Song of the Day #3,054: ‘Union Square’ – Tom Waits

waitsHere’s my first Tom Waits song since February of 2013, when another track from Rain Dogs popped up as a Random iTunes Weekend selection. As usual, this is the first time I’ve heard a song from that album since that earlier post.

I’ve never paid much attention to Waits, though he’s clearly worthy of it. He’s particularly effective as a poet of the streets, a role Bruce Springsteen rode to much greater heights.

‘Union Square’ is a short, sweet glimpse at a very particular cast of characters in a very particular place.

Well time is always money
For the boys at Union Square
You can bust your ass till doomsday
But don’t forget to say your prayers
Someone’s got a wad on the backstreet
Sacc got a bran’ new slack
And your baby is handcuffed on the front seat
Sit right there, boy and you relax

I’m goin’ down down down
I’m goin’ down down down
I’m goin’ down down down
I’m goin’ down down down

Well they spill out of the Cinema 14
To that drag bar down the block
Best live show by far on the whole east coast
With a bank rolled up in your sock
She stand right there for your pleasure
Half Puerto Rican Chinese
You got to find your baby somebody to measure
I’m goin’ to get me some of these baby

I’m goin’ down down down
I’m goin’ down down down
I’m goin’ down down down
I’m goin’ down down down

Four in the mornin on a Sunday
Sacco drinkin’ whiskey in church
Half pint festival brandy
That boy ’bout to fall right off his perch
The guy in the sweaters off duty
Out in front on the welfare hotel
The guy in the dress is a beauty
Go all the way and I swear you never can tell

I’m goin’ down down down
I’m goin’ down down down
I’m goin’ down down down
I’m goin’ down down down

One thought on “Song of the Day #3,054: ‘Union Square’ – Tom Waits

  1. Dana says:

    The song shares a similar chorus to Bruce’s “I’m Going Down.”

    While I generally like and appreciate unique voices, Waitts’ is a bit tough to warm to.

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