Crossroads


Now, George was a good straight boy to begin with
But there was bad blood in him someway
And he got into the magic bullets
That lead straight to the Devilís work
Just like marijuana leads to heroin
You think you can take them bullets and leave Ďem, do you?
Just save a few for your bad days, well...

Well, we all have those bad days when we canít hit for shit
And the more of them magics you use
The more bad days you have without them
So it comes down to finally all your days being bad without the bullets
Itís magics or nothing
Time to stop chippying around and kidding yourself
Kid, youíre hooked, heavy as lead

And thatís where old George found himself
Out there at the crossroads, molding the Devilís bullets
Now a man figures itís his bullets, so itíll take what he wants
But it donít always work out that way
You see, some bullets are special for a single target
A certain stag or a certain person
And no matter where you aim, thatís where the bulletíll end up
And in the moment of aiming, the gun turns into a dowserís wand
And points where the bullet wants to go

George Schmid was moving in a series of convulsive spasms
Like someone in an epileptic fit
With his face contorted and his eyes wild like a lassoed horse
Bracing his legs, but something kept pulling him on
Now he is picking up the skulls and making the circle

I guess old George didnít rightly know what he was getting himself into
The fit was on him and it carried him right to the crossroads


Words by William Burroughs
Music by Tom Waits
©1990, 1993 Jalma Music Inc. / Nova Lark Music (ASCAP)



Produced by Tom Waits
Recorded by Gerd Bessler at Music Factory, Hamburg, Germany 1990
Mixed by Biff Dawes at Sunset Sound Factory, Hollywood, CA
2nd engineer: Mike Kloster

Tom Waits: Vocals, guitar and chamberlin
Greg Cohen: Bass
Gerd Bessler: Viola

Track 14 on the album ĎThe Black Riderí 1993
Time: 2.42

Itís track 5 on the bootleg ĎBlack Rider Outtakesí, where itís called ĎGeorge Schmidí. Itís the same take but without the beautiful chamberlin, and without that boost on Tomís vocals (a bit of echo, I think). But that version has an intro thatís been inexplicably edited out in the final cut. Itís more of the falsetto vocals and viola that also ends the song