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Tom Waits — Get Behind The Mule
Album: Mule Variations
Avg rating:
6.6

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1895









Released: 1999
Length: 6:46
Plays (last 30 days): 1
Molly be damned smote Jimmy the Harp
With a horrid little pistol and a lariat
She's goin to the bottom
And she's goin down the drain
Said she wasn't big enough to carry it
She got to get behind the Mule
In the morning and plow
She got to get behind the Mule
In the morning and plow
She got to get behind the Mule
In the morning and plow
She got to get behind the Mule
In the morning and plow
Choppity chop goes the axe in the woods
You gotta meet me by the fall down tree
Shovel of dirt upon a coffin lid
And I know they'll come lookin for me boys
And I know they'll come a-lookin for me

(Chorus)
Got to get behind the Mule
In the morning and plow
Got to get behind the Mule
In the morning and plow
Got to get behind the Mule
In the morning and plow
Got to get behind the Mule
In the morning and plow

Big Jack Earl was 8'1
He stood in the road and he cried
He couldn't make her love him
Couldn't make her stay
But tell the good Lord that he tried

(Chorus)

Dusty trail from Atchison to Placerville
On the wreck of the Weaverville stage
Beaula fired on Beatty for a lemonade
I was stirring my brandy with a nail boys
Stirring my brandy with a nail

(Chorus)

Well the rampaging sons of the widow James
Jack the cutter and the pock marked kid
Had to stand naked at the bottom
Of the cross
And tell the good lord what they did
Tell the good lord what they did

(Chorus)

Punctuated birds on the power line
In a Studebaker with the Birdie Joe Joaks
I'm diggin all the way to China
With a silver spoon
While the hangman fumbles with the noose, boys
The hangman fumbles with the noose

(Chorus)

Pin your ear to the wisdom post
Pin your eye to the line
Never let the weeds get higher
Than the garden
Always keep a sapphire in your mind
Always keep a diamond in your mind

(Chorus)
Comments (242)add comment
Garbage.
 AndyJ wrote:
 

I feel sorry (almost) for anyone who has never plowed with a mule...

My Grandfather had 5 acres in the backyard. He had a mule and manual plow...Not very different from those used in the 19th century... When WWII broke out my Dad had a farmer exemption from the draft. One morning shortly after graduating high school, he had a hangover and was plowing the "garden"... Mid-morning he told his father he was going to get some cigarettes and went to the recruiters office.... He always said that  he thought that -anything- the Germans threw at him had to be better than watching that mule's rear end all day...

I came along shortly after he came home. We lived with my Grandparents for a few years. I loved getting out and following him in the freshly cut furrows... He also had a buggy that his mule and later horse pulled... very 19th century... watching an equine produce road muffins is an educational experience that stays with one.... My Grandfather also had chickens who laid eggs everywhere... fun for kids to seek... he also would kill and clean them in the back yard for Sunday meals...

Sadly my kids never had that experience... But that was a world "Gone with the Wind"... like fog on a warming morning...

If you doubt my tales, remember "The future is already here. It's just unevenly distributed." You can see wisps of the past almost everywhere, if you look around...

 

 


 
I thought they were road apples!
Tomy Waits can do no wrong!
So reminds me of Dr. John on this track. Very Nice. I like.  {#Laughing}
 frank_eindhoven wrote:
What, a 6.6 rating for Tom Waits? What's going on?
 
I know.  Further evidence that the world is going to hell.

"It's the big one, I'm coming to join you Elizabeth!"
 twoplain2sea wrote:
Thy should put plow before mule, because horses are for courses.
 
A horse is a horse,
Of course, of course.


God speed, Mr. Ed.
 westslope wrote:

You nailed it.   The Democrats lost touch.  In the end, the Democrats understood very little.  
 
You and cely turned a Tom Waits song into political fodder.  You have missed the point of this song and RP.  SAD.
 Stratocaster wrote:
Wish I could understand why Tom Waits is so popular.

Ugh.
 As some have said, it's an acquired (good) taste. Join in.

Its movin' up from a 6 to an 8 for me.  Right on Tom!
 westslope wrote:

You nailed it.   The Democrats lost touch.  In the end, the Democrats understood very little.  

 


Whatever that comment means.  In the end, either Trump goes (to be replaced by a REALLY  rightwing religious Republican nut) or he stays thru Jan 2021 and God knows what he does  during that stretch.  Maybe you like another war - nuclear this time. 
Wish he did a little research...Placerville was known as Hangtown when the Weaverville stage was around.
 cely wrote:
6.6 rating?  That's why Trump is president.  And so much else.

