Palimpsest  

Go Back   Palimpsest > Reviews > Other Reviews

View Poll Results: Favourite Tom Waits album
Closing Time 0 0%
Nighthawks at the Diner 1 7.69%
Small Change 3 23.08%
Foreign Affairs 1 7.69%
Mule Variations 2 15.38%
Swordfishtrombones 1 7.69%
Rain Dogs 2 15.38%
Frank's Wild Years 0 0%
Bone Machine 3 23.08%
Other 0 0%
Voters: 13. You may not vote on this poll


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 3rd Sep 2008, 18:46   #11
bill
Senior Palimpsester
suckles at the teat of the Palim-God
 
bill's Avatar
 
Join Date: 12 Dec 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 2,950
Default Re: Tom Waits

I don't know if you know Harry Partch, but he's one of Waits's biggest influences. I've never heard any of his stuff, because what's available tends to be pretty expensive. He certainly sounds interesting, though.
__________________
The Kind of Face You Hate
Currently reading: Various
bill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd Sep 2008, 18:54   #12
fanshawe
Palimpsestarian
is a palimpsestin' fool!
 
fanshawe's Avatar
 
Join Date: 17 Jun 2008
Location: Amsterdam
Posts: 555
Default Re: Tom Waits

Never heard of him, thanks for the link. An album of his is available on my usual source of legal downloads, www.gomusic.ru, for $2.30 - The 17 lyrics of Li Po. I might download it later this week to check him out.
__________________
2011/ 2010/ 2009/ 2008

fanshawe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd Sep 2008, 20:48   #13
John Self
Administrator
suffers from smallness of vision
 
John Self's Avatar
 
Join Date: 27 Jun 2003
Location: Belfast
Posts: 15,939
Default Re: Tom Waits

Ah yes, those legal Russian download sites!

Just pulled out my old CD of Mule Variations which I haven't listened to since about 1999. Also had a quick rerun of Bone Machine which confirms it as my favourite Waits. Thanks for starting this topic, fanshawe.

Off now to buy Small Change. On iTunes!
__________________
Reading Vasily Grossman, Life and Fate | Asylum | Book List
John Self is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd Sep 2008, 20:51   #14
bill
Senior Palimpsester
suckles at the teat of the Palim-God
 
bill's Avatar
 
Join Date: 12 Dec 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 2,950
Default Re: Tom Waits

Bone Machine was my favorite for a long time. Now it's probably my second favorite, possibly tied with Small Change.

It's always much more sporting
When there's families in the pit
And the madness of the crowd
Is an epileptic fit

Yikes!
__________________
The Kind of Face You Hate
Currently reading: Various
bill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd Sep 2008, 21:07   #15
John Self
Administrator
suffers from smallness of vision
 
John Self's Avatar
 
Join Date: 27 Jun 2003
Location: Belfast
Posts: 15,939
Default Re: Tom Waits

I'm listening to Mule Variations now, bill, and surprised by how accessible it is. I think after Bone Machine and The Black Rider, I just assumed he was getting more and more hardcore. Though obviously the 80s trilogy was pretty out there, and I'd consider Bone Machine much more mainstream than those.

I've been gently introducing Mrs Self to Waits this evening, via gentle stuff like 'Who Are You' (from Bone Machine), funny stuff like 'Frank's Wild Years' (from Swordfishtrombones), familiar stuff like 'Downtown Train' (from Rain Dogs - I'd forgotten how terrific it is, probably had my responses to it deadened a little by Rod Stewart's bloodless version, which was a huge hit in the UK anyway) and 'Walk Away' (from Orphans, or more accurately from the Dead Man Walking soundtrack). I think she's thawing a little. Let's call it a work in progress.
__________________
Reading Vasily Grossman, Life and Fate | Asylum | Book List
John Self is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd Sep 2008, 21:17   #16
bill
Senior Palimpsester
suckles at the teat of the Palim-God
 
bill's Avatar
 
Join Date: 12 Dec 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 2,950
Default Re: Tom Waits

I still haven't really warmed to "Downtown Train", but I haven't listened to it in a very long time. If I'm towards the end of Rain Dogs, I figure I might as well just skip ahead to "Anywhere I Lay My Head", since it doesn't get any better than that.

Mule Variations is very accessible. It may be his last (so far) truly accessible album before he locked the windows and bolted the doors. Real Gone, for instance, is very tough to warm to, at least for me. I think Alice and Blood Money are absolutely fantastic, but they're by no means where anyone new to Waits should start.

Back when we were first dating, my wife, sweetheart that she is, wanted to know for herself who this Tom Waits guy her boyfriend kept going on about was. So she bought The Black Rider. She likes him now, but at the time...

