valentine's Day.

The British Cowboy said...

Countdown to the Pogues is starting. And it seems pretty likely the ugly drunk man will be showing up...

Froog said...

Where are they playing? What is the situation on tickets?

I have no work..... and flights are enticingly cheap at the moment.

The British Cowboy said...

9.30 Club, which is TINY. Totally sold out of course. And the one spare ticket my friend had has now disappeared because he is in luuuurve.

Froog said...

Oh, a good venue.

You know not the meaning of TINY. The 9.30 is about as big as the biggest venue here in Beijing. Most of the music clubs I go to here are smaller than my apartment. Heck, a couple of them are substantially smaller than my living room.

I am jealous, jealous, jealous. I hope Shane shows up and manages to do the show.

Nick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The British Cowboy said...

Tiny is relative. Of course I have seen bands at much smaller places than the 9.30, but compared to the size of the band, it is tiny.

Froog said...

Ah yes, there are several of them, aren't there?

Froog said...

And - train-lagged though I am - I do know that isn't what you meant.