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Tom Waits — Jockey Full of Bourbon
Album: Rain Dogs
Avg rating:
7.7

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1437









Released: 1985
Length: 2:36
Plays (last 30 days): 2
Edna Million in a drop dead suit
Dutch Pink on a downtown train
Two-dollar pistol but the gun won't shoot
I'm in the corner on the pouring rain
Sixteen men on a dead man's chest
And I've been drinking from a broken cup
Two pairs of pants and a mohair vest
I'm full of bourbon, I can't stand up

Hey little bird, fly away home
Your house is on fire, children are alone
Hey little bird, fly away home
Your house is on fire, your children are alone

Schiffer broke a bottle on Morgan's head
And I'm stepping on the devil's tail
Across the stripes of a full moon's head
And through the bars of a Cuban jail
Bloody fingers on a purple knife
Flamingo drinking from a cocktail glass
I'm on the lawn with someone else's wife
Admire the view from up on top of the mast

Hey little bird, fly away home
House is on fire, children are alone
Hey little bird, fly away home
House is on fire, your children are alone

I said hey little bird, fly away home
Your house is on fire, your children are alone
Hey little bird, fly away home
House is on fire, your children are alone

Yellow sheets on a Hong Kong bed
Stazybo horn and a Slingerland ride
"To the carnival" is what she said
A hundred dollars makes it dark inside
Edna Million in a drop dead suit
Dutch Pink on a downtown train
Two-dollar pistol but the gun won't shoot
I'm in the corner on the pouring rain

Hey little bird, fly away home
Your house is on fire, your children are alone
Hey little bird, fly away home
Your house is on fire, your children are alone
Comments (146)add comment
 ch83575 wrote:
Wow. Tom Waits is 70! His oldest kid was born in '83.  Imagine having Tom Waits as your grandpa.
 
Great Grandpa even.
Heck, some of the people I know, Great Great even. (youngest Grandma I knew was 30)
Wow. Tom Waits is 70! His oldest kid was born in '83.  Imagine having Tom Waits as your grandpa.
I just realized @billg plays a different version of this on RP more often. Never heard the Tom Waits version before!
Bought the album somewhere in early summer of 1985. The same evening went to cinema to watch 'Paris Texas'. Nice memory. 
I just realized I can slowly sing along Squirrel Nut Zippers' Hell to this and it mostly lines right up.
Whoop! My day just got instantly better hearing this track. Thanks RP and more Tom Waits, please!
 Stephen_Phillips wrote:
Well why the heck not?  Its a witty remark - not 'ridiculous' at all.
And if you don't like funny remarks you should not be reading or posting comments here on RP.
However in your defence your second comment is spot on {#Yes}
 
I guess we just have different views on "witty".
No biggie; it's all pretty harmless compared to some of the stuff on these boards.
 On_The_Beach wrote:

{#Rolleyes} Too bad you had to add this ridiculous line.
Both Leonard and Tom were/are great, just different.

 
Well why the heck not?  Its a witty remark - not 'ridiculous' at all.

And if you don't like funny remarks you should not be reading or posting comments here on RP.

However in your defence your second comment is spot on {#Yes}
 jhorton wrote:
. . . Leonard Cohen couldn't carry Tom's jock strap.
 
{#Rolleyes} Too bad you had to add this ridiculous line.
Both Leonard and Tom were/are great, just different.
 tpa29970 wrote:
Yes, I agree.  Tom Waits' voice is {good, bad} and this version is eversomuch {worse, better} than {100 other covers of this song}.  True, true.  All true.

But what I really want to know is:  What's a jockey full of bourbon? 
 
It's a full two-hour movie crammed into a three-minute song.

See also:

" Small Change,"  got rained on with his own thirty-eight.

The Piano Has Been Drinking.

Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis.

Burma Shave. 

What is he building in there?

Alice.

Step Right Up. 

Chocolate Jesus.

And a hundred more.

Leonard Cohen couldn't carry Tom's jock strap. 
One of the great songs in the soundtrack to the movie, Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead.
 enkay wrote:
More wood block!
 
I think he's playing the chair in there! (You might ask, what's he building in there?)
Two pairs of pants and a mohair vest and one will pass.
 Here goes the fear, and hey little bird fly away home.
   My book collection and,  the picture you gave me.
 