 
You nailed it.   The Democrats lost touch.  In the end, the Democrats understood very little.  
The variety of comments are... amusing. 

If the haters actually bothered to score the song, I bet we would end up with a U-shaped distribution of numerical ratings.
 
I like Tom Waits just enough to pay attention.  If I did not enjoy Waits, I would still expect RP to play him often.  
Wish I could understand why Tom Waits is so popular.

Ugh.
Mule
6.6 rating?  That's why Trump is president.  And so much else.
Damn fine; simple as that.
Tom is an American treasure.
Classic - really like this version. His gravel voice is perfect on this one, informed by all his drinking, which also lends it self to the mood of this song!
 LizK (West Florida, where the gators roam) wrote:
As usual with Tom Waits...

 
Sending a gator your way.

First time I noticed the (whip cracks) toward the end. Nice

 frank_eindhoven wrote:
What, a 6.6 rating for Tom Waits? What's going on?
 
Don't overrate RP-listeners ...
{#Whistle}
 Megavolt wrote:

An acquired taste, to be sure. But worth the investment. 

 
My first listen... his voice makes me uncomfortable, yet I can instantly tell that his sound is an acquired taste. I'm looking forward to acquiring it! 
When dealing with certain tasks or specific humans, this gets stuck in my head, heh.
What, a 6.6 rating for Tom Waits? What's going on?
 Jota wrote:

He has individuality and character, something that the manufactured efforts of Rihanna, Swift and the like could never dream of.

Tom Waits is an artist.  Rihanna is a product.

 
Succinct and spot on.
Tom Waits.  Wonderful lyricist.

Pin your ear to the wisdom post

Pin your eye to the line
Never let the weeds get higher
Than the garden
Always keep a sapphire in your mind
Always keep a diamond in your mind
Thy should put plow before mule, because horses are for courses.
 LizK wrote:
As usual with Tom Waits, he sings about a life I can't relate to,  (when was the last time I met a mule?  Yes, Republicans, but  I mean a real fur & hoof variety.)  Where did he learn to sing?  From a group named the cheddargraters? Ugly, ugly, well you get the point.

 
It's an allegory. Some have jobs that are drugery, like getting behind the mule and plowing. 

Like when the dwarves sing, "I owe, I owe, so it's off to work I go" you don't have to be going down into a mine to get the idea of being shafted. 
 helgigermany wrote:
Very bad voice! 
  LizK wrote:
As usual with Tom Waits, he sings about a life I can't relate to,  (when was the last time I met a mule?  Yes, Republicans, but  I mean a real fur & hoof variety.)  Where did he learn to sing?  From a group named the cheddargraters? Ugly, ugly, well you get the point.

 
Speaking of getting the point, could the point be more missed?

How could someone not get the message of the line, "get behind the mule in the morning and plow"?  It's called metaphor.  I just can't relate to "putting my nose to the grindstone".  No one grinds down their nose anymore!!

I know we're becoming a country of anti-intellectuals, but some of the drivel I read here makes me question my own sanity.
 LizK wrote:
As usual with Tom Waits, he sings about a life I can't relate to,  (when was the last time I met a mule?  Yes, Republicans, but  I mean a real fur & hoof variety.)  Where did he learn to sing?  From a group named the cheddargraters? Ugly, ugly, well you get the point.

 
He has individuality and character, something that the manufactured efforts of Rihanna, Swift and the like could never dream of.

Tom Waits is an artist.  Rihanna is a product.
 helgigermany wrote:
Very bad voice! 
 
An acquired taste, to be sure. But worth the investment. 
Awesome way to start the day. You do, indeed, gotta get behind the mule. 

And plow.  
Very bad voice! 
As usual with Tom Waits, he sings about a life I can't relate to,  (when was the last time I met a mule?  Yes, Republicans, but  I mean a real fur & hoof variety.)  Where did he learn to sing?  From a group named the cheddargraters? Ugly, ugly, well you get the point.
More TW please 
Is this the only music service on the web that would play not one but two Waits songs in a row? Great stuff. 
 garyalex wrote:

All this song has going for it are great musicianship, powerful lyrics, excellent production and Tom's unique way of telling a story.  Other than that you're right.

 
Mr. Waits is not everyone's cup of whisky.  I like it neat...with a cigarette... but some of the covers, like the last one, show how skilled this man is.
 garyalex wrote:

All this song has going for it are great musicianship, powerful lyrics, excellent production and Tom's unique way of telling a story.  Other than that you're right.

 
This cannot be bumped enough.  Well said!
 garyalex wrote:

All this song has going for it are great musicianship, powerful lyrics, excellent production and Tom's unique way of telling a story.  Other than that you're right.

