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Tom Waits — Big Joe And Phantom 309
Album: Nighthawks At The Diner
Avg rating:
5.5

Your rating:
Total ratings: 183









Released: 1975
Length: 6:23
Plays (last 30 days): 0
Well you see I happened to be back on the east coast
A few years back tryin' to make me a buck
Like everybody else, well you know
Times get hard and well I got down on my luck
And I got tired of just roamin' and bummin'
Around, so I started thumbin' my way
Back to my old hometown
You know I made quite a few miles
In the first couple of days, and I
Figured I'd be home in a week if my
Luck held out this way
But you know it was the third night
I got stranded, it was out at a cold lonely
Crossroads, and as the rain came
Pouring down, I was hungry, tired
Freezin', caught myself a chill, but
It was just about that time that
The lights of an old semi topped the hill
You should of seen me smile when I
Heard them air brakes come on, and
I climbed up in that cab where I
Knew it'd be warm at the wheel
Well at the wheel sat a big man
I'd have to say he must of weighed 210
The way he stuck out a big hand and
Said with a grin "Big Joe's the name
And this here rig's called Phantom 309"
Well I asked him why he called his
Rig such a name, but he just turned to me
And said "Why son don't you know this here
Rig'll be puttin' 'em all to shame, why
There ain't a driver on this
Or any other line for that matter
That's seen nothin' but the taillights of Big Joe
And Phantom 309"
So we rode and talked the better part of the night
And I told my stories and Joe told his and
I smoked up all his Viceroys as we rolled along
He pushed her ahead with 10 forward gears
Man that dashboard was lit like the old
Madam La Rue pinball, a serious semi truck
Until almost mysteriously, well it was the
Lights of a truck stop that rolled into sight
Joe turned to me and said "I'm sorry son
But I'm afraid this is just as far as you go
You see I kinda gotta be makin' a turn
Just up the road a piece," but I'll be
Damned if he didn't throw me a dime as he
Threw her in low and said "Go on in there
Son, and get yourself a hot cup of coffee
On Big Joe"
And when Joe and his rig pulled off into
The night, man in nothing flat they was
Clean outa sight
So I walked into the old stop and
Ordered me up a cup of mud sayin'
"Big Joe's settin' this dude up" but
It got so deathly quiet in that
Place, you could of heard a pin drop
As the waiter's face turned kinda
Pale, I said "What's the matter did
I say somethin' wrong?" I kinda
Said with 8a half way grin. He said
"No son, you see It'll happen every
Now and then. You see every driver in
Here knows Big Joe, but let me
Tell you what happened just 10 years
Ago, yea it was 10 years ago
Out there at that cold lonely crossroads
Where you flagged Joe down, and
There was a whole bus load of kids
And they were just comin' from school
And they were right in the middle when
Joe topped the hill, and could
Have been slaughtered except
Joe turned his wheels, and
He jacknifed, and went
Into a skid, and folks around here
Say he gave his life to save that bunch
Of kids, and out there at that cold
Lonely crossroads, well they say it
Was the end of the line for
Big Joe and Phantom 309, but it's
Funny you know, cause every now and then
Yea every now and then, when the
Moon's holdin' water, they say old Joe
Will stop and give you a ride, and
Just like you, some hitchhiker will be
Comin' by"
"So here son," he said to me, "get
Yourself another cup of coffee, it's on the
House, you see I want you to hang on
To that dime, yea you hang on to that
Dime as a kind of souvenir, a
Souvenir of Big Joe and Phantom 309"
Comments (69)add comment
 Scudbuster wrote:

 Well Colleen, I don't think you quite understand. This is an incredible, magnificent, song by Tom Waits. Just an amazing tune.


 
Nope Scud,

it sucks. Period. 
 colleen wrote: 
This song is a total downer and stops the RP vibe in it's tracks.
 
 Well Colleen, I don't think you quite understand. This is an incredible, magnificent, song by Tom Waits. Just an amazing tune.

