For the final installment of my celebration of Tom’s incredible talent, I have chosen the song that makes me smile, shudder, feel sad and happy all at the same time. It’s the epitome of urban blues, jazz, beat poetry, paying homage to film noir, road movies, and still managing to stay so cool it melts your socks.
The first time I got to see Tom live was in London, November 1987. He was touring Franks Wild Years, but threw in a lot of Rain Dogs as well. For the most part, the audience were pretty subdued and static, seated, politely clapping at all the right times. I was so excited I couldn’t contain the groove, and when he started playing the rhumba version ‘Straight to the Top’ a couple of songs into the show, I jumped up and start dancing, shouting “Play it Tom, play it!” – that was a good gig.
Tom, I fucking love you; thank you for making such wonderful music, and for entertaining me for so many years, and thank you for being such an influence on my own creative spirit.
Well small change got rained on with his own .38 and nobody flinched down by the arcade and the marquise weren’t weeping they went stark ravin’ mad and the cabbies were the only ones that really had it made cause his cold trousers were twisted and the sirens high and shrill and crumpled in his fist was a five dollar bill and the naked mannikins with their cheshire grins and the raconteurs and roustabouts said buddy come on in cause the dreams ain’t broken down here now… they’re walkin’ with a limp now that
small change got rained on with his own .38 and nobody flinched down by the arcade and the burglar alarm’s been disconnected and the newsmen start to rattle and the cops are tellin’ jokes about some whore house in Seattle and the fire hydrants plead the 5th Amendment and the furniture’s bargains galore but the blood is by the juke box on an old linoleum floor and it’s a hot rain on 42nd Street and now the umbrellas ain’t got a chance and the newsboy’s a lunatic with stains on his pants cause…
small change got rained on with his own .38 and no one’s gone over to close his eyes and there’s a racing form in his pocket circled Blue Boots in the 3rd and the cashier at the clothing store he didn’t say a word as the siren tears the night in half and someone lost his wallet well it’s surveillance of assailants if that’s whachawannacallit but the whores still smear on and they all look like but their mouths cut just like razor blades and their eyes are like stilettos and her radiator’s steaming and her teeth are in a wreck now she won’t let you kiss her but what the hell did you expect and the gypsies are tragic and if you wanna to buy perfume, well they’ll bark you down like carneys…sell you Christmas cards in June but…
small change got rained on with his own .38 and his headstone’s a gumball machine no more chewing gum or baseball cards or overcoats or dreams and someone is hosing down the sidewalk and he’s only in his teens
small change got rained on with his own .38 and a fist full of dollars can’t change that and someone copped his watch fob and someone got his ring and the newsboy got his pork pie Stetson hat and the tuberculosis old men at the Nelson wheeze and cough and someone will head South until this whole thing cools off cause small change got rained on with his own .38 small change got rained on with his own .38