Category Archives: Tom Waits

Classic Concert: Tom Waits Rockpalast 1977

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Classic Concert: Tom Waits Rockpalast 1977

Excellent quality recording of Tom Waits, live at WDR Studios, in Koln, Germany on April 18th, 1977. Running time is 79 minutes, the quality is 8 out of 10. The performance is great, classic, jazzy Tom Waits. I’ve collected the whole show into one playlist.

Rockpalast (Rock Palace) is a German music television show that broadcasts live on German television station Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR).Rockpalast started in 1974 and continues to this day. Hundreds of rock and jazz bands have performed on Rockpalast. Some acts were recorded for broadcast and for retail sale. All-night marathon shows called “Rock Night” (Rocknacht) were produced once or twice a year from 1977 through 1986 and simulcast throughout Europe via the Eurovision network of TV broadcasters. This was one of the most important influences on my musical education growing up. I longed and lived for those “Rock nights”. We all did, and we arranged all night parties when they aired. Ah, good times!

This is early jazz-quartet style Tom Waits as opposed to the more ragged and loose Waits he turned into after Swordfish Trombones and Rain Dogs. It is different but I love both eras. This is maybe the best tv-concert from that period.

Enjoy!

Continue reading Classic Concert: Tom Waits Rockpalast 1977

December 7: Tom Waits is 65 Happy Birthday

 

[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.”
~Daniel Durchholz

“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:

Continue reading December 7: Tom Waits is 65 Happy Birthday

October 6: David Hidalgo is 60 Happy Birthday


One of our heroes has birthday today!

David Hidalgo (born October 6, 1954 in Los Angeles, California) is an American singer-songwriter, best known for his work with the band Los Lobos. He is also a member of the supergroup Los Super Seven and of the Latin Playboys, a side project band made up of some of the members of Los Lobos. He formed another side project band with Mike Halby of Canned Heat, called Houndog.

Hidalgo’s songs have been covered by the Jerry Garcia Band, Waylon Jennings, Bonnie Raitt and others. He performed at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival 2010. His son, David Hidalgo, Jr. is the current drummer for Social Distortion.

In addition to his work with Los Lobos, Hidalgo often plays musical instruments such as accordion, violin, 6-string banjo, cello, requinto jarocho, percussion, drums and guitar as a session musician for other artists’ releases.
(read more at Wikipedia)

Continue reading October 6: David Hidalgo is 60 Happy Birthday

Today: Tom Waits: Rain Dogs was released in 1985, 28 years ago

tom-waits-rain-dogs

“We are all just monkeys with money and guns.”
~Tom Waits

If you get far enough away you’ll be on your way back home.
~Tom Waiys – “Blind Love”

Tango till they’re sore @ Letterman 1986 + interview:

From Wikipedia:

Released 30 September 1985
Recorded RCA Studios
Genre Rock, experimental rock
Length 53:46
Label Island
Producer Tom Waits

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.”

tom-waits-rain-dogs - back

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”.

Tom-Waits

Reception:

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.
~William Ruhlmann (allmusic.com)

 …..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.)

~Killian Fox: @ The Guardian

 

tom waits rain dogs

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.

Track Listing:

  1. “Singapore” 2:46
  2. “Clap Hands” 3:47
  3. “Cemetery Polka” 1:51
  4. “Jockey Full of Bourbon” 2:45
  5. “Tango Till They’re Sore” 2:49
  6. “Big Black Mariah” 2:44
  7. “Diamonds & Gold” 2:31
  8. “Hang Down Your Head” Kathleen Brennan, Waits 2:32
  9. “Time” 3:55
  10. “Rain Dogs” 2:56
  11. “Midtown” (instrumental) 1:00
  12. “9th & Hennepin” 1:58
  13. “Gun Street Girl” 4:37
  14. “Union Square” 2:24
  15. “Blind Love” 4:18
  16. “Walking Spanish” 3:05
  17. “Downtown Train” 3:53
  18. “Bride of Rain Dog” (instrumental) 1:07
  19. “Anywhere I Lay My Head”

Personnel:

Performer
  • Tom Waits – vocals (1–10, 12–17, 19), guitar (2, 4, 6, 8–10, 15–17), organ (3, 19), piano (5, 12), pump organ (8), harmonium (18), banjo (13)
Musicians
  • Tom Waits – vocals (1–10, 12–17, 19), guitar (2, 4, 6, 8–10, 15–17), organ (3, 19), piano (5, 12), pump organ (8), harmonium (18), banjo (13)
  • Michael Blair – percussion (1–4, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17), marimba (2, 7, 10, 12), drums (8, 14, 18), congas (4), bowed saw (12), parade drum (19)
  • Stephen Hodges – drums (1, 2, 4, 6, 10, 11, 15, 16), parade drum (3)
  • Larry Taylor – double bass (1, 3, 4, 6, 8–10, 15), bass (7, 11, 14, 16)
  • Marc Ribot – guitar (1–4, 7, 8, 10)
  • “Hollywood” Paul Litteral – trumpet (1, 11, 19)
  • Bobby Previte – percussion (2), marimba (2)
  • William Schimmel – accordion (3, 9, 10)
  • Bob Funk – trombone (3, 5, 10, 11, 19)
  • Ralph Carney – baritone saxophone (4, 14), saxophone (11, 18), clarinet (12)
  • Greg Cohen – double bass (5, 12, 13)
  • Chris Spedding – guitar (1)
  • Tony Garnier – double bass (2)
  • Keith Richards – guitar (6, 14, 15), backing vocals (15)
  • Robert Musso – banjo (7)
  • Arno Hecht – tenor saxophone (11, 19)
  • Crispin Cioe – saxophone (11, 19)
  • Robert Quine – guitar (15, 17)
  • Ross Levinson – violin (15)
  • John Lurie – alto saxophone (16)
  • G.E. Smith – guitar (17)
  • Mickey Curry – drums (17)
  • Tony Levin – bass (17)
  • Robert Kilgore – organ (17)


Technical personnel:
  • Tom Waits – producer
  • Robert Musso – engineer, mixing (A1–B7, B9, B10)
  • Tom Gonzales – recording
  • Dennis Ferrante – recording
  • Jeff Lippay – recording, mixing (B8)
  • Howie Weinberg – mastering

“Jockey Full of Bourbon” and “Don’t Go into that Barn – London Nov. 2004:

Rain Dogs:

Other September 30:

Continue reading Today: Tom Waits: Rain Dogs was released in 1985, 28 years ago

Today: Tom Waits is 63

[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.”
~Daniel Durchholz

“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:

Clap Hands:

From Wikipedia:

Birth name Thomas Alan Waits
Born December 7, 1949 (age 63)
Pomona, California,United States
Genres Rock, experimental
Occupations Singer-songwriter, musician, actor, composer
Instruments Vocals, piano, guitar
Years active 1972–present
Labels Asylum Records, Island Records, ANTI-
Website Official website

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:

Swordfishtrombones (1983)

……. 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)

Other December 07:

Continue reading Today: Tom Waits is 63