Adds Value to the music scene.
More wood block!
How valuable, how vital was/ is Tom Waits in the whole underground music scene? This song, Step Right Up, Frank's Wild Years=best
well worth a quick look: 
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/03/06/magazine/wtwt-tom-waits-and-robert-frank.html 
Nice! Great all-time record!
No thanks. I prefer Always Keep a Diamond in Your Mind or My Old '55 to this. 
 
 tpa29970 wrote:
Yes, I agree.  Tom Waits' voice is {good, bad} and this version is eversomuch {worse, better} than {100 other covers of this song}.  True, true.  All true.

But what I really want to know is:  What's a jockey full of bourbon? 


Proclivities wrote: 
This is the original version of the song.  "Jockey Full of Bourbon" presumably refers to the drunk, disc-jockey character, Zack, played by Tom Waits in Jim Jarmusch's film "Down By Law".  This song is playing during the opening credits of the film.



I wonder if TW may have also spotted one of those decorative bottles that you'd see in basement bars, with like a mini-ceramic lawn Jockey holding his little saddle, and you twist his head off ("pop!") loosening the cork-neck, "pour me a generous lil' celebratory taste my good friend!"
10 for Tom
Ahhhhhhh. 

Hi Bill. This with a doubled-up shot of Nick Cave's Jubilee Street would be most magical.
I caught mr waits on Austin City Limits a while ago now. Actually a re-run of the original, probably a "best of" Austin City Limits, with a young very theatrical tom with a ciggy prancing around on stage. It did it for me.
{#Hearteyes} ..... this is OUTSTANDING 
Never listened to Tom before listening to RP...he's simply great.
ace.
 tuttle99 wrote:
Best singer/songwriter of the last 40 yrs. - a musical genius!  Wish I had half the talent in his left nut!
 
Well that's just nuts.  ; )
But seriously, I agree; Tom is awesome, and this is (arguably) his best album.
And, one of the best song names ever.
cool - Yea! {#Dancingbanana_2}
Everybody in my village bar is loving this
Love it. Groovin' to it.{#Bananajam}
Gloomy February is Waits time. 8.

Wow. As followed by Jockey Full of Boubon. Uncommonly good.


You just made my night playing this song! Thanks. Rain Dogs is my favorite Waits album.
Best singer/songwriter of the last 40 yrs. - a musical genius!  Wish I had half the talent in his left nut!
 audiophelia wrote:
Joe Bonamassa does an excellent cover of this song as well!
 
Yass yass...prefer Joe to Tom for thisong. John Hammond sr. does a great version too. 
 steady_steve wrote:
I've heard Bill do some great sets, but never one that made me feel obligated to log in and post - Ben Folds, Fred Jones into Baltimore by Randy Newman is genius.  And then to top if all off, a few songs later, Life's What You Make It by Talk Talk and right into the Killers.  I stand in awe (well, I'm actually sitting on the couch, but you know what I mean).  Oh and then as I am writing this - Tom Waits, Jockey Full of Bourbon - get out of my mind Bill !!

 
agreed. :)
I've heard Bill do some great sets, but never one that made me feel obligated to log in and post - Ben Folds, Fred Jones into Baltimore by Randy Newman is genius.  And then to top if all off, a few songs later, Life's What You Make It by Talk Talk and right into the Killers.  I stand in awe (well, I'm actually sitting on the couch, but you know what I mean).  Oh and then as I am writing this - Tom Waits, Jockey Full of Bourbon - get out of my mind Bill !!

 DoofusGeezer wrote:


Answer 1: A little heavier than he ought to be

Answer 2:  Headed for the wrong finish line 
 
Hi-lariaous...

This guy kills my mojo every time. Horrible.
 tpa29970 wrote:
But what I really want to know is:  What's a jockey full of bourbon? 

 

Answer 1: A little heavier than he ought to be

Answer 2:  Headed for the wrong finish line 
Joe Bonamassa does an excellent cover of this song as well!
 yanet wrote:
i like the los lobos cover of this one....
 
And I like the Blue Hawaiians' version. Moxy Fruvous, too.

i like the los lobos cover of this one....

One of only two people I've waited for at a stage door (Chicago Theatre, Franks Wild Years tour, around 1989). After all the celebrities left (the Edge, Elvis C.), he comes out, signs my program, says to the only other guy waiting with me, an older man, "The last time I saw you, you were on the coast." Then he walks down the alley next to the theatre to a waiting cab, a boom box under one arm, and one of those little plastic accordions under the other, and drives away toward the lake. Life immitating art?  I swear this really happened, so, maybe.