This song is a total downer and stops the RP vibe in it's tracks.
I loves me my Tom Waits, but this one just doesn't cut it. So many other better ones RP could play (pretty much anything from Beautiful Maladies).
Wow. :eek: We were doing so well...
AMH wrote:
This is the only song that I've ever seen on RP where the leading vote-getter was a 1. We're pretty united that we can't stand this song.
No, we're not.
Ze Ro! Ze Ro! Ze Ro! give us a Zero rating option! Maybe a school bus full o' them kids was a'coming up ovah that hill and they was gonna be a-slaughtered, or whatever... but that's just fiction. But it's fact that my ears are permanently damaged
CatSitter wrote:
Saw Tom do this in concert in 197....(well that's not important). That was a treat. I can understand why he does not tickle everyone's palate but I always enjoyed his style and song writing talent. This was a great cover. :cool:
I guess you had to be there to appreciate this.
Saw Tom do this in concert in 197....(well that's not important). That was a treat. I can understand why he does not tickle everyone's palate but I always enjoyed his style and song writing talent. This was a great cover. :cool:
Brilliant record, brilliant song! I love this Tom Waits period, best for me.
Red Sovine did some clunkers, but Phantom 309 was quite good, and Waits really infused it with pathos.
sthufferin sthuccotash!
Hmm - was about to start giving out when this first came on, but it just got to me after a few minutes - really cool - 7
This song/story captivates me every time. Nighthawks has remained one of my favorite disks for many years.
This is the only song that I've ever seen on RP where the leading vote-getter was a 1. We're pretty united that we can't stand this song.
SHI@E :stupid: Is he totally wasted or just enjoying making me this painfully critical... What is he banging on about. I know a guy down our town who drinks meths and sounds very similar..
It must take so much skill and dedication to be that bad .......... had to give it a fairly positive rating.
You know, it took me nearly two years on a daily dose of RP to convert from a Talking Heads-hater to somebody who really enjoys hearing some of Byrne's stuff. Gimme another 15 or so years and I actually might stand Tom Waits.
samiyam wrote:
I guess you're proof that not everybody in Ohio has good taste... :razz:
Then I don't have it either...this sucks :razz:
rickf wrote:
well musically it isn't any great shakes but it's a good yarn & I enjoyed it once I let go & just listened to the story...
I wish I could get through the mist of Tom's voice... Understand just half of the story. :headache:
Original was better.
kazuma wrote:
Red Sovine, actually. Big country hit, about 1965-ish. Used to freak the sh*t outta me when I was a kid.
Wow! A blast from the past. I haven't heard about Phantom 309 since Red's hit was being played on the radio.
rickf wrote:
well musically it isn't any great shakes but it's a good yarn & I enjoyed it once I let go & just listened to the story...
Exactly!! :yes:
well musically it isn't any great shakes but it's a good yarn & I enjoyed it once I let go & just listened to the story...
Smoked up all of his Viceroys, eh? Singer was riding the Eighteen-Wheeler of Life There was the Driver of the Universe shiftin' that crash-box Ten over Two. Old 309 is still riding on that Eternal Highway of Life, Redemption and, of course, Salvation. (c) 2007 Misterfixit Productions, llc.
I normally love Tom Waits... And yet a I find myself surprisingly annoyed by this! Maybe Bill needs to play it again so I can give it another chance. :ask:
Loonytunas wrote:
:skull: :skull: :skull: :skull: :skull: I am out of here, got to switch stations, before I really go nuts.
I guess you're proof that not everybody in Ohio has good taste... :razz:
:skull: :skull: :skull: :skull: :skull: I am out of here, got to switch stations, before I really go nuts.
Please stop!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :headache: :frustrated: Will this song ever end!!!!! This is the first time I turned off the sound at RP. :taped-shut: If it goes any longer I\'m going to shoot myself. Please stop !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Not my favorite TW but this album is so endearingly fun I can\'t help but be sucked in. There\'s nobody else like him.
People will still be listening to TW long after the boys with warbler voices are sucking their gruel through straws
Swing And a miss.
cc_rider wrote:
Phantom 309! Cool! Isn't this a Sheb Wooley song?
Red Sovine, actually. Big country hit, about 1965-ish. Used to freak the sh*t outta me when I was a kid.
Beautifully annoying :twisted:
...appealing because it's Tom! ...it's Tom telling a story the way only Mr. Waits can, a slice of Americana from one of this generations best artists!
Crap? No, elitist music. Not for all, just for a few chosen ones.
Stan Ridgway did a similar kind of ghost story called 'Camouflage'. Great stuff. I dig the whole genre of Twilight Zone-ish ghost songs. c.
SuddenChad if your listening, I'd rather hear 'Cows with guns' as opposed to this...as nice as the guitar work is. See...I have to listen through some grueling stuff too, all for the love of RP
clear your throat man!!
Hmmm. I don't care for much Tom Waits, but this one's almost... charming.
drtjdel wrote:
Primo album.
It sure is, my favorite Waits album at least....solid all the way through.....Glad to hear this here!
It's amazing how beautiful the guitar is under the storytelling and the gravel in his voice. Stunning, completely successful contrast.
ChardRemains wrote:
I like a lot of Tom Waits. But not this.
Same here. 2
I could see reading this as a short story, but I'm not really interested in listening to it.
I like Tom Waits, but this one is sucken crap through a straw.
I like a lot of Tom Waits. But not this.
orionblu wrote:
how has tom waits not killed himself? I get depressed just listening to him for 3 minutes.
Ditto. Can't stand Tom Waits. Different strokes etc etc
Always liked this one. Great feeling, very evocative.
Crap, I've already rated this a 1.
Primo album.
They Might Be Giants' "Trucker's Coffee" would complete a nice back-to-back. You know, the one that invokes Ken Kesey and Teak-n-Vee's.
Hahahahaha - the only thing good about this song is all the Pee-Wee comments! I love it...
Rendergirl wrote:
is this the inspiration for the story about "Large Marge" from "Pee Wee's Big Adventure?" :think:
hahaha when I was little; the face that she made scared the crap out of me.
Fantastic!
CRAP.
Large Marge sent me.
is this the inspiration for the story about "Large Marge" from "Pee Wee's Big Adventure?" :think:
eskles wrote:
Not funny, not insightful.....the emperor wears no clothes.
? Don't think it was intended to be funny or insightful - just telling an American ghost story, a variation of the urban legend we've all heard for years.
On this very night... 10 years ago... along the same stretch of road... in a dense fog... just like this... I saw the worst accident I ever seen... There was this sound... Like a garbage truck! Dropped off the empire state building! And when they finally pulled the driver's body... From the Twisted... Burning... Wreck... It looked like... THIS!!!!!! hooo hooo hooo hooo hooo haaaah! Yes sir... That was the worst accident I ever seen...
how has tom waits not killed himself? I get depressed just listening to him for 3 minutes.
OBNOXIOUS. And not very entertaining either....
:cheesygrin:
SHUT......UP!!!!!!!!!
:frustrated: very annoying
Not funny, not insightful.....the emperor wears no clothes.
Phantom 309! Cool! Isn't this a Sheb Wooley song? There used to be an album of 'trucking songs'. Cool stuff. In a Skoal-dippin', gimme cap-wearing kinda way. c.
Way to add some Nighthawks to the line up!!
dear heavens, thank you Bill!!! :claphands: a classic from a classic :yes: :hearteyes:
I don't know why, but the voice works