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gallows fodder
08-30-2001, 09:10 AM
Mr. Eutychus said something here (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=84366) that made me think...



Well it's Ninth and Hennepin
All the doughnuts have names that sound like prostitutes
And the moon's teeth marks are on the sky
Like a tarp thrown all over this
And the broken umbrellas like dead birds
And the steam comes out of the grill
Like the whole goddamn town's ready to blow...
And the bricks are all scarred with jailhouse tattoos
And everyone is behaving like dogs
And the horses are coming down Violin Road
And Dutch is dead on his feet
And all the rooms they smell like diesel
And you take on the dreams of the ones who have slept here
And I'm lost in the window, and I hide in the stairway
And I hang in the curtain, and I sleep in your hat...
And no one brings anything small into a bar around here
They all started out with bad directions
And the girl behind the counter has a tattooed tear
"One for every year he's away", she said
Such a crumbling beauty, ah
There's nothing wrong with her that a hundred dollars won't fix
She has that razor sadness that only gets worse
With the clang and the thunder of the Southern Pacific going by
And the clock ticks out like a dripping faucet
'til you're full of rag water and bitters and blue ruin
And you spill out over the side to anyone who will listen...
And I've seen it all, I've seen it all
Through the yellow windows of the evening train...




*sigh* Poetry, that is. Poetry.


What Tom Waits songs/lyrics do you love?

dropzone
08-30-2001, 09:16 AM
Even "Old '55," despite being recorded by the (gaaak!) Eagles, is great.

For future reference, management frowns on extended or full quotes that violate copyrights.

gallows fodder
08-30-2001, 09:26 AM
Oh, I'm sorry! I won't do it again.

Why A Duck
08-30-2001, 09:34 AM
The version of "Shore Leave" from the live covert movie "Big Time" is just too beautiful for words. I love that whole damn movie.

Spritle
08-30-2001, 09:50 AM
Beautiful Maladiies is an excellent compilation.

Fave tunes are:
Time
Innocent when you Dream
Hohnsburg, Illinois
Emotional Weather Report ("Cold front coming from the bedroom" is such a cool line.)
November
Good Old World

I also like I Don't Wanna Grow Up and even like the Ramones' version.

Most of the new album is superb, IMHO.

Many people are surprised when they find out that a song they like from some band was written by TW. Kinda like when you find out "Forever Young" was written by Dylan, etc.

Labdad
08-30-2001, 10:38 AM
One night back in 1976, I was driving from Mobile, AL to Macon, GA. Somewhere in south Alabama I tuned into a radio station from God knows where and heard Waits' rendition of "Big Joe and Phantom 309" in its entirety. I had heard "Heart of Saturday Night," so I knew who Waits was, but I had never heard this song. (Hell, at the time, I didn't even know who Red Sovine was!) It was transcendental; the type of thing where you merge with your radio while driving through the dark and your soul is out there in the ether somewhere bound up in the radio transmission. I had a companion in the car with me. We both sat transfixed in silence for six and a half minutes or so, and then my companion applauded at the end of the song. In the twenty-five years since, there have been only had two or three times that I've had an equivalent radio experience.

I LOVE it when I hear a Waits song for the first time on the radio! That was the case with "Step Right Up." I had to pull over to the side of the road I was laughing so hard after Tom said, "Christ, you don't know the meaning of heartbreak, buddy!"

Some other faves:

"It's colder than a ticket taker's smile at the Ivar theater on a Saturday night."

"Colleen's belly was shakin' like jelly and I'm gettin' harder than Chinese algebra."

"I know a girl, she been married so many times, she got rice marks all over her face"

"I was using parking meters as walking sticks."

"Id like to get some Danger! High Voltage! slacks."

Ogre
08-30-2001, 10:38 AM
I was introduced to "Frank's Wild Years" long ago, and immediately fell in love. It was utterly unlike anything I'd heard before.

My favorite Waits album is "Bone Machine." I love the dark, sinister songs on it, especially "Murder in the Red Barn."

There's nothin' strange about an axe with bloodstains in the barn,
there's always some killin' you got to do around the farm.

I have Bone Machine, Frank's Wild Years, Blue Valentine, Swordfishtrombones, Nighthawks at the Diner, The Black Rider, and Mule Variations. All are excellent.

Why A Duck
08-30-2001, 11:00 AM
Originally posted by Ogre
I have Bone Machine, Frank's Wild Years, Blue Valentine, Swordfishtrombones, Nighthawks at the Diner, The Black Rider, and Mule Variations. All are excellent.

