The album The Black Rider is based on a Robert Wilson (of Einstein on the Beach) musical, of the same title, which was scored by Tom Waits, with the lyrics written by William S. Burroughs. Quite the dream team (though we'd be talking about some pretty freaky dreams). The album is the music from the play, redone in the studio by Tom Waits, with William S. Burroughs doing vocals on one track (T'ain't No Sin).

The play was based on a traditional German folk tale. To sum up in brief: A city clerk, George Smith (presumable the name is different in German), falls in love with the daughter of forest hunstman. The huntsman wants his daughter to marry another old huntsman, so sends George off to the forest to come back and prove that he can hunt, figuring he'll be able to hit nothing. George has no luck, but as he's walking back, dejected, he meets the Devil at a crossroads. The Devil offers to sell him a box of magic bullets which will hit anything he aims at. George buys the bullets, and comes back with dozens of pieces of game. The huntsman has no choice but to offer George his daughter in marriage. At the wedding, there is a marksmanship contest, for which George uses the last of the Devil's magic bullets. The last bullet, however, is intended for one person only, George's new wife; and it flies wildly across the room and kills her. George goes mad, and eventually dies and goes to hell. Charming stuff.

The idea of Burroughs being associated with this project is actually really scary when you think about it, because he really did kill his wife by accidentally shooting her, in a drunken game of William Tell in Mexico City. I can't even imagine what must have gone through his mind as he wrote the lyrics to a musical about the same thing, but it wouldn't surprise me if he ended up writing a book about it.


  1. Lucky Day Overture
  2. The Black Rider
  3. November
  4. Just the Right Bullets
  5. Black Box Theme
  6. T'ain't No Sin
  7. Flash Pan Hunter (intro)
  8. That's the Way
  9. The Briar and the Rose
  10. Russian Dance
  11. Gospel Train (orchestra)
  12. I'll Shoot the Moon
  13. Flash Pan Hunter
  14. Crossroads
  15. Gospel Train
  16. Interlude
  17. Oily Night
  18. Lucky Day
  19. The Last Rose of Summer
  20. Carnival

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