Oct 042010

Tom Waits hasn’t toured since 2008, but he emerged from his self-imposed cocoon on Saturday night for a San Francisco tribute to legendary Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti. The occasion was the Litquake’s Barbary Coast Award, presented to Ferlinghetti at the ceremony. Other performers included Patti Smith, Lenny Kaye, and, strangely, Winona Ryder. (via TwentyFourBit)

Amidst all the speechifying, Tom Waits puts to music an untitled poem from Ferlinghetti’s 1958 collection A Coney Island of the Mind. The title seems right up Tom’s alley; eight years ago he wrote a song called “Coney Island Baby” and 25 years ago he could have used Coney Island in any of his titles. The video below shows Waits recalling his jazzbo past, sitting at the piano with a drunken warble and a hard-luck tale. Marcus Shelby accompanies on double bass. Check out the clip and MP3 below (good audio, useless video) and then read the full poem. Apologies in advance to Lawrence; the original had elaborate spacing that didn’t transfer here.

Tom Waits – [Untitled] (Lawrence Ferlinghetti cover)


Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s [Untitled] (unofficially: “Fire Men”)

has its cookies to give out
which is a good thing
since its been a long time since
that summer in Brooklyn
when they closed off the street
one hot day
and the

turned on their hoses
and all the kids ran out in it
in the middle of the street
and there were
maybe a couple dozen of us
out there
with the water squirting up
to the
and all over
there was maybe only six of us
kids altogether
running around in our
barefeet and birthday
and I remember Molly but then
the firemen stopped squirting their hoses
all of a sudden and went
back in
their firehouse
started playing pinochle again
just as if nothing
had ever
while I remember Molly
looked at me and
ran in
because I guess really we were the only ones there

Cover Me is now on Patreon! If you love cover songs, we hope you will consider supporting us there with a small monthly subscription. There are a bunch of exclusive perks only for patrons: playlists, newsletters, downloads, discussions, polls - hell, tell us what song you would like to hear covered and we will make it happen. Learn more at Patreon.

  One Response to “Tom Waits Sings Lawrence Ferlinghetti Live”

Comments (1)
  1. Fabulous!

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>