Tea for the Bloggerman

T5AotW: Week Fourteen
November 9, 2008, 5:04 pm
Filed under: music | Tags: , , ,

Week Fourteen: November 9th

Tom Waits week!

1. Swordfishtrombones by Tom Waits
Almost universally hailed at Tom Waits’ breakthrough experimental album, Swordfishtrombones is an album where Waits almost completely discards his old crooner ways and embraces the Captain Beefheart inside us all. Despite its widespread popularity among Tom Waits fans, I really didn’t care for it all too much until recently. Sure it had a number of great songs on it, but I didn’t really get a good feel for what was on it. Well I gave it another listen this week and listened to some of the live versions of those songs on the Big Time album and I have to say I’m impressed. The title track, “16 Shells,” “In the Neighborhood,” “Shore Leave,” “Soldier’s Things,” and many more are classic Waits and I did not realize it until just recently. Wowie zowie!

2. Mule Variations by Tom Waits
One of Tom Waits greatest albums, by far. This album is monumental. Gargantuan. Magnificent. “Eyeball Kid,” “Come on Up to the House,” “Get Behind the Mule.” Lyrically stunning, musically unsettling. Rivals Rain Dogs for Waits’ best album.

3. Small Change by Tom Waits
Early Waits at his best. His second album, I believe. I got this record in a used music store in Montreal when I went up to see Leonard Cohen. $10 I think. There are some really beautiful songs on this album: “Tom Traubert’s Blues,” “Invitation to the Blues,” “I Wish I Was in New Orleans.” Tom Waits sang “Invitation to the Blues” at the concert I went to in Phoenix. Really opened my eyes to the sheer beauty of some of his earlier work.

4. Real Gone by Tom Waits
Tom Waits’ latest studio album and frankly it’s not that great. There are some great songs on the album, but there is also a lot of filler. “Day After Tomorrow” is the song that convinced me of Tom Waits’ genius, and that’s on here, as well as “Make it Rain” and “Hoist That Rag.” The rest is a lot of heavy percussion and Tom Waits beatboxing which is great but there sure is a lot of it.

5. Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers, and Bastards by Tom Waits
Tom Waits’ latest release is a compilation of obscure soundtrack songs, covers, and outtakes but it is absolutely wonderful. Tom covers everyone from Leadbelly to Jack Kerouac to The Ramones, and is able to put a twist on traditional gospel songs that no one else could. Charlie Musselwhite’s harmonica moans beautifully on this collection, as it does on Mule Variations. Three discs of prime Tom Waits. What more can you ask for?


1 Comment so far
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Wow, that’s a lot of Waits! It’s too bad Elvira didn’t get to sign your record. Oh ps: another hint for your Christmas gift – that record. Thanks for the CD again!

Comment by Yanira

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