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Step Right Up, Tom Waits

I’m a big Tom Waits fan, the man is obviously a bona fide genius.

You may argue (as my partner does) that his appeal is something akin to Marmite, in that it’s either outright love or overwhelming hate.  The middle ground does not seem to exist for Mr. Waits’s extraordinary and unique sound. Perhaps not unsurprisingly though, I love Marmite, so I’m sticking with genius…

Anyway, on a recent flight, I put on his truly fantastic 1976 album Small Change (possibly my favourite of all his records) and so enjoyed hearing “Step Right Up” again, that I ended up repeating it 5 times.

It’s a surprisingly up-tempo song for Waits, with a walking bass riff and a meandering sax, filling in behind Waits’s street seller\hawker\ con man, who’s trying to rustle up interest in the stuff he’s got for sale. He may or may not be wearing a big old coat, a beaten up hat and be holding a cane, but he’s obviously a silver tongued charmer from the old school, covering almost every possible angle of every possible item, for every possible punter… Something indeed for everyone.

Not surprisingly, some loony on the web has written out every single one of Tom’s wonderful words, which I of course have then stolen (and corrected in a couple of places) and pasted in after the YouTube link….

So if you don’t know if you like Tom Waits or not, sit back, click the link and enjoy the gravelly voice and verbal dexterity of one of the greatest poets alive today.

I give you Mr Marmite himself, Tom Waits….

Step right up, step right up, step right up,
Everyone’s a winner, bargains galore
That’s right, you too can be the proud owner
of the quality that goes in before the name goes on
One-tenth of a dollar, one-tenth of a dollar, we got service after sales
How ’bout perfume? we got perfume, how ’bout an engagement ring?
Something for the little lady, something for the little lady,
Something for the little lady, hmm
Three for a dollar

We got a year-end clearance, we got a white sale
And a smoke-damaged furniture, you can drive it away today
Act now, act now, and receive as our gift, our gift to you
They come in all colours, one size fits all
No muss, no fuss, no spills, you’re tired of kitchen drudgery
Everything must go, going out of business, going out of business
Going out of business sale
Fifty percent off original retail price, skip the middle man
Don’t settle for less
How do we do it? how do we do it?

Volume, volume, turn up the volume
Now you’ve heard it advertised, don’t hesitate
Don’t be caught with your drawers down,
Don’t be caught with your drawers down
You can step right up, step right up

That’s right, it fellates, it chops, it dices, slices,
Never stops, lasts a lifetime, mows your lawn
And it mows your lawn and it picks up the kids from school
It gets rid of unwanted facial hair, it gets rid of embarrassing age spots,
It delivers a pizza, and it lengthens, and it strengthens
And it finds that slipper that’s been at large
under the chaise lounge for several weeks
And it plays a mean Rhythm Master,
It makes excuses for unwanted lipstick on your collar
And it’s only a dollar, step right up, it’s only a dollar, step right up

‘Cause it forges your signature
If not completely satisfied, mail back unused portion of product
For complete refund of price of purchase
Step right up
Please allow thirty days for delivery, don’t be fooled by cheap imitations
You can live in it, live in it, laugh in it, love in it
Swim in it, sleep in it,
Live in it, swim in it, laugh in it, love in it
Removes embarrassing stains from Condo sheets, that’s right
And it entertains visiting relatives, it turns a sandwich into a banquet
Tired of being the life of the party?
Change your shorts, change your life, change your life
Change into a nine year old Hindu boy, and get rid of your wife,
And it walks your dog, and it doubles on sax
Doubles on sax, you can jump back Jack, see you later alligator
See you later alligator
And it steals your car

It gets rid of your gambling debts, it quits smoking
It’s a friend, and it’s a companion,
And it’s the only product you will ever need
Follow these easy assembly instructions it never needs ironing
Well it takes weights off hips, bust, thighs, chin, midriff,
Gives you dandruff, and it finds you a job, it is a job
And it strips the phone company free take ten for five exchange,
And it gives you denture breath
And you know it’s a friend, and it’s a companion
And it gets rid of your traveller’s checks

It’s new, it’s improved, it’s old-fashioned
Well it takes care of business, never needs winding,
Never needs winding, never needs winding
Gets rid of blackheads, heartbreak and psoriasis,
Christ, you don’t know the meaning of heartbreak buddy,
C’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon
‘Cause it’s effective, it’s defective, it creates household odours,
It disinfects, it sanitizes for your protection
It gives you an erection, it wins the election

Why put up with painful corns any longer?
It’s a redeemable coupon, no obligation, no salesman will visit your home
We got a jackpot, jackpot, jackpot, prizes, prizes, prizes, all work guaranteed
How do we do it, how do we do it, how do we do it, how do we do it
We need your business, we’re going out of business
We’ll give you the business
Get on the business end of our going-out-of-business sale
Receive our free brochure, free brochure

Read the easy-to-follow assembly instructions, batteries not included
Send before midnight tomorrow, terms available,
Step right up, step right up, step right up
You got it buddy: the large print giveth, and the small print taketh away
Step right up, you can step right up, you can step right up
C’mon step right up
(Get away from me kid, you bothering me…)
Step right up, step right up, step right up, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon
Step right up, you can step right up, c’mon and step right up,
C’mon and step right up

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