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Tom Waits — Downtown Train
Album: Rain Dogs
Avg rating:
6.9

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1037









Released: 1985
Length: 3:48
Plays (last 30 days): 0
Outside another yellow moon
Has punched a hole in the night-time mist
I climb through the window and down to the street
I'm shining like a new dime
The downtown trains are full with all of those Brooklyn girls
They try so hard to break out of their little worlds

Well 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, can't you hear me now?

Will I see you tonight on a downtown train?
Every night it's just the same, you leave me lonely now

I know your window and I know it's 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, oh baby, they all have heart attacks
They stay at the carnival, but they'll never win you back

Will I see you tonight on a downtown train?
Where every night, every night it's just the same, oh baby
Will I see you tonight on a downtown train
All of my dreams they fall like rain, oh baby on a downtown train

Will I see you tonight on a downtown train?
Where every night, every night it's just the same, oh baby
Will I see you tonight on a downtown train?
All of my dreams just fall like rain, all on a downtown train
All on a downtown train, all on a downtown train
All on a downtown train, a downtown train
Comments (178)add comment
Not sure if this isn't the best version of this song, the original.
❤️🎶❤️
Brilliant.
Tom Waits = Poetry + 2(lyrical wit)
One of my all time favorites

10 ^_^
 Proclivities wrote:

Someone may be able to tell you [why Tom Waits gets played on RP and seems to enjoy such a following among.... professional musicians], but it would likely take a very long time.

 
Now, now.  Be kind.  

FWIW, this is one my favourite Tom Wait songs but I only have it rated 7.  
One of my few 10s. So glad I "get" Tom Waits.
Boy, Springsteen's voice sure has turned awfully gravelly.
 kingart wrote:
Get me Rod Stewart stat! 
Rod Stewart (pictured above celebrating his son's birthday) defended Wayne Rooney after his recent drink-driving arrest

DONE!
 kellipeter05 wrote:
Oh man, can someone tell me how "artists" like this get recorded? This is just terrible.
 
Someone may be able to tell you, but it would likely take a very long time.
So, there are folks who don't "get" Tom Waits. Why am I not surprised?
It's a hand drawn picture 

kcar wrote:

{#Roflol}{#Clap}{#Notworthy}

Cookie Monster doing drunk karaoke to boot....

 


Dear God make it stop!!!!!!
 rpdevotee wrote:
Bruce Springsteen meets the Cookie Monster—God help us...

 
{#Roflol}{#Clap}{#Notworthy}

Cookie Monster doing drunk karaoke to boot....
Bruce Springsteen meets the Cookie Monster—God help us...
I was going to rate this a 9 till I saw I already did that. 
Great music doesn't have to be professional and slick. Sometimes you just have to give in to the power and joy of raw emotion. 
One of the most beautiful love song. Ho, despair and joy all together! Thank's Tom, with your broken angel's voice!
Get me Rod Stewart stat!

Although this isn't bad. Appropriately wistful soulful earful.  Beats that Get Behind the Chocolate Mule or whatever thingie heard on RP occasionally.   
such a good piece of music {#Whistle}
Merry Christmas, Peace and Love
Oh man, can someone tell me how "artists" like this get recorded? This is just terrible.
"I was shining like a new nickel"   Life struggling for love, acceptance. As we all do.
 
I'm going to have to be that weird minority.  Tom Waits is soothing to me.  This track included.
The guitarist must be deaf.
 
 JanzieNL wrote:
Someone kill me - my ears are bleeding. 
 

 
I don't know either why this particular song by Tom has always sounded painful to me, despite I respect him totally.
Someone kill me - my ears are bleeding. 
 
I too was wondering why Buddy Holly sounds like Tom Waits. 

 
Buddy Holly Not !
not just a pic of Buddy Holly...I was hearing both songs at the same time. 
I'm sure Bill was doing his best to fix the glitch! 
Why the pic of Buddy Holly? C'mon Bill, sort out the gremlin:-)
 lerxst wrote:

If a man who can't sing can make a living as a singer, maybe I can be a professional golfer after all. 



 
Tom makes a living first and foremost as a writer.  His own recorded works have been accepted by a fairly substantial albeit niche (not a mass) audience is largely due to his abilities as a song writer, not as a singer.  If the songs sucked no one would have bought many records just to hear his mellifluous {#Laughing} voice, like they once did in the bygone era of Crosby and Sinatra who did not write their recorded tunes but were great interpreters.  

