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Putnam County

This song is by Tom Waits and appears on the album Nighthawks At The Diner (1975).

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I guess things were always kinda quiet around Putnam County
Kind of shy and sleepy as it clung to the skirts of the 2-lane
That was stretched out just like an asphalt dance floor
Where all the oldtimers in bib jeans and store bought boots
were hunkerin' down in the dirt
to lie about their lives and the places that they'd been

And they'd suck on Coca-Colas and be spittin' days work
until the moon was a stray dog on the ridge and
And the taverns would be swollen until the naked eye of 2:00 am
And the Stratocasters slung over the Burgermeister beer guts
And the swizzle stick legs jacknifed over Naugahyde stools

And the witch hazel spread out over the linoleum floors
Pedal pushers stretched out over midriff bulge
And the coiffed brunette curls over Maybelline eyes
Wearing Prince Matchabelli, or something
Estee Lauder, smells so sweet

I elbowed up at the counter with mixed feelings over mixed drinks
As Bubba and the Roadmasters moaned in pool hall concentration
And knit their brows to cover the entire Hank Williams Songbook
Whether you like it or not
And the old National register was singing to the tune of $57.57

And then it's last call, one more game of eight ball
Berneice'd be putting the chairs on the tables
Someone come in and say "Hey man, anyone got any jumper cables?
Is that a 6 or 12 volt?"

Yeah, and all the studs in town would toss 'em down
And claim to fame as they stomped their feet
Now, boasting about being able to get more ass than a toilet seat

And the GMCs and the Straight 8 Fords were coughing and wheezing
And they perculated as they tossed the gravel underneath the fenders
To weave home a wet slick anaconda of a two lane

With tire irons and crowbars a-rattlin'
With a tool box and a pony saddle
You're grinding gears and you're shifting into first
Yeah and that goddamn tranny's just getting worse
With the melody of "see ya later" and screwdrivers on carburetors
Talkin' shop about money to loan
Palominos and strawberry roans

See ya tomorrow, hello to the Mrs.
With money to borrow and goodnight kisses
As the radio spittin' out Charlie Rich
Man, he sure can sing, that sonofabitch

And you weave home, yeah, weavin' home
Leaving the little joint winking in the dark warm narcotic American night
Beneath a pin cushion sky
And it's home to toast and honey, gotta start up the Ford
Yeah, your lunch money's right over there on the draining board

And the toilet's runnin', Christ, shake the handle
And the telephone's ringin', it's Mrs. Randal
And where the hell are my goddamn sandals
What do you mean the dog chewed up my left foot?

With the porcelain poodles and the glass swans
Staring down from the knick-knack shelf
And the parent permission slips for the kids' field trips
And a pair of Muckalucks scraping across the shag carpet
And the impending squint of first light
And it lurked behind a weeping marquee in downtown Putnam

And would be pullin' up any minute now
Just like a bastard amber Velveeta yellow cab
On a rainy corner
And be blowin' its horn in every window in town


Written by:

Tom Waits

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