The Baal Shem Tov, or Besht —  the founder of Chasidism — 
met the soul of the Messiah during an ascent to heaven. 
The Besht asked him, "When will the Master come?" 
The Messiah answered, "When your wellsprings break forth to the outside!" 
(from a letter written by the Besht to his brother-in-law about one of his soul ascents) 

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Jockey Full of Bourbon

I love the Moshav Band, and I used to frequent their shows in Pico Robertson and at the Mint when I lived in LA. At one of those shows I bought a copy of their album Misplaced. After listening to it a few dozen times, I noticed some oddities in their cover of Tom Waits' Jockey Full of Bourbon.

It turns out the Moshav Band's cover is bowdlerized. It took me another dozen listens to hear what was going on, but here are the changes:

Edna Million in a drop dead suit
changed to:
Edgar Million in a drop dead suit

I'm full of bourbon I can't stand up
changed to:
I'm on the corner I can't stand up

I'm on the lawn with someone else's wife
changed to:
I'm on the lawn in someone else's life

Yellow sheets on a Hong Kong bed
changed to:
Yellow streets in a Hong Kong head

I can easily imagine why the third line might create problems with their usual audience (in LA shows—outside of bars—it was overwhelmingly teenage frummie girls). I'm a little perplexed about the other three mods: Why does Edna need a sex-change? What is a "Hong Kong head"? And why no drunks allowed? Frum Yidn drink plenty on Purim, and the song is still listed as "Jockey Full of Bourbon". Nu?

But my more basic question is: if you can't sing a song the way it's written, should you still record the song?

Btw, does Tom Waits know about this (and would he care)? And, did someone from the outside require this censorship? Whatever the answers, I'd love someone from the band to let us in on the secret meanings here.

Anyway, here's a shout out to Yehudah Solomon et al – Give us the lowdown! And when you finish with that, give us a nigun. Thanks also to Daniel Baum, who pointed out the last change in the list to me only last week (Feb 2013).



Design in progress © Rabbi David Mevorach Seidenberg 2006