Tom's Music makes me happy
Down by Law is a very funny film. For sure a One To Watch! One of my favourites :))
 
Proclivities wrote:

This is the original version of the song.  "Jockey Full of Bourbon" apparently refers to the drunk, disc-jockey character Zack, played by Tom Waits in the film "Down By Law".  The song is playing during the opening credits of the film.
 


 Stingray wrote:
VERY TRUE: for the age-group 70+
 
True for people with good taste, regardless of age.
This bourbon's for you, Bill.  Cheers! 
 tpa29970 wrote:
Yes, I agree.  Tom Waits' voice is {good, bad} and this version is eversomuch {worse, better} than {100 other covers of this song}.  True, true.  All true.

But what I really want to know is:  What's a jockey full of bourbon? 

 
This is the original version of the song.  "Jockey Full of Bourbon" presumably refers to the drunk, disc-jockey character, Zack, played by Tom Waits in Jim Jarmusch's film "Down By Law".  This song is playing during the opening credits of the film.


I've said similar comments before, but this seems relevant:

Tom Waits is sufficiently weird.

 (Rated an 8, since last time I said something like that someone assumed I didn't like the artist)
 tpa29970 wrote:
Yes, I agree.  Tom Waits' voice is {good, bad} and this version is eversomuch {worse, better} than {100 other covers of this song}.  True, true.  All true.

But what I really want to know is:  What's a jockey full of bourbon? 

 
It's not a cover.

 james_of_tucson wrote:

Love him or hate him, Tom Waits is one of the most influential songwriters, ever. 

 

VERY TRUE: for the age-group 70+
Coffee and Cigarettes!

Just Iggy missing...
 calypsus_1 wrote:

Tom Waits by ~JSaurer
©2008-2010 ~JSaurer

...almost blue...
airbrush, water colours, 1994
 
Terrible picture!!

I dont understand one word he is singing, but i like the music!!
 InMyTree wrote:

Your loss...Quite literally by the looks of it.
 
Love him or hate him, Tom Waits is one of the most influential songwriters, ever. 

 federico wrote:

 actually, "incredulous" is an adjective.

Cheers,
the real grammarian

 
+1, incredulously  

Yes, I agree.  Tom Waits' voice is {good, bad} and this version is eversomuch {worse, better} than {100 other covers of this song}.  True, true.  All true.

But what I really want to know is:  What's a jockey full of bourbon? 


Tom Waits by ~JSaurer
©2008-2010 ~JSaurer

...almost blue...
airbrush, water colours, 1994


Great album, great song, and one of my all-time fave song titles.
 von_Hayek wrote:
God, I LOVE that song!{#Bananasplit}
 
I love that album.
Caught a show in St. Louis' Fox Theatre ( a beautiful venue) during the Orphans; Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards tour. An incredible performer - and the band was smokin'.
 midreaming wrote:
  To see and hear this guy live is to witness an earthly terminal for the current of genius that courses through our universe. Lightening bristles from the souls of his shoes.
Saw Tom saunter to center stage hunched over in a trench coat. Pulling handfuls of glitter from his pocket and throwing it over his shoulder,  he sang a mixed chorus and verse of this song and others from Raindogs through a bullhorn. Parts of the song sounded made up on the spot. If there's anything to be thankful for in this lifetime, one of them is clearly to have taken breathe and met the rising sun with the spirit of a living TW in the air.
 
Yep, saw him on the "mule variations" tour, in Stockholm, amazing concert.

Jockey Shorts full of Bourbon....you can just imagine hanging with Mr Waits for a week....and another week in a detox facility!
God, I LOVE that song!{#Bananasplit}
 jagdriver wrote:


Blue Hawaiians by a L-O-N-G shot!
 

Got that right!!!!!!!!!{#High-five}
 out_to_lunch wrote:
The word you're looking for is "incredible". Incredulous is an adverb used to describe an emotion, like "I was incredulous at the idea of...". Love,
The Grammar Nazi
 
 actually, "incredulous" is an adjective.

Cheers,
the real grammarian

 UltraNurd wrote:
I'll take the Moxy Fruvous version.
 

Blue Hawaiians by a L-O-N-G shot!
That's muuuuuch better, Bill!   {#Cheesygrin}
best TW cd ever!{#Roflol}
 ThePoose wrote:
My fave ax man: Marc Ribot!

