Live 13 Nov 1996 version

[Spoken intro:] Thank you, thank you. Yeah. It's nice to be in Syracuse (cheers)... where I can freeze my ass ??? (chuckles). Hey, what's the deal with that snow? Ah? You know you don't get no snow like that in New Jersey, it's all about Jan (cheers). We got a snow thing handled down there, it's out of control up here, alright (chuckles). Looking outside my hotel window this morning. So you know, school bus pull up, whole bunch of kids get off and about half a dozen of 'em hit street right away, you know (chuckles). Said "Hmmm, Syracuse, think I'll stay inside" (chuckles). And uh... Here's a uh, here's a song that uh, this is a song I never played before ???. And uh... (people clap) Hey, wait! May be a stinker, you don't know my friend (chuckles). I don't know myself, alright (chuckles). But uh, uh... see if I can get through it. Uh, anybody see the fight the other night? (cheers). That was something, oops. Big Mike went down (chuckles) [talking about the 09 Nov 1996 match, when Mike Tyson was stopped in the eleventh round by Evander Holyfield and lost the WBA Heavyweight Championship]. Well, this is called "The Hitter", "The Hitter".

Come to the door, Ma, and unlock the chain
Well I was just passin' through and got caught in the rain
There's nothin' I want, nothin' that you need say
Just let me lie down for a while and then I'll be on my way

I was no more than a kid when you put me on the Southern Queen
With the police on my back I fled to New Orleans
Well I fought in the dockyards and with the money that I made
And the fight was my home and blood was my trade

Baton Rouge, Ponchatoula, and Lafayette town
Well they paid me their moon, Ma, I knocked the men down
Well I did what I did, yeah it come easily
For as you know Ma, restraint and mercy were always strangers to me

I fought champion Jack Thompson in a field full of mud
Rain poured through the tent to the canvas and mixed with our blood
In the twelfth I slipped my tongue over my broken jaw
And I pounded his body into the floor
Well the bell rang and rang and still I kept on
'Till I felt my glove leather slip 'tween his skin and bone

And the women and the money came fast, in the days I lost track
The women red, the money green, but the numbers were black
I fought for the men in their silk suits to lay down their bets
Well I took my good share, Ma, and I have no regret

I took the fix at the state armory with big John McDowell
Well from high in the rafters I watched myself fall
As they raised his arm, my stomach twisted and the sky it went black
I stuffed my bag with their good money, Ma, and I never looked back

Understand, in the end, Ma, every man plays the game
If you know me one different then speak out his name
Well Ma, if my voice now you don't recognize
Then just open the door and look into your dark eyes
I ask of you nothin', not a kiss not a smile
Just open the door and let me lie down for a while

Now the gray rain is fallin' and my ring fighting's done
So in the work fields and alleys I take all who'll come
If you're a better man than me then just step to the line
Show me your money and speak out your crime
Nothin' I want, Ma, nothin' that you need say
Just let me lie down for a while and I'll be on my way

Well tonight in the stackyard a man draws a circle in the dirt
I move to the centre and I take off my shirt
I study him for the cuts, the scars, the pain
No time can erase
I move hard to the left and I strike to the face


The above lyrics are for the live 13 Nov 1996 performance of THE HITTER at Landmark Theatre in Syracuse, NY, during The Ghost Of Tom Joad Solo Acoustic Tour. This was the only time the song was performed live prior to its release on Devils & Dust in 2005.

Ticket stub for the 13 Nov 1996 show at Landmark Theatre, Syracuse, NY
Ticket stub for the 13 Nov 1996 show at Landmark Theatre, Syracuse, NY
(Taken from Brucebase)

Available Versions

List of available versions of THE HITTER on this website:

THE HITTER [Album version]
THE HITTER [Live 13 Nov 1996 version]
THE HITTER [Live 28 Apr 2005 version]

Page last updated: 04 Oct 2016