AUK’s Chain Gang: Tom Waits “Buzz Fledderjohn”

Following on from last week’s selection of the wonderful Richard Thompson’s ‘Beeswing’, the Chain moves on to another of the great songwriters of our time, Tom Waits – but that’s not the connection. The track is ‘Buzz Fledderjohn’ (yes, a painful and tenuous connection I know), which is taken from the ‘Brawlers’ section of his three-part album ‘Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards’ that was released in 2006. ‘The Brawlers’ section of the trilogy contains rock and blues based songs. This song, regretfully, has nothing to do with bees, but does concern the mysterious figure of Buzz Fledderjohn who likes to keep inquisitive eyes away. It’s a typical Waits portrait of an outsider, an eccentric, someone on the fringes of society. In this case Buzz Fledderjohn seems to profile as the kind of person who ten years after this was released, would probably have been supporting Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign.

I stood on the roof of Stuart’s old Dodge
To get a better look at the Fledderjohn’s lodge
Bait shop pistols and ammo too
Nothing but books about World War II
Rottweiler, Doberman, a Pinkerton Guard
I ain’t allowed in Buzz Fledderjohn’s yard

In an unlikely turn the song later goes on to mention the Cliffs of Dover, but you’ll need to listen for yourself to find out how that plays out. It’s a great song that will more than reward your trouble.

About Clint West 325 Articles
From buying my first record aged 10 and attending my first gig at 14, music has been a lifelong obsession. A proud native of Suffolk, I have lived in and around Manchester for the best part of 30 years. My idea of a perfect day would be a new record arriving in the post in the morning, watching Ipswich Town win in the afternoon followed by a gig and a pint with my mates at night,
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