 
You know it!

My fave ax man: Marc Ribot!
I caught Tom Waits in a coffeeshop in Amsterdam one summer evening, just before he started to sing he cleared his throat... Sounded like a young Frank Sinatra
tigerbeetle wrote:
I laugh along with those find it INCREDULOUS that Tom Waits could be accused of stealing sounds from anyone. He is the ultra-ultimate creative musical genius -- openly acknowledged as such by virtually the entire musical realm. The great part is Tom doesn't give a rat's ass if anyone thinks so or not.
The word you're looking for is "incredible". Incredulous is an adverb used to describe an emotion, like "I was incredulous at the idea of...". Love, The Grammar Nazi
Marr wrote:
I believe that there is a whole style of Russian singing that sounds a lot like this. It wouldn't surprise me if that didn't influence Tom to some degree. And that doesn't detract from his genius in my mind.
exactly - being influenced by and stealing music are entirely different things. the great Mr. Waits is definitely a creative genius on his own accord... :notworthy:
squidish wrote:
Is that Marc Ribot on guitar?
Yep! He played most of this record.
UltraNurd wrote:
I'll take the Moxy Fruvous version.
Probably the last decent thing they did. I remember seeing them open for someone forgettable when they moved from Saskatchewan to Toronto and before they had a record deal. Talking to the band afterwards (they were in the audience), they were great guys just looking for a break. I bought their indie album and it was in much rotation at home for many years. When they hit AM radio, they threw away anything original in their sound and did pandering crap like everyone else on AM radio. Sad really. Lesson there somewheres.
Is that Marc Ribot on guitar?
Absolutely stunning music. Total genius. If you don't get it then it's your loss.
Danny_G wrote:
Ditto. :puke:
Your loss...Quite literally by the looks of it.
pianocomposer wrote:
I can't believe this song is averaging above 8. It's barely a 3...the guy can't sing and the song seems to be about being drunk. Maybe this is an acquired taste or something. I usually turn off RP when Tom Waits comes on. ugh.
Ditto. :puke:
tigerbeetle wrote:
I laugh along with those find it INCREDULOUS that Tom Waits could be accused of stealing sounds from anyone. He is the ultra-ultimate creative musical genius -- openly acknowledged as such by virtually the entire musical realm. The great part is Tom doesn't give a rat's ass if anyone thinks so or not.
I believe that there is a whole style of Russian singing that sounds a lot like this. It wouldn't surprise me if that didn't influence Tom to some degree. And that doesn't detract from his genius in my mind.
:drunk: :cheers: :notworthy: :cowboy: :razz:
I'll take the Moxy Fruvous version.
Classic, classic Tom
Saw Mr. Waits at a college in winter of 1976 - me and a friend ran into him and a couple of his friends at a JoJo's (!) afterwards. He looked exhausted but he spent a few moments with us punk kids before announcing the night had got the best of him. Wish I remembered more than that - too much 70's I guess. :cheers: Oh yeah - listened to Bone Machine not too long ago - that is one amazing album. Listen to it when you get a chance. - Riff
...i totally thought this was a new track by !!!...
jpfueler wrote:
a kid I work with listens to a Mexican band that has a few songs that sound like this and other Waits tunes. Other songs are Red Evises like! quite the mix. I said a song sounded like a Spanish Tom Waits and he wrote down the name to get a few songs to listen to. The boy got mostly good tastes in music.
What's the name of the Mexican band and a few of the songs you've jotted down?
tigerbeetle wrote:
I laugh along with those find it INCREDULOUS that Tom Waits could be accused of stealing sounds from anyone. He is the ultra-ultimate creative musical genius -- openly acknowledged as such by virtually the entire musical realm. The great part is Tom doesn't give a rat's ass if anyone thinks so or not.
a kid I work with listens to a Mexican band that has a few songs that sound like this and other Waits tunes. Other songs are Red Evises like! quite the mix. I said a song sounded like a Spanish Tom Waits and he wrote down the name to get a few songs to listen to. The boy got mostly good tastes in music.
It's a 10!
I laugh along with those find it INCREDULOUS that Tom Waits could be accused of stealing sounds from anyone. He is the ultra-ultimate creative musical genius -- openly acknowledged as such by virtually the entire musical realm. The great part is Tom doesn't give a rat's ass if anyone thinks so or not.
