Saturday, March 07, 2009

I've Got My Own Double Cross To Bear

Today's feature song is the less well-known drinking song on Tom Waits' classic Small Change album (the best from his 1970's barfly era). It's my favorite track on the album. Not for the music, which is sort of plain, but for the plethora of fantastically pathetic drunken/heartbroken lines.

Tom Waits - Bad Liver & A Broken Heart (buy album)

I got a bad liver and broken heart
I drunk me a river since you tore me apart
I don't have a drinking problem, 'cept when I can't get a drink
I wish you'd a-known her, we were quite a pair
She was sharp as a razor and soft as a prayer

So welcome to the continuing saga
She was my better half, and I was just a dog
So here I am slumped,

I've been chipped and I've been chumped on my stool
So buy this fool some spirits and libations
It's these railroad station bars
All these conductors and porters, and I'm all out of quarters

And this epitaph is the aftermath
I choose my path, hey, come on, Kath
He's a lawyer, he ain't the one for ya
No, the moon ain't romantic, it's intimidating as hell,
And some guy's trying to sell me a watch
So I'll meet you at the bottom of a bottle of bargain Scotch
I got me a bottle and a dream, it's so maudlin it seems

You can name your poison, go on ahead and make some noise
I ain't sentimental, this ain't a purchase it's a rental,

And it's purgatory
Hey, what's your story?, well I don't even care
Cause I've got my own double cross to bear

And I'll see your Red Label, and I'll raise you one more
And you can pour me a cap, I just can't drink no more
Cause it don't douse the flames that are started by dames
It ain't like asbestos, it don't do nothing but rest us assured
And substantiate the rumors that you've heard...

This one is best if consumed with an entire fifth of Red Label Scotch.


Ramone666 said...

Amen to that Paul. And cheers of course!

Matt.H said...

Legend has it that Tom Waits spent most of his time whilst working on 'Small Change' drinking, hanging out with lowlife and scuffling with cops. I read a great article about this album, in which Waits confesses there was little to choose between the way he lived his life back then and the characters in his songs. Urban legend exaggerated? Not according to many who came across him during this period. As for Waits, he freely admits, "I became a character in my own story. I'd go out, get drunk and fall asleep under a car". Great album.

dan said...

Perfect, absolutely friggin' perfect! Thanks.

godoggo said...

Alice Bag's autobiography blog (which she's about to start taking down, if she hasn't already started, so you'll have to read this quicklike), has a pretty amusising anecdote about the Bags' run-in with Waits around '78 or so.

godoggo said...

...but I just remembered she has a more detailed version on her regular (sic) blog (which presumably isn't going anywhere. Amusising!

Johnny Vandal said...

As long as we're talking Waits drinking songs--- you oughta post "Sight For Sore Eyes" off of the Foreign Affairs LP, eh?

godoggo said...

Eh, kind of screwed up that 1st link, which is for the whole month, rather than the individual post...try this:

Anonymous said...

This might just be the best drinking song ever. I used to sing my heart out along with this one. A little rathole dive bar in South Omaha had Small Change on the juke. That song would come on and I would feel like Bukowski.
I've been on the wagon for years now - somebody have a whiskey and a beer and play this one for me.