Tom Waits has probably been one of the most influential artists of my life; and when I say artist, I mean in the whole sense of the word. He is a musician, performer, poet, and a complete work of art as a person. So, this week I celebrate his impact on my life with some of my favourite pieces.
Today is “Step Right Up”; I first heard this song (on the album “Small Change”, which we will revisit this later week) in 1986, and it sealed my admiration of him as a poet. This is a great live performance from 1977, the lyrics are below, and I hope you enjoy it.
Step Right Up
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 goes in before the name goes on One-tenth of a dollar, one-tenth of a dollar, we got service after sales You need 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 filets, 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 contour 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, 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 traveler’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, the heartbreak of 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 odors, 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 bother 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