ArbiterOfGoodTaste wrote:
Ever hear John Hammond's cover? It's awesome, as is the entirety of that album, Wicked Grin.
I said essentially the same thing recently re Hammond's cover of Heartattack and Vine and got absolutely RIPPED.
Sublime after Cross-eyed and Painless! This must have been what the Havelinas had in mind that weird Losing You drunken ditty of theirs... but nobody does it like Tom -- and ain't he a great hopeless drunk in Altman's Short Cuts?
Sadly, his recordings will live on. Bleh.
please make him stop singing
Mari wrote:
... there's a few up an' comin' on the LRC, doin' quite well, I agree wholeheartedly! :high-five: ...
I'll second , third & fourth thayt.
SpaceCase wrote:
We need a lot more Waits in the rotation! There's so many great ones I've never heard on here....but of course, any of his tunes are always welcomed...
... there's a few up an' comin' on the LRC, doin' quite well, I agree wholeheartedly! :high-five: ...
physicsgenius wrote:
Can't remember what song or artist it is, other than it was here at RP that I first heard it. This is obviously a direct ripoff of the song that goes "Heeeey, afterlife!"
One thing I can guarantee you, and that is you will never in your lifetime hear of Tom Waits ripping off anybody. It's generally the other way around, and he's taken them to court and won.
We need a lot more Waits in the rotation! There's so many great ones I've never heard on here....but of course, any of his tunes are always welcomed...
On_The_Beach wrote:
Tracks from Rain Dogs, Remain In Light, & On The Beach all in the same hour; life is good!
Totally agree! I can see John Lury, Tom and furious Ellen Barkin. Thanks, Bill!
Tracks from Rain Dogs, Remain In Light, & On The Beach all in the same hour; life is good!
...and I love the John-and-Yoko, By-way-of-Diane-Arbus album art. Sweet 'n' creepy! Oh, 10 for the song, go Tom, go!
fantastic, spooky, extraordinary - one of my favorite songs ever. Watch the movie "Down by Law" by Jim Jarmusch and you'll overstand.
Ahh, great stuff. Now I want to watch Black Books again.
Tom....fabulous stuff!
Hrrrmmmm...
michaelc wrote:
Tom is one thing unique
:yes: Hear! Hear! sandpebble wrote:
Art isn't always pretty.
:yes: Hear! Hear!
pianocomposer wrote:
I can't believe this song is averaging above 8. It's barely a 3...the guy can't sing and the song seems to be about being drunk. Maybe this is an acquired taste or something. I usually turn off RP when Tom Waits comes on. ugh.
I suggest you hang around and hear what you're missing.
I can't believe this song is averaging above 8. It's barely a 3...the guy can't sing and the song seems to be about being drunk. Maybe this is an acquired taste or something. I usually turn off RP when Tom Waits comes on. ugh.
:cheers:
Yep, Tom's one of the coyote pack too. Even though we mistake his howl sometimes for a growl.
I heard the Moxy Fruvous cover before I ever heard the original, and quite frankly, I like the cover by a hair. Nothing against the original though, it's still great. Now I know who The Transplants try to imitate. Very VERY badly try to imitate.
Sometimes you can not use words to express music. For Tom Waits it is just impossible.
Paper_Prairie wrote:
I used to be totally mystified by Tom Waits and how anyone could like someone that didn't just have a bad voice, he hardly has a voice at all. After seeing him on Austin City limits I was completely won over.
Art isn't always pretty.
I used to be totally mystified by Tom Waits and how anyone could like someone that didn't just have a bad voice, he hardly has a voice at all. After seeing him on Austin City limits I was completely won over.
physicsgenius wrote:
Can't remember what song or artist it is, other than it was here at RP that I first heard it. This is obviously a direct ripoff of the song that goes "Heeeey, afterlife!"
Your thinking of the Squerrel nut zippers. and this was years before them and Tom is one thing unique
frrisus wrote:
i've only ever heard the Moxy Fruvous version of this song (which is pretty rockin', BTW). i knew it was a cover of Tom Waits, but i had never heard the original. thank you RP! :)
It is nice to hear the original, but I think I prefer the fruvy version.
Kind of missed the song (was out of the room) but god, I love the title!!! :drunk: :lol:
I like this version, too, although I can't quite understand how it could be considered reggae, exactly.
Can't remember what song or artist it is, other than it was here at RP that I first heard it. This is obviously a direct ripoff of the song that goes "Heeeey, afterlife!"