Song of the Day #2,807: ‘Way Down in the Hole’ – The Blind Boys of Alabama

the_wire_season_oneA decade ago, B.J. Novak penned a MySpace post titled “I will watch The Wire when I watch The Wire!” aimed at all of the people — friends and strangers alike — who go on and on about how you can’t miss such an excellent show.

I’ve been on both sides of that equation, having blathered endlessly about the greatness of Breaking Bad, Friday Night Lights and many other shows, but also fatigued by the endless proselytizing by others about their own favorite — House of Cards, say, or The Sopranos and, yes, The Wire.

Well, late last year, on a 6-hour flight to Los Angeles, I finally gave The Wire a chance. I streamed the first four episodes, was instantly hooked, and recently finished out the series (which runs a tight five seasons). So now I, too, can join the ranks of the annoying “You HAVE to watch The Wire!” crowd.

I won’t do that here, but I couldn’t resist the opportunity the show gave me here at Meet Me In Montauk. The opening credits of each season, you see, feature a different version of the Tom Waits’ song ‘Way Down in the Hole.’ Five seasons, five songs… perfect for a theme week.

Kicking things off is the Season One version, performed by The Blind Boys of Alabama. If I were to rank each of these renditions, I would probably put this one in first place.

Season One is also arguably the show’s best, though I’d call it a toss-up between One, Three and Four. This season introduces the whole motley Baltimore crew — cops, criminals, politicians and lawyers — many of whom will be featured in the series’ entire run. They are all deeply flawed and beautifully real, and the relative anonymity of the actors really helps sell them in these roles (only Michael B. Jordan, of future Creed fame, was known to me when I started the series).

When you walk through the garden
You gotta watch your back
Well I beg your pardon
Walk the straight and narrow track
When you walk with Jesus
He’s gonna save your soul
You got to keep the devil
You gotta keep him
Down in the hole

He’s got the fire people
He’s got the fury
At his command
You don’t have to worry
Hold on to hold on to Jesus’ hand
We’ll all be safe from Satan when the thunder
When the thunder starts to roll
We got to keep the devil keep him on down
Down in the hole

That red horned lousy low life
Underneath our boots
Praise the Lord
I don’t know what it is
Two dollar
That demon meister
Three dollar
That prince devil
Just see if you can come up with a figure
That matches your faith
You say how much has Jesus done for you
And we got to go in with our
Hydraulic system and blast him out
People can I get an amen

All the angels
They start to sing
All about Jesus’ mighty sword
And they’ll shield you with their wings
People they’ll keep you close to the Lord
Now don’t pay heed to temptation
For his hands are so cold
You gotta keep the Devil
Keep him on down in the hole
Down in the hole
Down in the hole
Down in the hole

Well people I got to speak about something
Can I get an amen
Can I get a hallelujah
Praise the lord
Have mercy
The lord is a very very busy man
I do what I can
But Jesus is always going for the big picture
But he’s always there to help us out of the little jams too

Down in the hole
Down in the hole
Down in the hole
Keep him down in the hole
We got to keep the Devil
Down in the hole
We got to keep the Devil
Keep him on down in the hole

Down down down
Mighty devil
I send you down below my boots
Down down
Filling my life
With anger and strife
Go down mighty Devil
Find a place to live
Down down down

Note: This embed doesn’t seem to work on all devices. You can also click through to the YouTube clip right here.

2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #2,807: ‘Way Down in the Hole’ – The Blind Boys of Alabama

  1. Dana says:

    We watched the first episode of the first season, but it didn’t hook us in. At this point, like Breaking Bad and so many other series, I suspect the ship has sailed on the Wire. Too many great things to watch and too little time.

    Good theme song though…

  2. Peg says:

    Great idea for a theme week! I can’t get the song to play though

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