 
BA-BOOOM!!!    you nailed it garyalex, cheers!
I love Tom Waits but this is really not worth my precious time
 
Just look at the album cover. This man is not weak. Songwriting or otherwise.
 garyalex wrote:
All this song has going for it are great musicianship, powerful lyrics, excellent production and Tom's unique way of telling a story.  Other than that you're right.
 
{#Clap}
 stegokitty wrote:
This is one of those songs that, if written by just about anyone else, the majority report would considered it to be tripe.
It is tripe. Tom Waits writing and performing it doesn't make it good.

 
All this song has going for it are great musicianship, powerful lyrics, excellent production and Tom's unique way of telling a story.  Other than that you're right.
 stegokitty wrote:
This is one of those songs that, if written by just about anyone else, the majority report would considered it to be tripe.
It is tripe. Tom Waits writing and performing it doesn't make it good.

 
No, Tom Waits writing it doesn't make it good.
Still, it is pretty good.
 
This is one of those songs that, if written by just about anyone else, the majority report would considered it to be tripe.
It is tripe. Tom Waits writing and performing it doesn't make it good.
I would not like getting behind the mule,,,I don't like stepping in poop.
Dusty trail from Atchison to Placerville
On the wreck of the Weaverville stage
Beaula fired on Beatty for a lemonade
I was stirring my brandy with a nail boys
Stirring my brandy with a nail

Got to get behind the mule
In the morning and plow...

I guess its time to get behind the mule
 calle01 wrote:

You're an Idiot! 
Finally RP plays a song with depth. 
Go listen to your girly music fool. 

 
Easy there dude... I think superweh actually likes it too.  Even if he didn't I don't think he would deserve your lashing.  I love this tune, lets just enjoy.
 pankman wrote:
How can anybody like this song? It's beyond my understanding. Worst garbage!

 
How can someone fail to understand shy almost everybody likes this song
How can anybody like this song? It's beyond my understanding. Worst garbage!
Everybody in my alien space craft loves this song...  we be dancing like bowlegged gypsy muleskinners...
 AndyJ wrote:

 

I feel sorry (almost) for anyone who has never plowed with a mule...

My Grandfather had 5 acres in the backyard. He had a mule and manual plow...Not very different from those used in the 19th century... When WWII broke out my Dad had a farmer exemption from the draft. One morning shortly after graduating high school, he had a hangover and was plowing the "garden"... Mid-morning he told his father he was going to get some cigarettes and went to the recruiters office.... He always said that  he thought that -anything- the Germans threw at him had to be better than watching that mule's rear end all day...

I came along shortly after he came home. We lived with my Grandparents for a few years. I loved getting out and following him in the freshly cut furrows... He also had a buggy that his mule and later horse pulled... very 19th century... watching an equine produce road muffins is an educational experience that stays with one.... My Grandfather also had chickens who laid eggs everywhere... fun for kids to seek... he also would kill and clean them in the back yard for Sunday meals...

Sadly my kids never had that experience... But that was a world "Gone with the Wind"... like fog on a warming morning...

If you doubt my tales, remember "The future is already here. It's just unevenly distributed." You can see wisps of the past almost everywhere, if you look around...

 

 



 
great story, one of the best I have read on RP - sadly(?) I have never plowed a mule
love that slide guitar work!
 
 Perfect. And thanks for that. Hope Tom reads this.


AndyJ wrote:

 

I feel sorry (almost) for anyone who has never plowed with a mule...

My Grandfather had 5 acres in the backyard. He had a mule and manual plow...Not very different from those used in the 19th century... When WWII broke out my Dad had a farmer exemption from the draft. One morning shortly after graduating high school, he had a hangover and was plowing the "garden"... Mid-morning he told his father he was going to get some cigarettes and went to the recruiters office.... He always said that  he thought that -anything- the Germans threw at him had to be better than watching that mule's rear end all day...

I came along shortly after he came home. We lived with my Grandparents for a few years. I loved getting out and following him in the freshly cut furrows... He also had a buggy that his mule and later horse pulled... very 19th century... watching an equine produce road muffins is an educational experience that stays with one.... My Grandfather also had chickens who laid eggs everywhere... fun for kids to seek... he also would kill and clean them in the back yard for Sunday meals...

Sadly my kids never had that experience... But that was a world "Gone with the Wind"... like fog on a warming morning...

If you doubt my tales, remember "The future is already here. It's just unevenly distributed." You can see wisps of the past almost everywhere, if you look around...

 

 



 


 

I feel sorry (almost) for anyone who has never plowed with a mule...

