[He's got a voice sounding] ”like it was soaked in a vat of bourbon, left hanging in the smokehouse for a few months, and then taken outside and run over with a car.”
“I like beautiful melodies telling me terrible things.”
― Tom Waits
“We are buried beneath the weight of information, which is being confused with knowledge; quantity is being confused with abundance and wealth with happiness.
We are monkeys with money and guns.”
― Tom Waits
Neil Young inducts Tom Waits into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame:
Thomas Alan Waits
December 7, 1949 (age 63)
Pomona, California,United States
Thomas Alan “Tom” Waits (born December 7, 1949) is an American singer-songwriter, composer, and actor. Waits has a distinctive voice, described by critic Daniel Durchholz as sounding “like it was soaked in a vat of bourbon, left hanging in the smokehouse for a few months, and then taken outside and run over with a car.”With this trademark growl, his incorporation of pre-rock music styles such as blues, jazz, and vaudeville, and experimental tendencies verging on industrial music,Waits has built up a distinctive musical persona. He has worked as a composer for movies and musical plays and has acted in supporting roles in films including Paradise Alley and Bram Stoker’s Dracula; he also starred in the 1986 film Down by Law. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his soundtrack work on One from the Heart.
16 shells from a thirty-ought-six – live 85:
Lyrically, Waits’ songs frequently present atmospheric portrayals of grotesque, often seedy characters and places—although he has also shown a penchant for more conventional ballads. He has a cult following and has influenced subsequent songwriters despite having little radio or music video support. His songs are best-known through cover versions by more commercial artists: “Jersey Girl”, performed by Bruce Springsteen, “Ol’ ’55″, performed by the Eagles, and “Downtown Train”, performed by Rod Stewart. Although Waits’ albums have met with mixed commercial success in his native United States, they have occasionally achieved gold album sales status in other countries. He has been nominated for a number of major music awards and has won Grammy Awards for two albums, Bone Machine and Mule Variations. In 2011, Waits was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Waits lives in Sonoma County, California with his wife, Kathleen Brennan, and three children.
Alice – Live from Amsterdam 2004:
Album of the day:
……. The music can be primitive, moving to odd time signatures, while Waits alternately howls and wheezes in his gravelly bass voice. He seems to have moved on from Hoagy Carmichael and Louis Armstrong to Kurt Weill and Howlin’ Wolf (as impersonated by Captain Beefheart). Waits seems to have had trouble interesting a record label in the album, which was cut 13 months before it was released, but when it appeared, rock critics predictably raved: after all, it sounded weird and it didn’t have a chance of selling. Actually, it did make the bottom of the best-seller charts, like most of Waits’ albums, and now that he was with a label based in Europe, even charted there. Artistically, Swordfishtrombones marked an evolution of which Waits had not seemed capable (though there were hints of this sound on his last two Asylum albums), and in career terms it reinvented him.
~William Ruhlmann (allmusic.com)
A music video or song video is a short film integrating a song and imagery, produced for promotional or artistic purposes.Modern music videos are primarily made and used as a marketing device intended to promote the sale of music recordings. Although the origins of music videos date back much further, they came into prominence in the 1980s, when MTV based their format around the medium. Prior to the 1980s, these works were described by various terms including “illustrated song”, “filmed insert”, “promotional (promo) film”, “promotional clip” or “film clip”.
Music videos use a wide range of styles of film making techniques, including animation, live action filming, documentaries, and non-narrative approaches such as abstract film. Some music videos blend different styles, such as animation and live action. Many music videos do not interpret images from the song’s lyrics, making it less literal than expected. Other music videos may be without a set concept, being merely a filmed version of the song’s live performance.
My favourite music video artist is without a doubt, Tom Waits! Since I saw the video for In the Neighbourhood in 1983, I’ve eagerly waited for his promotional videos for his albums. They are valid works of art in their own right, and combined with Tom Waits’ songs they’re taken to a higher level.
“We are all just monkeys with money and guns.”
If you get far enough away you’ll be on your way back home.
~Tom Waiys – “Blind Love”
30 September 1985
Rock, experimental rock
Rain Dogs is the 9th album by American singer-songwriter Tom Waits, released in September 1985 on Island Records.A loose concept album about “the urban dispossessed” of New York City, Rain Dogs is generally considered the middle album of a trilogy that includes Swordfishtrombones and Franks Wild Years.
The album, which includes appearances by guitarists Keith Richards and Marc Ribot, is noted for its broad spectrum of musical styles and genres, described by Rolling Stone as merging “Kurt Weill, pre-rock integrity from old dirty blues, [and] the elegiac melancholy of New Orleans funeral brass, into a singularly idiosyncratic American style.”
The album peaked at #29 on the UK charts and #188 on the US Billboard Top 200. In 1989, it was ranked #21 on the Rolling Stone list of the “100 greatest albums of the 1980s.” In 2003, the album was ranked number 397 on the magazine’s list of “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time”.
Pitchfork Media listed Rain Dogs as 8th best album of the 1980s. Slant Magazine listed the album at #14 on its list of “Best Albums of the 1980′s”.
From allmusic – William Ruhlmann:
With its jarring rhythms and unusual instrumentation — marimba, accordion, various percussion — as well as its frequently surreal lyrics, Rain Dogs is very much a follow-up to Swordfishtrombones, which is to say that it sounds for the most part like The Threepenny Opera being sung by Howlin’ Wolf. The chief musical difference is the introduction of guitarist Marc Ribot, who adds his noisy leads to the general cacophony. But Rain Dogs is sprawling where its predecessor had been focused: Tom Waits‘ lyrics here sometimes are imaginative to the point of obscurity, seemingly chosen to fit the rhythms rather than for sense. In the course of 19 tracks and 54 minutes, Waits sometimes goes back to the more conventional music of his earlier records, which seems like a retreat, though such tracks as the catchy “Hang Down Your Head,” “Time,” and especially “Downtown Train” (frequently covered and finally turned into a Top Ten hit by Rod Stewart five years later) provide some relief as well as variety. Read more over @ allmusic.com
From The Guardian – Killian Fox:
……………….. I can’t choose all three albums as my all-time favourite, so Rain Dogs – the best by a snout – clinches it. Waits had refreshed his sound on Swordfishtrombones two years earlier by moving beyond piano and guitar to dabble with a wider variety of instruments, and on Rain Dogs his repertoire continued to expand, with pump organs, accordions and bowed saws. He also gained the talents of guitarist Marc Ribot, whose humid Cuban licks on Jockey Full of Bourbon perfectly complement Waits’s suave dishevelment.
The range of musical styles sprawled, too, and Rain Dogs contains cabaret numbers, country songs, gospel, polkas, ballads and sea shanties. Waits is a sucker for the theatrical, and the ragbag cast here is at the carnivalesque end of things, plus sad-eyed dames and a girl with tattooed tear – “one for every year he’s away, she said” – at the late-night, romantically downbeat, Edward Hopper-ish end. (Most of the album was written in a lower Manhattan basement.)
The album has been noted as one of the most important musically and critically in Waits’ career, in particular to the new direction which he undertook from 1983′s Swordfishtrombones onwards.
The album is notable for its many different musical styles; among the album’s 19 tracks are two instrumentals (“Midtown” and “Bride of Rain Dog”), a polka (“Cemetery Polka”), a “kind of a New Orleans thing with trombone” (“Tango Till They’re Sore”), ballads (“Time”), pop music (“Downtown Train”), and “a gospel thing” (“Anywhere I Lay My Head”). “Blind Love” marks Waits’ first fully-fledged attempt at the country genre. As Waits said on the Rain Dogs Island Promo Tape (which consisted of taped comments on songs as sent to radio stations, circa late 1985):
“Blind Love” is one of my first country songs. I like Merle Haggard. Most of those other guys, though, sound like they’re all just drinking tea and watching their waist and talking to their accountant. This one I think subscribes to some of that roadhouse feel.
The song “Hang Down Your Head” is loosely based on the folk song “Tom Dooley“, with the lyrics altered but the melody remaining mostly intact.
Rolling Stone called Rain Dogs Waits’ “finest portrait of the tragic kingdom of the streets.”The album’s title comes from an expression which suggests such an atmosphere. Waits cast further light on the metaphor by stating that the album was about “People who live outdoors. You know how after the rain you see all these dogs that seem lost, wandering around. The rain washes away all their scent, all their direction. So all the people on the album are knit together, by some corporeal way of sharing pain and discomfort.”
According to Barney Hoskyns, the album’s general theme of “the urban dispossessed” was inspired in part by Martin Bell’s 1984 documentary Streetwise, to which Waits had been asked to contribute music.
“Clap Hands” 3:47
“Cemetery Polka” 1:51
“Jockey Full of Bourbon” 2:45
“Tango Till They’re Sore” 2:49
“Big Black Mariah” 2:44
“Diamonds & Gold” 2:31
“Hang Down Your Head” Kathleen Brennan, Waits 2:32
Here is one of Tom Waits best songs from his brilliant album “Rain Dogs” (I’ll come back to this album tomorrow).
From allmusic – Bill Janovitz:
The street-poet and boho balladeer side of Tom Waits is on full display on this urban hymn. “Downtown Train” tackles the alienating anonymity of city life while simultaneously capturing the old romance of New York City and the potential small-town neighborhood feel of areas like Brooklyn. This romantic song about pursuing a love has some trademark sharp and quintessential Waits lines like “I’m shining like a new dime,” which seem old-fashioned in a warm and welcoming way, like the well-worn catch phrases your father or grandfather might toss around. The verses of “Downtown Train” are chock-full with more concrete and evocative images than all of the contemporary Top 40 pop hits combined; images like “another yellow moon has punched a hole in the nighttime,” “The downtown trains are full/With all those Brooklyn girls/They try so hard to break out of their little worlds,” and “you wave your hands and they scatter like crows” ring of Ira Gershwin and Cole Porter. The song is a perfect modern pop structure, somewhat rare for Waits in this era when he was moving away from the folk-jazz troubadour persona and a little more towards the avant-garde…. read more over @ allmusic.com
Outside another yellow moon
Punched a hole in the nighttime, yes
I climb through the window and down the street
Shining like a new dime
The downtown trains are full
With all those Brooklyn girls
They try so hard to break out of their little worlds
You wave your hand and they scatter like crows
They have nothing that will ever capture your heart
They’re just thorns without the rose
Be careful of them in the dark
Oh if I was the one
You chose to be your only one
Oh baby can’t you hear me now
Will I see you tonight
On a downtown train
Every night its just the same
You leave me lonely, now
I know your window and I know its late
I know your stairs and your doorway
I walk down your street and past your gate
I stand by the light at the four way
You watch them as they fall
They stay at the carnival
But they’ll never win you back
Will I see you tonight
On a downtown train
Where every night its just the same
You leave me lonely
Will I see you tonight
On a downtown train
All of my dreams just fall like rain
All upon a downtown train
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2. Like A Rolling Stone
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6. Blind Willie McTell (electric version)
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8. It's All Over Now, Baby Blue
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