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John Hammond — Get Behind the Mule
Album: Wicked Grin
Avg rating:
6.1

Your rating:
Total ratings: 904









Released: 2001
Length: 5:45
Plays (last 30 days): 1
Molly be damned smote Jimmy the Harp
With a horrid little pistol and a lariat
She's goin to the bottom
And she's goin down the drain
Said she wasn't big enough to carry it

She got to get behind the Mule
In the morning and plow
She got to get behind the Mule
In the morning and plow
She got to get behind the Mule
In the morning and plow
She got to get behind the Mule
In the morning and plow

Choppity chop goes the axe in the woods
You gotta meet me by the fall down tree
Shovel of dirt upon a coffin lid
And I know they'll come lookin for me boys
And I know they'll come a-lookin for me

Got to get behind the Mule
In the morning and plow
Got to get behind the Mule
In the morning and plow
Got to get behind the Mule
In the morning and plow
Got to get behind the Mule
In the morning and plow

Big Jack Earl was 8'1
He stood in the road and he cried
He couldn't make her love him
Couldn't make her stay
But tell the good Lord that he tried
(Chorus)
Dusty trail from Atchison to Placerville
On the wreck of the Weaverville stage
Beaula fired on Beatty for a lemonade
I was stirring my brandy with a nail boys
Stirring my brandy with a nail
(Chorus)
Well the rampaging sons of the widow James
Jack the cutter and the pock marked kid
Had to stand naked at the bottom
Of the cross
And tell the good lord what they did
Tell the good lord what they did
(Chorus)
Punctuated birds on the power line
In a Studebaker with the Birdie Joe Joaks
I'm diggin all the way to China
With a silver spoon
While the hangman fumbles with the noose, boys
The hangman fumbles with the noose
(Chorus)
Pin your ear to the wisdom post
Pin your eye to the line
Never let the weeds get higher
Than the garden
Always keep a sapphire in your mind
Always keep a diamond in your mind
(Chorus)
Comments (97)add comment
I was disliking this until I decided that it is a kind of mantra...
not that I really want to hear it again soon, but it may end up as an earworm in a long run...
 pinto wrote:

It sounds as if he's trying to sound like Tom Waits rather than trying to be himself.
 
? Are you familiar with his work? He sounds like himself to me. The only thing that's not typical is the bass sax.
 Canadese wrote:
John Hammond is along established blues singer. This album singing mostly Tom Waits music is an interesting concept. Tom Waits is an acquired taste. If you haven't got it yet, your missing something.

Proclivities wrote:


I prefer Tom's versions.
 
Except for Midnight Train I prefer covers of Tom Waits's songs. He's too poor of a singer to do them justice. Ever since Blue Valentine he's become too much of an acquired taste for me. But yeah, when's my next album coming out...
 Verpeiler wrote:
Great, now I want to hear Tom Waits version and I don´t even like Tom Waits. Or, do I?

{#Ask} 
 
It sounds as if he's trying to sound like Tom Waits rather than trying to be himself.
Well I like his blues style. It’s a good cover, but needs more than his voice to carry it off well. This doesn’t quite make it to a great mark, I’d say passable but not much more. Soz JH. 5/10
repetitive, repetitive, repetitive.
 Canadese wrote:
John Hammond is along established blues singer. This album singing mostly Tom Waits music is an interesting concept. Tom Waits is an acquired taste. If you haven't got it yet, your missing something.
 
I prefer Tom's versions.
 sfyi2001 wrote:
Does it get any worse than this shit? !
 Your whinging.
Hammond doesn't make this his own. So why bother?
 peregrin wrote:
Make it stop, my ears are bleeding
 
I have an idea don’t listen to RP
Any relation to the John Hammond from Jurassic Park?
John Hammond is along established blues singer. This album singing mostly Tom Waits music is an interesting concept. Tom Waits is an acquired taste. If you haven't got it yet, your missing something.
Make it stop, my ears are bleeding
Does it get any worse than this shit? !
 alcolp96277 wrote:
WTF? These lyrics are only a bit harder to learn than Daft punk Around the world.

 
Really, have you gotten them all committed to memory?  Maybe you can teach Tom Waits how to write lyrics.  This cover doesn't do much for me though.
 Hasan wrote:
You're boring me to death

 
You zombored?
WTF? These lyrics are only a bit harder to learn than Daft punk Around the world.
You're boring me to death
John Hammond:  (singing) "you gotta get behind the mule..."
Tom Waits:  (in a "producer" voice) " No, No, NO!  You need to sound more like me dammit!  Try it again John." 
I make myself sit through it so I can enjoy how much better I feel when it's finally over.

Interesting, Apparently Tom Waits produced this version - maybe that's one reason why it's not as different as some here would like.

From AllMusic: "2001's Wicked Grin is the artist's most daring musical departure and arguably greatest achievement to date. Mining the rich Tom Waits catalog for 12 of its 13 tracks (the closing is a traditional gospel tune) and bringing Waits himself along as producer has resulted in a stunning collection that stands as one of the best in Hammond's bulging catalog. Never a songwriter, the singer/guitarist/harmonica bluesman has maintained a knack for picking top-notch material from the rich blues tradition without resorting to the hoary, over-covered classics of the genre. It's that quality that transforms these tunes into Hammond songs, regardless of their origin"


It's been often commented that "a cover should add smth to the original".  Nice rendition but doesn't pass the novelty test.  Give me Tom Waits, please
Agree, I now know I have to get behind the mule..
Blah Blah Blah.. 
Apt name for the title.  But could you please tell me one more time what I have to get behind?  Because clearly he didn't say it enough times..
{#Beat} 
I ain't got no steenkin' mule, and I hate mornin's. {#Wall}
Bzzt thanks for playing. The worst thing you can say about a cover is "it's unecessary". Is is it necessary to cover this if you're just sanding off Waits' unsandable edges? Nope.
 Jackson_Feelgood wrote:
John Hammond is a legend as is Tom Waits. This is a fantastic album that I can highly recommened if you like the genre and the Artists.

 
John's TW covers are as good as the originals (possibly excepting this), but I don't know his work outside of Tom's shadow. Any recs?
Exactly this am I planning - but it will be tonight,...I hope!
Halfway thru I decided it was Cesar Rojas singing. Noop.
 Cynaera wrote:
Last time I got behind the mule, I ended up with a concussion and a mouth full of.....

Never mind.

I do love this song, though...
 

miss you so much, Cynaera...

we be dancing like bowlegged gypsy muleskinners...
 
Not bad, but I'd like to hear James McMurtry doing this track, his baritone might fit better.
Fewer Tom Waits covers.  More Tom Waits.
 RedGuitar wrote:
Had the pleasure to see the man perform with just his voice, an acoustic guitar, and a harmonica (blues harp).  Amazing bluesman!

 
Lucky man. (I'm envious)  BTW Have you evr witnessed Taj Mahal solo live at 10 feet?  Bliss.
Had the pleasure to see the man perform with just his voice, an acoustic guitar, and a harmonica (blues harp).  Amazing bluesman!
"Stirring my brandy with a nail." I love that.
I don't want to get behind a mule,,,,it can get kinda messy if you dont step carefully
Like !!  {#Guitarist}


Is there any influence in music and design? John Hiatt's expression is what he feels as he hears this.
 Jackson_Feelgood wrote:

What you need to do is go turn on TOP 40 commercial radio. That should suit you just fine I imagine !
 
{#Lol}  Too true!
 rsfc_carp wrote:
I'll be back a little later guys; I think there's something I ought to be doing right now, but
I can't quite remember what it was.

{#Whipit} 
 
What you need to do is go turn on TOP 40 commercial radio. That should suit you just fine I imagine !
John Hammond is a legend as is Tom Waits. This is a fantastic album that I can highly recommened if you like the genre and the Artists.
I PSD'd out of here—only to be dumped back into after the "something different" ended. I wasn't happy about it.
 RabbitEars wrote:
good album, all the way around
 
 
Totally agree.  At first it was challenging for me to get into, then it REALLY grew on me.  Thumbs up!
Get behind the mule, already!
good album, all the way around
 
 TerryS wrote:
Needs more mulebell.
 
Ha ha ha ha ha!!!!


Needs more mulebell.
 Cynaera wrote:
Ooo - I have a Robert Johnson album. Vinyl.  Wonder if it's a collector's item....   I'll be checking into that documentary - thanks, Otomi!
 
You're welcome, Cy. I learned a bit about Robert Johnson's life from the documentary. The information makes his music all the more meaningful and enjoyable.
Nice bluesy guitar, but the song is just too monotonous for me.

Apparently one needs to get behind the mule. 
I still prefer the Waits original, but Hammond Jr. does better Tom covers than most do. Having Larry Taylor and other Waits collaborators on hand doesn't hurt.
 Otomi wrote:
John Hammond is the guy who made the documentary The Search for Robert Johnson. He plays some mean blues on it. Check it out.
 
Ooo - I have a Robert Johnson album. Vinyl.  Wonder if it's a collector's item....   I'll be checking into that documentary - thanks, Otomi!

Last time I got behind the mule, I ended up with a concussion and a mouth full of.....

Never mind.

I do love this song, though...
Had high hopes for this and then it just got unbearably repetitive. 
No. Just no.
The John Hammond who stared Dylan's carreer was John Hammond Sr., his father.
 bachbeet wrote:
I first knew Hammond as a producer.  He launched a lot of careers including Dylan's.  I knew he was a bluesman/musician but had really not heard much of his own material.  I like this one.
 
The guy who "discovered" Dylan was John Hammond, Sr. This is his son, John Hammond, Jr. Nice bio on AllMusic:

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/john-hammond-jr-p358/biography

I'll be back a little later guys; I think there's something I ought to be doing right now, but
I can't quite remember what it was.

