Tom Waits

Tom Waits

God"s Away On Business

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My Gravelly Voice

There's no one really in show business in my family but there were two relatives who had an effect on me very young and shaped me in some way. They were Uncle Vernon and Uncle Robert. I always hated the sound of my voice when I was a kid. I always wanted to sound more like my Uncle Vernon, who had a raspy, gravelly voice. Everything Uncle Vernon said sounded important, and you always got it the first time because you wouldn't dare ask him to repeat it.Eventually, I learned that Uncle Vernon had had a throat operation as a kid and the doctors had left behind a small pair of scissors and gauze when they closed him up. Years later at Christmas dinner, Uncle Vernon started to choke while trying to dislodge an errant string bean, and he coughed up the gauze and the scissors. That's how Uncle Vernon got his voice, and that's how I got mine

Hold On

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas Card

hey Charley I'm pregnant
and living on 9-th street
right above a dirty bookstore
off cuclid avenue
and I stopped taking dope
and I quit drinking whiskey
and my old man plays the trombone
and works out at the track.
and he says that he loves me
even though its not his baby
and he says that he'll raise him up
like he would his own son
and he gave me a ring
that was worn by his mother
and he takes me out dancin
every saturday nite.
and hey Charley I think about you
everytime I pass a fillin' station
on account of all the grease
you used to wear in your hair
and I still have that record
of little anthony & the imperials
but someone stole my record player
how do you like that?
hey Charley I almost went crazy
after mario got busted
so I went back to omaha to
live with my folks
but everyone I used to know
was either dead or in prison
so I came back in minneapolis
this time I think I'm gonna stay.
hey Charley I think I'm happy
for the first time since my accident
and I wish I had all the money
that we used to spend on dope
I'd buy me a used car lot
and I wouldn't sell any of em
I'd just drive a different car
every day dependin on how I feel.
hey Charleyfor chrissakes
do you want to know
the truth of it?I don't have a husband
he don't play the trombone
and I need to borrow money
to pay this lawyer
and Charley, heyI'll be eligible for parole
come valentines day.

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"On Sundays, we'd always visit Uncle Robert, who was the organist at a methodist church in La Verne, California. Uncle Robert had a pipe organ in his house that went right through the roof. When he would play he would smear all the notes together like hot melted crayons and the whole house would shake.I remember his house was a complete mess; his clothes were everywhere, his bed was never made. "Now this is show business," I thought to myself. I asked my mom why I couldn't keep my room like Uncle Robert's, and she said, "Tom, your Uncle Robert is blind."
 
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