Of course, I quite often prefer the way some of these great writers with non-traditional vocal stylings (Dylan, Young, Costello, Reed, Springsteen, Verlaine and Waits) deliver their tunes over how others cover them. 
 Cynaera wrote:
Okay - I've finally figured out why Tom Waits drives me crazy.  I love his music and his writing. Sometimes, I even love his gravelly voice, but that's also why I don't like him.  That voice isvery similar to another voice in my past - attached to the hand that hit me when I didn't do something right.  Bruises were always prefaced by a husky, cigarette-shot voice raised in anger. Thank goodness I was given a chance to escape. 

Tom Waits can belt out a song, but sometimes I flash back to that time when I was married and trying so hard to be the best wife in the world... I'm fine now. I kinda wonder if my ex is even still alive - he had a knack for pissing people off. I can honestly say I wouldn't cry if I learned that he was dead.  So - Tom Waits is a double-edged sword for me. I love his perception and his words, but sometimes his voice makes me cringe inadvertently. Funny what sticks with us through time...{#Cheesygrin}
 
miss you so much, Cynaera...

everybody in my alien space craft loves this song... 
 Athyrius wrote:

Much like a dead skunk in the middle of the road... best avoided.

 
So true... I consider myself generous when I give Tom Waits' songs a 2.
 myersei wrote:
from wikipedia;

Waits has a distinctive voice, described by critic Daniel Durchholz as sounding "like it was soaked in a vat of 
bourbon, left hanging in the smokehouse for a few months, and then taken outside and run over with a car."

That pretty much sums it up.
 
Much like a dead skunk in the middle of the road... best avoided.
 ri_shelton wrote:
Was "Coffee and Cigarettes" scripted? If not, Waits is an a$#, and though I sometimes like his clever lyrics, he shouldn't count on his voice to make any money. Um, it is about money, isn't it?
 
I don't think he's been waiting tables or working in a cubicle for the last forty years, so apparently he's been able to "count on his voice" for income, despite your ignorance of his career. I'm not sure it's 'about money' though; for one thing, he doesn't allow any of his music to be used in advertising.
from wikipedia;

Waits has a distinctive voice, described by critic Daniel Durchholz as sounding "like it was soaked in a vat of 
bourbon, left hanging in the smokehouse for a few months, and then taken outside and run over with a car."

That pretty much sums it up.
How about playing "Ol 55"?

Much better than the cover by the Eagles.
A slice of urban poetry.    And sorry but Tom's original still beats the covers (ie Rod Stewart).
Shite.
The word that comes to mind is cheesegrater. {#Grumpy}
Excuse me, but this voice is ridiculous!
Was "Coffee and Cigarettes" scripted? If not, Waits is an a$#, and though I sometimes like his clever lyrics, he shouldn't count on his voice to make any money. Um, it is about money, isn't it?

To add to the "Cover Versions We Like" list:  I first heard this song done by Everything By the Girl on their Acoustic album.


 michaelc wrote:
Tom was first ( Duh )
 
  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Downtown_Train
 
Just goes to show that being first counts for zilch

Tom was first ( Duh )
 
  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Downtown_Train
I'm sorry just can get this guy, his voice is a real put off. Great lyricist, check out Holly Cole Temptation album, Waits song with a good voice.
Appropriate song for the HOBO (Tom Waits)
Tom Waits is good... BUT like many things, best in small quantities... Glad he's still around. I just can't stay thru a whole CD or concert... Just a good bit...in a small dose... Even at home, I'll have him on "random" so that It's a small dose.   OK-That's me... Your mileage may vary.


 januismer wrote:
Thought it was Oscar The Grouch.
 
{#Lol}

okay Bruce you have GOT to stop chain-smoking those Luckys...  {#Cowboy}
Thought it was Oscar The Grouch.
 deepwoodskev wrote:
HULK SMASH!!!!
 
{#Biggrin}  Ha! Exactly.

Of course this version of the song is a million times better than Rod Stewarts, just cause it's Tom, however, if a man who sounded like this was creeping me on the downtown train, I think I'd be rather afraid.  Just sayin!!  (Love you Tom!)
My coworker just said "Sounds like Cookie Monster singing this.  Isn't the song Rod Stewart's or Bruce Springsteen's originally?"

