Song of the Day #2,808: ‘Way Down in the Hole’ – Tom Waits

wire_season_twoOne of the cool things about The Wire is how each season focused in on a particular subset of Baltimore citizens, even as the core cast remained largely the same.

Season One introduced on a special crime task force utilizing the titular wire to build a case against the city’s major drug runners. That group of cops and lawyers form the spine of the whole series. But the smaller universe of characters in that season were a group of “corner boys” caught between their criminal bosses and the police.

Season Two continues the drug storyline but shifts focus to a group of dock workers (or stevedores) embroiled in their own criminal activity. This is widely considered one of the least successful seasons (relatively speaking) because a couple of these new characters didn’t live up to the standard set by Season One’s lineup.

That said, Season Two proved that the concept could work well as a multi-season series.

As for the opening credits, the producers’ turned to Tom Waits’ original recording of ‘Way Down in the Hole.’

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 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.

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2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #2,808: ‘Way Down in the Hole’ – Tom Waits

  1. Dana says:

    I had always thought that season two was better than season one. Perhaps it was season three that was considered better? Anyway, I agree that season one’s song version is better than season two’s.

  2. Peg says:

    I think you had to work a little harder in season one to really get into the show; but after that first season we were hooked,

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