My Grandfather had 5 acres in the backyard. He had a mule and manual plow...Not very different from those used in the 19th century... When WWII broke out my Dad had a farmer exemption from the draft. One morning shortly after graduating high school, he had a hangover and was plowing the "garden"... Mid-morning he told his father he was going to get some cigarettes and went to the recruiters office.... He always said that  he thought that -anything- the Germans threw at him had to be better than watching that mule's rear end all day...

I came along shortly after he came home. We lived with my Grandparents for a few years. I loved getting out and following him in the freshly cut furrows... He also had a buggy that his mule and later horse pulled... very 19th century... watching an equine produce road muffins is an educational experience that stays with one.... My Grandfather also had chickens who laid eggs everywhere... fun for kids to seek... he also would kill and clean them in the back yard for Sunday meals...

Sadly my kids never had that experience... But that was a world "Gone with the Wind"... like fog on a warming morning...

If you doubt my tales, remember "The future is already here. It's just unevenly distributed." You can see wisps of the past almost everywhere, if you look around...

 

 


stirrin' my brandy with a nail
Tom Waits is an American treasure.
I love Tom.
 Peter_Bradshaw wrote:
{#Heartkiss}{#Heartkiss}{#Heartkiss} 8>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>9
 
dito ^^
{#Heartkiss}{#Heartkiss}{#Heartkiss}  8 >>>>>>> 9
Love this and I'm not a huge fan but this is one of those songs that is about more than the surface subject matter. 
This does not work for me. Tom Waits has other tunes I like, but I cannot get behind this Mule..
 jrozzelle wrote:

My grandfather and I were driving around Talassee, AL, in 1975, where he grew up.  His family was in town for a reunion.  I was 13 years old.  He was trying to find old landmarks, not having much luck.  We passed a man working a mule-driven plow.  My grandfather stopped the car, got out, walked across the field, borrowed the plow and did a couple of turns back and forth across the field. 

 
Cool!!!! Thank you for sharing this!

My grandfather and I were driving around Talassee, AL, in 1975, where he grew up.  His family was in town for a reunion.  I was 13 years old.  He was trying to find old landmarks, not having much luck.  We passed a man working a mule-driven plow.  My grandfather stopped the car, got out, walked across the field, borrowed the plow and did a couple of turns back and forth across the field. 
Most annoying voice ever...
 cdysthe wrote:
Every time I hear Tom Waits I want to get high on cough syrup.

 
Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what's a heaven for? 
 kingart wrote:
Great song. But Waits's rendition is as annoying as a screwdriver scraping on a blackboard. And repetitious at that. 

 
{#Stupid}  Huh?
 kingart wrote:
Great song. But Waits's rendition is as annoying as a screwdriver scraping on a blackboard. And repetitious at that. 

 
He wrote this song brother. It's an original, not a "rendition".
Great song. But Waits's rendition is as annoying as a screwdriver scraping on a blackboard. And repetitious at that. 
 {#No} u said it best. Bridieboo wrote:
No.
 


No.

marvelous...  love it...
 
Man's a lyric genius.

Everybody in my church loves this song...
 
I just, for some reason, do not get this guy. I know so many people who absolutely adore his music... I'm not one of them.
Not really my cup of tea...
Someone please assure me that the whole album is not variations of this one song.
I enjoy much of Tom's work, but this... not so much.
Stop already
I wonder how many times he actually says, "Get behind the mule" in this song. Wow...
I've heard better. As a matter of fact, this is annoying. I think it should be better titled Get Behind the Mute. Waits wrote Always Keep A Diamond in Your Mind. This one is Never Had A Good Tune In Mind. 
 Misterfixit wrote:

Sting!  that would be "get UNDER the mule or get IN FRONT of the mule", depending upon how sick and twisted your disgusting, filthy, depraved, perverted mind, most likely already degraded with the onset of the Final Stages of Syphilis and years of acts of sex which even J. Edgar Hoover would not have performed!!!

I am going to pray for you and your soul. 

{#Lol}
 

A statement of a Catholic man - certainly no southern dude!

PS

Regarding your technical advice I admit that you obviously know better!

Was just asking.


 johnjconn wrote:
Before I die, I gotta go drinking with Tom Waits
A dirty bar, perhaps in New Orleans, with ugly stripers and aged Bourbon.
 
I prefer strippers, but to each his own. Then again noncoms in NOLA can be fun.
 Stingray wrote:

Get behind the mule...?

TITLE OF A PORN FLICK?

 
Sting!  that would be "get UNDER the mule or get IN FRONT of the mule", depending upon how sick and twisted your disgusting, filthy, depraved, perverted mind, most likely already degraded with the onset of the Final Stages of Syphilis and years of acts of sex which even J. Edgar Hoover would not have performed!!!