EDIT: I also like the idea that Bone Machine is considered accessible. I agree, compared to some of his other stuff. I just think it's kind of funny.
__________________
The Kind of Face You Hate
Currently reading: Various
bill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd Sep 2008, 21:24   #17
John Self
Administrator
suffers from smallness of vision
 
John Self's Avatar
 
Join Date: 27 Jun 2003
Location: Belfast
Posts: 15,939
Default Re: Tom Waits

Quote:
Originally Posted by fanshawe
At least he has some jokes.
Quite. Waits is, I think, one of those artists like Nick Cave or Morrissey, who is actually tremendously funny - even the yikes! lines bill quoted earlier are funny to me - but is perceived by Those Who Do Not Understand as being grim or depressing.

Now as someone who is not very sophisticated musically, I have to admit that I have heard of Miles Davis and Kurt Weill but don't think I have ever heard their stuff. Someone earlier mentioned 'What Keeps Mankind Alive?' however, which I do know, as Pet Shop Boys did a cover of it, which I thought was terrific.
__________________
Reading Vasily Grossman, Life and Fate | Asylum | Book List
John Self is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd Sep 2008, 21:29   #18
John Self
Administrator
suffers from smallness of vision
 
John Self's Avatar
 
Join Date: 27 Jun 2003
Location: Belfast
Posts: 15,939
Default Re: Tom Waits

Quote:
Originally Posted by bill View Post
EDIT: I also like the idea that Bone Machine is considered accessible. I agree, compared to some of his other stuff. I just think it's kind of funny.
I know what you mean. But it is! It's got choruses and everything! Put it this way, I don't consider myself to have a very natural ear for music - it takes me a long time to 'get' stuff that other people latch onto right away - but Bone Machine was my first Waits, and I loved it, and found it very exciting, immediately.

For example I don't find Swordfishtrombones accessible at all, even now. I appreciate it more than love it, at least half the time.

EDIT: Oh, and will I get kicked off this thread if I admit I don't even have Frank's Wild Years?
__________________
Reading Vasily Grossman, Life and Fate | Asylum | Book List
John Self is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd Sep 2008, 21:35   #19
bill
Senior Palimpsester
suckles at the teat of the Palim-God
 
bill's Avatar
 
Join Date: 12 Dec 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 2,950
Default Re: Tom Waits

Waits's cover of "What Keeps Mankind Alive" can be found both on Orphans and Lost in the Stars, an odd little tribute album to Weill by various artists. Though I have to admit to being fairly unsophisticated musically, myself. I like what I like, and I know about that, and there's where it ends. But a possibly good primer on Weill is in the soundtrack for Woody Allen's film Shadows and Fog.

As for my yikes quote, okay, I guess I can see the humor. The extraordinarily black humor, anyway. But the line works on a straight-up grim and depressing level, as well.

Which is not to say that I don't find Waits funny, because of course I do, but I would be hard-pressed, in most cases, to explain why I think he's funny.
__________________
The Kind of Face You Hate
Currently reading: Various
bill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd Sep 2008, 21:38   #20
John Self
Administrator
suffers from smallness of vision
 
John Self's Avatar
 
Join Date: 27 Jun 2003
Location: Belfast
Posts: 15,939
Default Re: Tom Waits

I know you're not saying he's not funny, bill, so I'm not trying to berate you with examples - rather, this is for anyone who doesn't know Waits, to explain why I think he can be very funny. 'Frank's Wild Years' from Swordfishtrombones (though you have to listen to it for the way he trots off the lines about the dog, and the pronunciation of 'chimney red')...

Frank settled down in the Valley,
and he hung his wild years on a
nail that he drove through his
wife's forehead.

He sold used office furniture out
there on San Fernando Road and
assumed a $30,000 loan at
15 1/4 % and put a down payment
on a little two bedroom place.

His wife was a spent piece of used jet trash
Made good bloody-marys, kept her mouth
shut most of the time, had a little Chihuahua
named Carlos that had some kind of skin
disease and was totally blind.

They had a thoroughly modern kitchen;
self-cleaning oven (the whole bit)
Frank drove a little sedan.
They were so happy.

One night Frank was on his way home
from work, stopped at the liquor store,
picked up a couple of Mickey's Big Mouth’s.
Drank 'em in the car on his way to the
Shell station; he got a gallon of gas in a can.

Drove home, doused everything in
the house, torched it.
Parked across the street laughing,
watching it burn, all Halloween
orange and chimney red.

Frank put on a top forty station,
got on the Hollywood Freeway
headed North.

Never could stand that dog.
__________________
Reading Vasily Grossman, Life and Fate | Asylum | Book List
John Self is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply



Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Greenland: Part 3 John Self Features 15 10th Jan 2007 23:10
A Second Scene from 'Greenland' John Self Features 27 6th Dec 2006 14:24
Greenland: Part 2a John Self Features 5 8th Aug 2006 16:01
Tom Shone: Blockbuster John Self Book Reviews 14 7th Jul 2005 14:29
Tom Cruise Slightly Wet Shock John Self Politics & Society 4 21st Jun 2005 14:00


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 19:46.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.