Lyric of the Week: SOMEWHERE OUT IN TIZA NABI
Updated: Dec 17, 2020
Somewhere out in tiza nabi
Beyond the highway junction Rimonim
Colonel Yossi Ben-Yutzmach waits in the lobby
of the Desert Mirage Inn
They didn’t call him Slow Joe for nothing
It took him forever to find this place
And he’s going out of his mind waiting
For his contact to show his face
Captain Eran Schverheit steps out from behind a lamppost
where he lived up to his nickname Slim Jim
He spots the Colonel standing in a crowd of ghosts
and silently moves up to him
He says Joe! I don’t believe it! You’re the guy I’m supposed to meet?
I haven’t seen you in years!
So Slow Joe and Slim Jim walk out into the street
While behind them the building disappears
Crazy Eddie the Syrian sidles up to the pair
And makes the two an offer they can’t refuse
You know his prices are insane but they’re always fair
Well he paid them ten sheks each for their shoes
Now the two dorks from the Shin Bet are left barefoot in the sand
with only a bottle of schnapps to their name
Of course Joe is too slow to even understand
That the microfilm in Jim’s heel was why he came
Eddie slips across the border to Flatbush
Giggling at the success of his scheme
While back in tiza nabi Jim kicks his own tush
And Joe is lost somewhere in a dream
He says Man I can’t believe that sap took us for a fool
Buying all our secrets for a dime
Joe says no man everything is cool
I had it in my pupik all the time
Meanwhile back in Brooklyn Eddie makes a pit stop
to examine the precious cargo that he stole
Opening the false heel it blows its top
Leaving Eddie’s head with an extra hole
Shrugging his shoulders he throws away the shoe
And heads off to Smiling Jack’s for a drink
And if you believe this story is true
Then mister you ought to see a shrink!
©2015, 2018 The Hesh Inc.
"Tiza Nabi" is Israeli military slang for "the middle of f**king nowhere." It is derived from the Arabic tiz al-nabi, "the Prophet's crack." (Use with caution around the easily inflamed.)
I'll describe the origins of this song the way I introduce it on stage: "In the late 1980s I was doing my obligatory stint in the Israel Defense Forces. I was stationed at a base a half hour's drive north of Jerusalem. Another half an hour east of my base, passing through several Arab villages, you would get to this crossroads where you would see nothing but dust devils and tumbleweeds. So deserted that not even the local Bedouins would go there.
"Meantime, back in the USA, a legendary retail-electronics mogul, known for his over-the-top TV ads, went missing after inflating the prices of his nonexistent stock, then taking the money and disappearing. Nobody knew where the hell he went. For all intents and purposes, he had vanished.
"But when I would travel east on the road from my base, and get to that dusty crossroads, there were no Israelis, no 'palestinians,' no nothing, no nobody! ... But I could swear I saw Crazy Eddie out there skipping along through the desert between the mirages and the tumbleweeds.
"This here is a song about that close encounter."
And the music came to be late one night not long before that, as I tried falling asleep in a hotel room near the beach in Ashkelon, with Tom Waits on the radio melding with the Mizrahi band playing outside my window.
Several years later, once I had put my first band together at the Jersey Shore, this song became a regular part of our setlist. We played it in clubs all over the area and it became a favorite, for a short time at least, among regulars at T-Birds and The Saint in Asbury Park. Later on it was released on the album There's A Voice by REALITY SHOCK, and rereleased on my Boardwalk Mystic collection in 2015. Listen to it here:
I have also released a piano-and-voice-only version in 2018: