On Hamell On Trial's live album, Ed's Not Dead, the anti-folk acoustic punk rocker describes this song, the fifth on that album, as "the integral song to the Choochtown record". As I've mentioned in my writeup about the latter album, Choochtown is the story of one fateful night at the Toddle House Diner, told from the perspective of participants, innocent bystanders, and not-so-innocent bystanders. "When Bobby Comes Down" is the second track on the album and the first to tell the story of that night, providing the fullest description of a particularly violent incident that is mentioned at least in passing in two other tracks on the album, "The Mall" and "Choochtown". I'm pretty sure that the title character of "When Bobby Comes Down" is the same Bobby who plays a minor role in "Piccolo Joe", from Hamell's second album, The Chord is Mightier Than the Sword, so in some ways this song not only ties together all of Choochtown, but relates it back to Hamell's earlier work as well.

Anyway, the anonymous narrator of "When Bobby Comes Down" is telling a story of Bobby's misadventures to Bobby's girlfriend, perhaps with the implication that the two are conducting an affair behind Bobby's back. Whereas in "Choochtown" and "Piccolo Joe" Bobby is portrayed as harmless and ridiculous, even pathetic, in this song he is described as both one of the narrator's best friends and someone to be afraid of: to put it mildly, Bobby can be dangerous when he's coming down.


I don't wanna be 'round
When Bobby comes down
You know how that can be
Yeah, you know better than me
I don't wanna be here
When Bobby gets clear
And he gives you that weird eye
I think I'd better say goodbye

Yeah, the party always starts out really cool
Then Bobby's got to find himself a fool

He's fun to hang with when he's high
You couldn't find a nicer guy
He would give you his own shirt
He starts to crash and you get hurt

(Spoken): Yeah, it was me, and Bobby, and little Chooch, and Tim ---
Chooch is all right, you can always count on him.
Bobby can be cool, if he's hanging out here,
If he gets too high and goes out, that's when things get weird.
So we're going to the Toddle House to get something to eat;
The food's pretty good at 3 AM, but this time it was beat.
And we're sitting at the booth, and to tell you the truth,
Bobby's throwing shit around, he's acting real uncouth.

And I figure it's only moments until the manager calls the cops,
When Bobby gets all quiet, and down into his eggs he drops.
He passes out on the counter, he wakes up and heaves,
And there's vomit all over the counter, and he pays the check and leaves.
And he's almost to the corner when out comes the waiter;
Bobby says, "Get the fuck off me, man, I wasn't sick until I ate here."
Bobby smacks the waiter, blood all down his nose;
Chooch says, "Hang with Bobby, man, that's just the way it goes."

Well, Bobby feels bad, from what I can guess,
'Cause the next day he sends a mop to the Toddle House, UPS.
And he lights a big fat one, and he stretches his legs,
and says, "Aw man, I gotta learn not to put that chili on my eggs."

(Sung): Yeah, the party always starts out really cool
Then Bobby's gotta go and find himself a fool

Well, I guess you gotta stay
'Cause Bobby likes his girls that way
And I hope you be all right
And I'll be back tomorrow night

I don't wanna be 'round
When Bobby comes down
I don't wanna be round....

Copyright Ed Hamell; reproduced by permission. See Hamell on Trial for details.

The version of this song that appears on Choochtown, was performed by Hamell on acoustic guitar and vocals, Paul Nicorski on bass, Ryan Bernstein on electric guitar, and Bill Nicorski on vocals. It was recorded live in Nicorski's basement in Southampton, PA, and produced by Hamell and Bill and Paul Nicorski.

CST Approved