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John Hammond performs "No One Can Forgive Me But My Baby" by Tom Waits


That’s a bad ass song!

Got Love If You Want It from 1992 was a spectacular album which introduced many people to the veteran troubadour of country blues, the great John Hammond.

The undoubted highlight thereon, was the song specially written for John by Mr Tom Waits.

This is one fucking bad-ass song! I can still remember the first time I heard this, and how much it totally blew me away!


Crack a mean whip, carry a big gun
Cast a long shadow till the day is done
Do ninety miles an hour down the Devil’s trail
Done hard time in a hundred jails
No one can forgive me but my baby
No one can forgive me but my baby
No one can forgive me but my baby

Now Jesus don’t know, Mary don’t know
Preacher don’t know, Momma don’t know
Daddy don’t know, my brother don’t know
St. John don’t know, St. Peter don’t know
No one can forgive me but my baby

I took a hundred dollars from a blind man’s hand
I slept with the whores on the burnin’ sand
Got twenty-seven children I’ve never seen
Got blood on my hands that will never come clean
I got long arms, tell big lies
Stole the pennies from my dear mother’s eyes
I’m tall in the saddle, about six foot nine
I beat up revenuers all the time
No one can forgive me but my baby
Oh, no one can forgive me but my baby

I got a mean temper, I’m a big liar
Broke all the laws, set the house on fire
When I stand before Jesus and he asks me to kneel
I’ll tell him maybe we can make a deal
No one can forgive me but my baby
No one can forgive me but my baby

I don’t pay no bills, I don’t say no prayers
Give back nothin’ and I take all dares
Stole a car and I got me a gun
If there ain’t no road I’m gonna make me one
Broke my baby’s heart and I whip my dog
I don’t say nothin’ when I meet my God
No one can forgive me but my baby
No one can forgive me but my baby

No one can forgive me but my baby
No one can forgive me but my baby
No one can forgive me but my baby
Forgive me, baby


-Tom Waits (1992)


“That’s a bad ass song!”
John Hammond tells the story of this Tom Waits-penned song from his album I’ve Got Love If You Want It.

Schuba’s
Chicago, IL
2/2/2008

April 27, 2008 Posted by | John Hammond, Music_Blues, Tom Waits, _MUSIC, _POETRY, _VIDEO | 1 Comment