{#Whipit} 
I first knew Hammond as a producer.  He launched a lot of careers including Dylan's.  I knew he was a bluesman/musician but had really not heard much of his own material.  I like this one.
John Hammond is the guy who made the documentary The Search for Robert Johnson. He plays some mean blues on it. Check it out.
Haven't heard this in a looooong time, thanks.
For the nay-sayers out there, the album was produced by Tom Waits. Really good collection of Tom Waits songs done by a different artist.

 Shesdifferent wrote:

I like it, just a little too repetitive in general. Would love to hear Rod Stewart doing Tom Waits....OMG  eeeuuwww (Not a latter Stewart fan)
 
look up "Downtown Train - Rod Stewart"  Steward made the song a hit, but the Waits original is old enough to not be the gritty Waits we know now.

 Shesdifferent wrote:

I like it, just a little too repetitive in general. Would love to hear Rod Stewart doing Tom Waits....OMG  eeeuuwww (Not a latter Stewart fan)
 
Rod the mod covered Downtown Train
 Shesdifferent wrote:

I Would love to hear Rod Stewart doing Tom Waits....OMG  eeeuuwww (Not a latter Stewart fan)
 

You probably already have without knowing it - Downbound Train.
 shaggenstein wrote:
Why play a cover of this song, it's like playing Rod Stewart's cover of Tom Waits. Not many people can do justice to a Tom Waits tune.
 
I like it, just a little too repetitive in general. Would love to hear Rod Stewart doing Tom Waits....OMG  eeeuuwww (Not a latter Stewart fan)
Nice tune.  Thanks Radio Paradise for helping me find another great Blues man!
 skyguy wrote:

there are very few people with better blues credentials than JH BTW Guess who produced this album?

 
Skyguy is right Hammonds father was a legend and John grew up around the "greats" certainly no wonder why he is so popular with his peers. Who else can say they had Hendrix and Clapton playing with them at same time, would have loved to see that. Oh and it was Tom that produced the album. Can you imagine getting up and hooking up to a mule in the morning to plow a field? My father did it and told me all about it, what its like to hit a root or rock with the plow, man thats the blues.


STRONG 8.

Had I heard the whole song, it'd probably rate higher.

JH *IS* the blues.
Great, now I want to hear Tom Waits version and I don´t even like Tom Waits. Or, do I?

{#Ask} 

Kinda catchy...
maryann wrote:
I'm sorry, but this song reminds me of that awful "fake blues" band in the movie "Ghost World."

there are very few people with better blues credentials than JH BTW Guess who produced this album?

This makes me wanna stop Radio Paradise and put in my copy of Tom Wait's Mule Variations. Just hoping there's some Tom Waits coming up soon!
Ho-hum epitomized.
shaggenstein wrote:
Why play a cover of this song, it's like playing Rod Stewart's cover of Tom Waits.
It's like playing Rod Stewart's cover of *anybody.* Actually there's nothing worse than when he did... (click here) Watch him feel what he feels.
Tom Waits is the man for the job, every time.
maryann wrote:
I'm sorry, but this song reminds me of that awful "fake blues" band in the movie "Ghost World."
Hah, that's exactly what I was thinking. I was wondering if he ever had to get behind a mule, and if not what is he singing about.
The song is so simple that I really think only Tom himself can sell it. There are better songs of his to cover.
Surprised! I completely forgot this song was on this cd. I guess it is forgettable. Sure prefer Tom's version.
shaggenstein wrote:
Not many people can do justice to a Tom Waits tune.
Tom Waits is a one of my gods. I'm quite a religious person. This is sacrilgious.
maryann wrote:
I'm sorry, but this song reminds me of that awful "fake blues" band in the movie "Ghost World."
BLUESHAMMER! One of the funniest things ever! This cover is a little better than that. A little.
What happened to the rest of the lyrics? :roll: Boring.
I like
I'm sorry, but this song reminds me of that awful "fake blues" band in the movie "Ghost World."
A decent cover of a great Tom Waits song... as are the rest of the songs on the record. The original would be way better though.
Why play a cover of this song, it's like playing Rod Stewart's cover of Tom Waits. Not many people can do justice to a Tom Waits tune.
Hey, does anyone know where i\'m supposed to go in the morning? Is there a draft animal of some sort involved? Please help!
Time to change the channel!
Hammond does Waits - similar voice but a little less gravely. Enjoyable listening but may grate on some people\'s nerves with the chorus repeated over and over.
I just hate this song. Take it away, please! It drones on and on. That mule.
Stop teasing us with Tom Waits covers. No matter how good they are, and this album is great, there is only one Tom. Please play the originals occasionally so people will no why everone from John Hammond to Bruce Springsteen to countless others have covered his tunes.
Excellent Tom Waits song! Trivia: As for the meaning of the title, I seem to remember hearing it as part of an old folk tale when I was a kid. I can\'t remember exactly how it goes, but the idea is to humble a common farmer who has delusions of greatness. The last line goes something like this: \"Well, you may dream of being the owner of a great plantation with servants in the fields, but the reality of the situation is: If you want bread on the table and roof over your head, you gotta get behind the mule in the morning and plow.\" ;)