Orange Claw Hammer

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FZ: "What ya got there Don...?"
CB: "'Um... just a... uh the lyrics of ...uh... those albums..."
FZ: "What's that...? From the Trout Mask album?"
CB: "Yeah... 'n Lick My Decals..."
FZ: "Why don't you ah... Do you wanna do a version of Orange Claw Hammer, live, in the studio...?"
CB: "Uh, yeah..."

The song:

Thick cloud caught
a Piper Cub's tail
A match struck blue
on a railroad rail

The old puff horse
was just pullin' thru
'N uh' man wore
a peg-leg, forever

I'm on the bum
where the hobos run
The air breaks
with filthy chatter

Oh, I don't care
there's no place there
I don't think
it even matters

My skin's blazin' thru
an' my clothes, in tatters
An' the railroad looked like a 'Y'
up the hill, of ladders

One shoe fell on the gravel
one stick poked down
An' grey of age fell down
on a pair of ears

An eagle shined thru my hole

Gingham girl, baby girl
passed me by, in tears
An' a jack rabbit raised
his folded ears

A beautiful, sage-brush
...Jack rabbit

An' an oriole sang like an orange
his breast full o' worms
An' his tail clawed the evenin'
like a hammer-rrrrr...

An' his wings took t' air
like a bomber-rrrrr!...
My rain-can caught me
a cup o' water-rrrrr...

When I got into town
odd jobs Mam?
your horse, I'll fodder

I'm the round-house man
I once... was ya' father

Little up t' road
a candy-striped barber pole
An' above it read a sign,
'Painless Parker-rrrrr'...

Licorice twisted around,
under a fly
An' a youngster
cocked her eye

God! Before me,
if I'm not crazy?...
Is my

Come, little one,
with yer little
Dimpled fingers,
gimme one

An' I'll buy you...uhhh...
a cherry phosphate
Take you down t' the foamin'
brine 'n water-rrrrr...

An' show you the wooden tits!
on the Goddess!
With the pole out...
...full sail!...

That tempted away
ya' peg-legged father

I was shanghied
by a high-hat,
Beaver-moustache man...
an' his pirate friend

I woke up in vomit 'n beer
in a banana bin
An' a soft lass
with brown skin...

Bore me seven babies
with snappin black eyes
An' beautiful
ebony skin

An' here it is, I'm with you,
my daughter-rrrrr...

Thirty years away
can make a seaman's eyes...
A round-house man's eyes...
...flow out!...

Salt water-rrrrr!...

Salt water-rrrrr...

Players On This Song

Records On Which This Song Has Appeared

Notes About This Song

In 1975 Zappa and Captain Beefheart recorded a KWST radio show for syndication, which can be heard in its entirety on An Evening With Frank Zappa & Captain Beefheart. During the recording they played "Orange Claw Hammer", a song that originally appeared on Trout Mask Replica, but without instrumental accompaniment. During the radio recording Beefheart sang the song, while Zappa accompanied him on guitar.

CC Clues In This Song