Don't Go Into the Barn

Album: Real Gone (2004)

Songfacts®:

  • Like "Murder in the Red Barn" from Waits's 1985 album Rain Dogs, this song is an atmospheric look at a small town in the country with sinister characters and events lurking just under the surface. The song was inspired by a 2003 New York Times story about an old barn used as a rural slave jail.
  • Natchez, mentioned in the song's outro, was an infamous slave market in Mississippi.
  • Much of the lyric is written as dialogue. Toward the end, there's an exchange between two figures that suggests shady dealings. One is interrogating the other, asking if he took all the usual pains to avoid being tracked or traced. "Did you bring your knife?/Yes sir. Did they see your face?/No sir..."

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