I explained that this is the original Tom Waits version.
Suddenly I wish I were back in New York... *sigh*  I love the Mojave Desert... but sometimes it's just too sunny for days like this...
Okay - I've finally figured out why Tom Waits drives me crazy.  I love his music and his writing. Sometimes, I even love his gravelly voice, but that's also why I don't like him.  That voice is very similar to another voice in my past - attached to the hand that hit me when I didn't do something right.  Bruises were always prefaced by a husky, cigarette-shot voice raised in anger. Thank goodness I was given a chance to escape. 

Tom Waits can belt out a song, but sometimes I flash back to that time when I was married and trying so hard to be the best wife in the world... I'm fine now. I kinda wonder if my ex is even still alive - he had a knack for pissing people off. I can honestly say I wouldn't cry if I learned that he was dead.  So - Tom Waits is a double-edged sword for me. I love his perception and his words, but sometimes his voice makes me cringe inadvertently. Funny what sticks with us through time...{#Cheesygrin}
 evansdad wrote:
An icon in the music business, but he really can't sing...
 
Neither could Louis Armstrong, Leonard Cohen, Carla Bruni, Milli Vanilli and me. and your point is....?

An icon in the music business, but he really can't sing...
Superb 10
 craigf wrote:
{#Confused}  6.6?

are you kidding?

this is about as close to GOD you can get without LSD!!

—-
craig
 
I can only pray that God does not talk or sing like this when I see Him in Heaven. Because then that will be Hell.
 midreaming wrote:
 What planet are you from that a blues song has to be sung by a celine dion or Johnny mathis like voice?
Have you ever been downtown after a long night? ..almost everybody's gone home. You stand there looking for direction. And it's the buzz of a street light ready to burn out that makes your feet move. What's that sound like to you? What's the brightest color shining off the broken glass at your feet? Is it like any flower you've ever seen? Have you ever seen a flower on the city streets that late at night? What would you give for a cab ride with a friend or a cup of coffee right now? You and Celine and Johnny go check that out and come back with a song and we'll tell you what we think of it.
 
wait.........huh?
 What planet are you from that a blues song has to be sung by a celine dion or Johnny mathis like voice?
Have you ever been downtown after a long night? ..almost everybody's gone home. You stand there looking for direction. And it's the buzz of a street light ready to burn out that makes your feet move. What's that sound like to you? What's the brightest color shining off the broken glass at your feet? Is it like any flower you've ever seen? Have you ever seen a flower on the city streets that late at night? What would you give for a cab ride with a friend or a cup of coffee right now? You and Celine and Johnny go check that out and come back with a song and we'll tell you what we think of it.

If a man who can't sing can make a living as a singer, maybe I can be a professional golfer after all. 


HULK SMASH!!!!
 johnjconn wrote:

Tom adds spice to life.


 

Exactly, and life needs spice so much
Thanks to Tom
Haha! Following Joni with Tom Waits! What a hoot!

My first '1-Sucko-Barfo'
 rjewyo wrote:


It was either Keith Richards or Marc Ribot...most likely Ribot....good arrangement and guitar, but Tom's
voice{#Yell}!!
 

actually it's GE Smith on this track...but Ribot, Keith Richards, and Robert Quine are on other tracks
 weevilkinevil wrote:
It hurts to listen to this.
 
sounds like it hurt him to sing it

It hurts to listen to this.
 westslope wrote:
You gotta admit that Tom Waits is typically an acquired taste.  And this one is almost like bubble gum pop.
 
I admit nothing...


Tom Waits by ~Peor-Imposible
Matias

Hacia rato que queria pintar una caricatura pero no tenia tiempo, ahora pude asi que aca esta, Tom esperas
.

You gotta admit that Tom Waits is typically an acquired taste.  And this one is almost like bubble gum pop.
{#Confused}  6.6?

are you kidding?

this is about as close to GOD you can get without LSD!!

—-
craig


 mcYammer wrote:
anybody know the guitar on this /Rain Dogs in general?
 

It was either Keith Richards or Marc Ribot...most likely Ribot....good arrangement and guitar, but Tom's
voice{#Yell}!!
 natural_tools wrote:
Cookie monster sings the blues. (But still fun.)

