"Just the Right Bullets" as written by and Tom Waits....
There is a light in the forest
There is a face in the tree
I'll pull you out of the chorus
And the first one's always free

You can never go hunting
With just a flintlock and a hound
You won't go home with a bunting
If you blow a hundred rounds

It takes much more than wild courage
Or you'll hit just the tattered clouds
You must have just the right bullets
And the first one's always free

You must be careful in the forest
Broken glass and rusty nails
If you're to bring back something for us
I have bullets for sale

Why be a fool when you can chase away
Your blind and your gloom
I have blessed each one of these bullets
And they shine just like a spoon

To have sixty silver wishes
Is a small price to pay
They'll be your private little fishes
And they'll never swim away

I just want you to be happy
That's my only wish
I'll fix your wagon and your musket
And the spoon will have his dish

And I shudder at the thought of your
Poor empty hunter's pouch
So I'll keep the wind from your barrel
And bless the roof of your house


Lyrics submitted by archmastermind, edited by Mellow_Harsher

"Just the Right Bullets" as written by Thomas Alan Waits

Lyrics © Peermusic Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group

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Just the Right Bullets song meanings
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5 Comments

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  • 0
    General Commentwow! the devil trying to cheat on the main character of the play/album. this song scares me! i'd like to know a bit more about all the Black Rider album as a whole. so far, i went quite deep into Franks Wild Years, but only found out recently that the Black Rider was conceived in a similar way!
    PiKueloon June 25, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMaann it reminds me of like 20's new york bars and alleyways, just the meean jazzy stuff, then the fast bits are like being chased in the forest, creeeeepy
    iainroboton August 10, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThere are definitely a lot of heroin references in the album. There's also a rather sick reference to the accident when William Burroughs (who was involved in making it & even sings) shot his wife dead while playing William Tell. This is pretty much what happens in The Black Rider - the Devil peddles his magic bullets but instead of winning the shooting contest, they kill the heroine.
    morbid moragon May 01, 2009   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI don't think this is about Heroin! Let's stick to the story of the Black Rider as written in the liner notes: The father of our hero's love interest declares he cannot have her hand in marriage unless he proves himself as a hunter. our hero goes into the forest to hunt but turns out to be a rubbish hunter and doesn't bring anything back for the pot.

    The Devil then appears before him and offers him these magic bullets (silver fishes) and persuades him to part with his soul for them, bribing him by letting him have the first one for free which he manages to successfully use for his first kill. He then parts with his soul for the rest of the bullets so that he can prove his prowess and to win the object of his desire's affection and the Father's approval.

    It's very Faustian as a morality tail illustrating how any deal made with Satan ultimately comes at a high price/or ransom that is only payable through Death/Madness.

    The instrumental interludes in this song are incredibly evocative, conjuring up vivid imagery of Bones, Guns and Spaghetti Westerns.
    BarnabyHugheson October 15, 2015   Link
  • -2
    General CommentIf I read the liner notes correctly, this song is actually about a heroin dealer/addiction.
    killridemedlyon August 31, 2007   Link

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