I am going to pray for you and your soul. 

{#Lol}
The aroma of 'outhouse' wafts the air as this is the soundtrack.

{#Good-vibes}{#Clap}{#Notworthy}

Get behind the mule...?

TITLE OF A SOUTHERN PORN FLICK?


This song fits my sentiments exactly on this Monday afternoon.
 LizK wrote:
Rather hear someone put his hand in the disposal. 
 
or hers...
Rather hear someone put his hand in the disposal. 
Every time I hear Tom Waits I want to get high on cough syrup.
 yodasan_magoo wrote:
Get behind the MUTE.
 
Funny, that's my usual reaction to Tom Waits. But I really enjoy this particular song for some reason.
Get behind the MUTE.
 haresfur wrote:
I own this CD so I have a financial incentive to enjoy it.  I like much of the old Tom but confess the CD is too challenging to me, although to me this is probably the most approachable track.  Guess I have to turn in my avant-garde credentials.{#Redface}
 
What about 'Hold On'? That's on this album and it's one of the most beautiful Tom songs ever.


I own this CD so I have a financial incentive to enjoy it.  I like much of the old Tom but confess the CD is too challenging to me, although to me this is probably the most approachable track.  Guess I have to turn in my avant-garde credentials.{#Redface}

I'm a big fan of Tom Waits, but somehow RP's playlist of TW doesn't hit me right.. anything from the album "Blood money", say, would do it, or almost anything from "Bone Machine".. 

 



Tom Waits is certainly an acquired and 'challenging' taste. He's a great songwriter and poet from the streets, but you surely have to be in a particular mood to get pleasure from his voice and delivery. With this number, my poor ears would much rather hear a better-sung cover.
 haretic wrote:
Tom Waits is outstanding, and this song is a 7 in my book.  My questions is: why, with all of the material that he has written and recorded, do we hear the same few songs of his so often on Radio Paradise?  I for one would like to hear more and different material.  It is as if RP is imitating many old FM stations, trying to make a "Hit" out of a particular song, at the expense of diversity.  My opinion, of course.  I suppose it would be a lot of work to come up with segues for a lot of different material...

 

First of all, I agree. Secondly you wasteth thy breath.{#Sad}
 Stranglersfan wrote:
A living legend, one of the most prolific, creative and interesting artists in history. Absolutely love all of his music.
 

Yea I'm with you on that.{#Yes}
A living legend, one of the most prolific, creative and interesting artists in history. Absolutely love all of his music.
Bought this cd in 1999 and it's one of the few from that era's stash which still sees daylight regularly. Kathleen Brennan deserves a lot of the credit for this album, IMO.


Love it! Now we need "I can't get behind that!" by Will Shatner
Can I stand to one side of the mule instead?  Would like to avoid any post-processed mule fuel. . .

Tom Waits is outstanding, and this song is a 7 in my book.  My questions is: why, with all of the material that he has written and recorded, do we hear the same few songs of his so often on Radio Paradise?  I for one would like to hear more and different material.  It is as if RP is imitating many old FM stations, trying to make a "Hit" out of a particular song, at the expense of diversity.  My opinion, of course.  I suppose it would be a lot of work to come up with segues for a lot of different material...

Tom is so eccentric and talented; love this.



Tom Waits needs laxitives...makes me wanna go 2
{#Puke}
mule —-> mute
 cafortier wrote:
Maybe I'm not sophisticated enough to appreciate Tom Waits, but I just can't stand to hear him.
 
give it a few more years?

I think of Tom Waits as a national treasure.
 jjbix wrote:
get behind the mule, . . no wonder this sounds like shit!!!
 
Welcome to my place,,,I can smell it ! {#Liar} # 8

 suebee3 wrote:
I just don't get it - sucko-barfo for me. {#Puke}
 
I don't get it either. And I don't get how this song averages a 6.7 while other Tom Waits songs average high 8s. It all sounds the same to me.

What is Tom waiting for? {#Stupid}
I just don't get it - sucko-barfo for me. {#Puke}
unified baby with a lemonade
i'll share my brandy with an angel
git behind the mule

who can argue with that ?
It's good to hear Tom Waits on Radio Paradise, but it seems the best of him does not fit the playlist. One wish though: "All the world is green" would mix in nicely.
I dig all the way to China
with a silver spoon
While the hangman fumbles with the noose, boys
The hangman fumbles with the noose . . .

Okay, now I see what my friends see in this guy.
get behind the mule, . . no wonder this sounds like shit!!!

Tom Waits simply RULES, everything I hear on RP from him I really dig.