Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Up Jumped the Devil

I have to admit that in my unemployment I have preferred some darker tunes. It seems to resonate with my existential frustration – a catharsis of sorts. This song was one of the first that “jumped” (ahem) out at me from a recent mix a friend made. Nick’s growl-y Tom Waits style delivery and the brutal lyrics make it a perfect companion for rain, clouds, and the under-the-surface angst of autumn in the PNW.

O My O My
What a wretched life
I was born on the day
That my poor momma died
I was cut from her belly
With a stanley knife
My daddy did a jig
With the drunk midwife

Who’s that yonder all in flames
Dragging behind him a sack of chains
Who’s that yonder all in flames
Up jumped the Devil and he staked his claim on me

O poor heart
I was doomed from the start
Doomed to play
The villain’s part
I was the baddest Johnny
In the apple cart
My blood was blacker
Than the chambers of a dead nun’s heart

Who’s that milling on the courthouse steps
Nailing my face to the hitching fence
Who’s that milling ’round the courthouse steps
Up jumped the Devil and off we crept

O no O no
Where could I go
With my hump of trouble
And my sack of woe
To the digs and the deserts of Mexico
Where my neck was safe from the lynching rope

Who’s that yonder laughing at me
Like I was the brunt of some hilarity
Who’s that yonder laughing at me
Up jumped the Devil – 1, 2, 3

Ha Ha Ha Ha
How lucky we were
We hit the cathouses
And sampled their wares
We got as drunk
As a couple of Czars
That night I swallowed my lucky stars

Who’s that dancing on the jailhouse roof
Stamping on the ramping with a cloven hoof
Who’s that dancing on the jailhouse roof
Up jumped the Devil and said “Here is your man and I got a proof”

O no  O no don’t go
O slow down Joe
The righteous part
is straight as an arrow
Take a walk
And you’ll find it’s too narrow
Too narrow for the likes of me

Who’s that hanging from the gallow tree
His eyes are hollow but he looks like me
Who’s that swinging from the gallow tree
Up jumped the Devil and took my soul from me

Down, down down we go Down we go Down we go
(The Devil and me)

Down we go down down down we go

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