"Big Black Mariah" as written by and Waits Tom....
Well, cutting through the cane break, rattling the sill
Thunder that the rain makes when the shadow tops the hill
Big light on the back street, hill to ever more
Packing down the ladder with the hammer to the floor
Here come the Big Black Mariah, here come the Big Black Mariah
Here come the Big Black Mariah, I seen the big black Ford

Well, he's all boxed up on a red belle dame
Hunted Black Johnny with a blind man's cane
A yellow bullet with a rag out in the wind
An old blind tiger, got an old bell Jim
Here come the Big Black Mariah, here come the Big Black Mariah
Here come the Big Black Mariah, here come the big black Ford

Sent to the skies on a Benny Jag Blue
Off to bed without his supper like a Linda bride do
He got to do the story with the old widow Jones
Got a wooden coat, this boy is never coming home
Here come the Big Black Mariah, here come the Big Black Mariah
Here come the Big Black Mariah, I seen that big black Ford
Cut through the canebrake, oh yeah

Well, he's all boxed up on a red belle dame
Flat Blue Johnny with a blind man's cane
A hundred yellow bullets shook a rag out in the wind
An old blind tiger, on a bell you win
Here come the Big Black Mariah, here come the Big Black Mariah
Here come the Big Black Mariah, here come the big black Ford


Lyrics submitted by yuri_sucupira

"Big Black Mariah" as written by Thomas Alan Waits

Lyrics © AUDIAM, INC

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Big Black Mariah song meanings
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8 Comments

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  • +1
    General Commenti thought it was about a cop car...cop cars are usually fords, however, hearses are NOT fords...
    milk_and_honeyon September 05, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWhen I was a kid (in England), police cars were always called Black Mariahs. Which confused me, as they were always pale blue & white back then.
    Anyone got any ideas about the rest of it? I know a wooden coat is a coffin & would guess that "Benny Jag Blue" is a drug reference, but beyond that I'm stumped. How the hell does Tom Waits write these fantastic, evocative songs & nobody knows what they mean?
    morbid moragon June 01, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt's a paddy wagon - what we would call the police van, rather than the car.

    Man's on the run - "cut through the cane break". He's got a lot of serious charges against him, and he's going away for a while when they get him: "Got a wooden coat, this boy is never coming home".
    TedPikulon April 08, 2014   Link
  • +1
    General CommentFrom the "Black Maria" wikipedia page

    Black Maria may refer to:

    Black Maria, a slang term for a police van used to transport prisoners, originally these were horse drawn and so could take some time to arrive at a crime scene. “Black Maria” was a famous racehorse of the day, born in Harlem USA in 1826. The name was sardonically applied to the police carriages (which were also usually colored black).
    Black Maria, the name of the truck that stops to aid the lone survivor in the film The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
    Edison's Black Maria, a film studio created by Thomas Edison
    thujoneon November 20, 2017   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWell, it seems like this guy who's been drinking a lot of wine (box of Red Belle Dame?) and taking pills (Benny Jag Blue) went for ride in his sportscar and either crashed in the sugar cane and died or caused some accident where he's now going to jail. It seems like Big Black Mariah is a hearse, but Wikipedia says a Black Maria is a paddywagon. And one commenter below mentions that hearses are never Ford. So I think it's a man who's committed some crimes and got caught out in the countryside, and the paddywagon with its ladder and hammer to the floor done come take him away for good. He'll be wearing a wooden coat, meaning he'll probably be executed and put in a wooden coffin.
    thujoneon November 20, 2017   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBig Black Mariah is a slang term originating in New Orleans to describe a hearse.
    morris13on September 12, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBig Black Mariah is a slang term originating in New Orleans to describe a hearse.
    morris13on September 12, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentCanebreak is an area of land covered by thick canes.

    Red Belle Dame is slang for a type of wine.

    Yellow Bullet is a drag race car.

    Linda bride I think is a reference to a series of romance novels.

    Mmmaspirinon October 03, 2016   Link

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