Cut 1/2 Blues
By: Beck Hansen

Written by: Beck Hansen

Alternate Titles:

a.k.a. Cut in Half Blues

Versions:
  1. Cut 1/2 Blues (2:35)
    Available on Stereopathetic Soulmanure.
    Credits
    Dallas Don Burnet: Drums
    Rusty Cusick: Engineer
    Beck Hansen: Guitar (Acoustic), Producer, Vocals, Vocals (Background)
    Bobby Hecksher: Guitar (Electric)
  2. Cut 1/2 Blues (DGBOOS version 1) (2:29)
    Available on Don't Get Bent Out Of Shape and 1 other release.
    Credits
    Beck Hansen: Guitar (Acoustic), Harmonica, Vocals
  3. Cut 1/2 Blues (DGBOOS version 2) (2:41)
    Available on Don't Get Bent Out Of Shape.
    Credits
    Beck Hansen: Guitar (Acoustic), Harmonica, Vocals
 
Lyrics:
Cut 1/2 Blues [Version (a)]:

I thought I heard a chainsaw
Rather late last night
I woke up this morning
And I knew I was right
I got the cut in half blues
Well, the last thing I saw was the big long saw
I got the cut in half blues

I knew we were in trouble
I knew she lost her head
When she started bringing
All those power tools to bed
I got the cut in half blues
Well, the last thing I saw was the big long saw
I got the cut in half blues

I was laying in my grave
All I do is grunt
'Cause the undertaker got it all mixed up
And put my ass in front
I got the cut in half blues, yeah
Well, the last thing I saw was the big long saw
I got the cut in half blues, ah no no...

The last thing I saw was the big long saw
I got the cut in half blues, oh
Cut 1/2 Blues (DGBOOS version 1) [Version (b)]:

Some folks get their kicks stepping on ants
Some folks fall for love and romance
Some like to roll in the mud and laugh
My baby just likes to cut people in half
I got the cut in half blues, yeah the cut in half blues
Well, the last thing I saw was a big long saw
I got the cut in half blues

Well, I thought I heard a chainsaw
Revving late last night
I woke the next morning cut in two
And I knew that I was right
I got the cut in half blues, yeah the cut in half blues
Well, the last thing I saw was a big long saw
I got the cut in half blues

I knew we were in trouble
And I knew we - she'd lost her head
When she started bringing
All those power tools to bed
I got the cut in half blues, yeah the cut in half blues
Well, the last thing I saw was a big long saw
I got the cut in half blues
 
Cut 1/2 Blues (DGBOOS version 2) [Version (c)]:

Some folks get their kicks stomping on ants
Some folks fall for love and romance
Some like to roll in the mud and laugh
My baby just likes to cut people in half
I got the cut in half blues
Yeah the cut in half bluuuuues
Well, the last thing I saw was a big long saw
I got the cut in half blues

I thought I heard a chainsaw
Revving late last night
Woke up the next morning cut in two
And I knew that I was right
I got the cut in half blues
The cut in half blues
Well, the last thing I saw was a big long saw
I got the cut in half blues

Well, I knew that we were in trouble
And I knew she lost her head
When she started bringing
All those power tools to bed
I got the cut in half blues
Woooo, the cut in half blues
Well, the last thing I saw was a big long saw
I got the cut in half blues

Well, I'm resting in my grave
All I do is grunt
'Cause the undertaker got all mixed up
And put my ass in the front
I got the cut in half blues
Ah the cut in half blues
Well, the last thing I saw was a big long saw
I got the cut in half blues
 
The Song:

Beck began writing his own songs during the year he spent in New York in the "anti-folk" scene circa 1988. He remembered:
I would go to the Chameleon for the open-mike night and play Woody Guthrie or Mississippi John Hurt songs?which was my whole world at the time; I didn?t even want to know about anything else. But [they] wouldn?t book me for a whole night unless I wrote my own songs. So I said, 'OK.' And I went and got a pen and paper and wrote five songs about stuff like pizza, or waking up after having been chain-sawed in half by a maniac . . . stuff like that. He finally gave me a Friday night."
So if that's literally true, "Cut 1/2 Blues" is one of Beck's original, oldest songs, a product of the first time he seriously put pen to paper to compose something. Well, maybe, not so seriously.

This funny weird folk tune has two known arrangements, and three recordings. The first arrangement is the one he put on his homemade tape, Don't Get Bent Out Of Shape. (This was also included on Fresh Meat.) It is a solo performance, done with very bluesy acoustic guitar, and a lot of harmonica. Another version was found on another version of Don't Get Bent Out Of Shape, though it basically identical; maybe a bit more spirited, and some minor lyric differences and an extra fourth verse about the undertaker (which we knew from Stereopathetic).

The second version was officially released on Stereopathetic Soulmanure, and is done with a band, as a slow blues/punk song. It is hard to know which came first for sure (due to Stereopathetic being a ramshackle collection), but it is probably safe to assume that the one from Don't Get Bent acted as a demo for the second. And if this was one of the first songs Beck wrote in New York, there might also be some earlier recordings of it that pre-date Bent, which was from 1992!

There are new verses in both takes, which I would use to imply that Beck probably had more. Surely, he could rattle off a ton of verses about being cut in half whenever he wanted to.

The excellent performance on Stereopathetic is highlighted by Beck's droll vocals, which fits comically with the fact that he's singing about having been cut in half. Beck's always been able to put the perfect delivery on his lyrics. Featuring some choppy acoustic guitar, buzzing electric guitar, and even a mini-drum solo, "Cut in Half Blues" is neat and amusing in both forms, and it's a good example of a young Beck's songwriting.
 
Live:

I am not aware of this having ever been played live since 1994. Probably didn't last in Beck's stage catalog much longer than, say, 1990? :-)