 Yes.

Not too often but sometimes.



I love Tom Waits and it is better than the Rods version, but even he could not save this sorry song!{#Eek}
 ca1vinandhobbes wrote:
For some reason I always think about Cookie Monster when I hear Tom sing...that makes me smile.
 
D is for Downtown, good enough for me!

Bruce...hands down the best rendition!
Cookie monster sings the blues. (But still fun.)
anybody know the guitar on this /Rain Dogs in general?
 khw77 wrote:
I think I like the original better.
 
That WAS the original -from Rain Dogs 1985
Please, no more of this one.

 lmic wrote:
I quite believe that Tom Waits, unlike Rod Stewart, has actually ridden the downtown train.

 

...and during the wee hours of the morning.
This is hilarious! Who else would segue from Joni Mitchell to Tom Waits? You're trying too hard to be anti-formulaic, Bill! But I love your rebelliousness!

I quite believe that Tom Waits, unlike Rod Stewart, has actually ridden the downtown train.

 paulpaar wrote:
Hot! 12.5, err, 14, err, 8.

Wifey past Boston liked tom. Me ? Bflo Boy. He's coo, bear.

He's cop

 

huh?
I think I like the original better.
ugly.{#Yell}
Coffee break time.
Hot! 12.5, err, 14, err, 8.

Wifey past Boston liked tom. Me ? Bflo Boy. He's coo, bear.

He's cop

yikes, that was bad
 suebee3 wrote:

I think someone sat on Joe Cocker.


 

I like Tom Waits and I like this, but that is funny!
 thewiseking wrote:
how can something so ugly be so beautiful?
 
Exactly.

+2 for outstanding songwriting; -3 for his, er, vocal talents.
Patty Smythe's is still the best version of this song :-)
 
I really like Tom's lyrics, but have never been able to like his voice.
Errr — this bloke can't sing. 

Maybe he could, once, but  - erm - it's like walking past a hopeless drunk in the gutter, feeling sorry for him, and thinking "yeh, but there is a limit, brother".

Ok, I don't mind this song so much, but his voice is really irritating!

I think someone sat on Joe Cocker.


one of the greatest ever lived!
great artist
great song

Lot's of great songs on this CD. I've got a friend who sings this song - she has a band - and of course her voice is a lot smoother than Tom's but give Tom is due, he is an original and a great song writer.
I like Tom Waits, but {#Puke}.   {#Puke}{#Puke}{#Puke}.
He sounds like Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street
I hated this song in the first 5 seconds. You never get a second chance to make a first impression...
Sounds like a belching Bruce Springsteen. And that's not a good thing.
i like TW but not this song - reminds me of a Cocker concert in the 70's when JC was at his most boozed - a 2 from me
i actually heard this song AFTER rod stewart's was on the radio ad nauseum. i really like this song now, as long as i can keep hearing just tom's song and keep rod's cheesy 80s video out of my head....


peterata wrote:
Tongue-in-cheek, I hope.
Unfortunately not. ca1vinandhobbes wrote:
For some reason I always think about Cookie Monster when I hear Tom sing...that makes me smile.
Now THAT is funny!
For some reason I always think about Cookie Monster when I hear Tom sing...that makes me smile.
Joni Mitchell followed by Tom Waits? What's next, Steely Dan followed by Leonard Cohen? Tryin' to start some fireworks here? :clap: Love 'em all BTW.
renegade_X wrote:
I cant handle this..AT ALL. I am not a Rod Stewart fan by any stretch, but his version was supreme compared to this original.
Tongue-in-cheek, I hope.
Did Tom Waits write this song? I heard it also by Everything But The Girl.
I cant handle this..AT ALL. I am not a Rod Stewart fan by any stretch, but his version was supreme compared to this original.
beautiful stuff
chyk5 wrote:
You rated Collective Soul a 9, so I'm not surprised...
I like Tom Waits and Collective Soul.
All I have to say is: PEHDTSCKJMBA
When it first heard this (back in the day) I thought Tom had sold out and gone all Bruce/Tom Petty. Not that there's anything wrong with those guys - I just want Tom to sound like Tom. But now, despite the lame covers (not that there's anything wrong with those guys etc etc), I feel rather fondly about this song. I guess I had to let go of my preconceptions about what Wait could do.