Aw man, you're missing Rain Dogs, my favorite disc of all time. You even get the original (and infinitely superior) version of Downtown Train later done by Rod Stewart and Patti Smyth.

Don't forget the early stuff too. Granted, he get's really interesting when he jumped over to Island records, but his early Elektra stuff rules too. Titles like: Closing Time, Small Change, and The Heart of Saturday Night are all worthy.

Also of note, Tom has done some guest work on tunes like the Replacements song Date to Church and Primus' Tommy the Cat that are pretty cool.

Then of course there was a tribute album called Step Right Up that has some good covers on it.

I'll stop now.

TwistofFate
08-30-2001, 11:00 AM
It aint what the moon did.


"Small change" is an album that had a profound effect on my view of vocalists.

The imagery he creates on that album (and on Closing Time) is absolutely beautiful, and can connect with totally, even though I probably will never be in the situation he describes ;)



say can you lend me a couple of bucks...

to go Waltzing Matilda.... Waltzing Matilda....

Ich Bin's
08-30-2001, 11:16 AM
No one, no one, can say the word "pistol" like Tom Waits. That word now belongs to him. I just borrow it.

I've said it before, and I'll keep saying it. By my estimation I've seen over one thousand shows, and Tom Waits was hands down the best live show ever. Ever.


I think Rain Dogs is my favorite. Also Swordfishtrombones and Frank's Wild Years.

I've got hair on my chest, I look good without a shirt

Sixteen shells from a thirty-ought six

I got a telephone call from Istanbul, my baby's comin home today

Cut me a switch an' hold your breath til the sun goes down

He once killed a man with a guitar string; he's been seen at the table with kings

Come down off the cross, we can use the wood

The piano's been drinking.......

Olentzero
08-30-2001, 11:50 AM
Aw, shit yeah.

I first encountered Tom about 11 years ago when I got a tape of collected songs in a Secret Santa exchange. It had Ol' 55, The Piano Has Been Drinking, Diamonds on My Windshield (my absolute fave) and a cover of Somewhere that absolutely blew my freakin' socks off. And I really dig Down By Law, too.

I have a dub of Rain Dogs on tape somewhere but I gotta start getting CDs of this stuff - but I had to step in and give a shout 'cos the man is indeed a poet.

Purd Werfect
08-30-2001, 12:07 PM
As with Ogre, I have to go with Bone Machine as my favorite, but I love them all.


How do your pistol and your Bible and your
Sleeping pills go,
Are you still jumping out of windows in expensive clothes?

Well I fell in love
With your sailor's mouth and your wounded eyes.
You better get down on the floor
Don't you know it's war
Tell me who are you this time?
Tell me who are you this time?



'Cause hell is boiling over
And heaven is full
We're chained to the world
And we all gotta pull


It just doesn't get any better than that.

Ogre
08-30-2001, 01:57 PM
Originally posted by pcubed
Originally posted by Ogre
I have Bone Machine, Frank's Wild Years, Blue Valentine, Swordfishtrombones, Nighthawks at the Diner, The Black Rider, and Mule Variations. All are excellent.

Aw man, you're missing Rain Dogs, my favorite disc of all time. You even get the original (and infinitely superior) version of Downtown Train later done by Rod Stewart and Patti Smyth.

Don't forget the early stuff too. Granted, he get's really interesting when he jumped over to Island records, but his early Elektra stuff rules too. Titles like: Closing Time, Small Change, and The Heart of Saturday Night are all worthy.

Also of note, Tom has done some guest work on tunes like the Replacements song Date to Church and Primus' Tommy the Cat that are pretty cool.

Then of course there was a tribute album called Step Right Up that has some good covers on it.

I'll stop now.

Ah, my friend. I love the early stuff too, even though some idiot critics I've read labeled it as immature and contrived.

Most particularly, I like the Heart of Saturday Night. I just don't own it. :)

And how about his movie appearances? "Night on Earth," "Rumble Fish," etc. Not many people realize that he played Renfield in "Bram Stoker's Dracula."

Anybody cath the VH1 special he did recently?

Why A Duck
08-30-2001, 02:08 PM
Huge part in "Ironweed"

Bit part in "The Fisher King"

VH1 Special? What special? I missed a special?

Ogre
08-30-2001, 02:29 PM
Originally posted by pcubed
Huge part in "Ironweed"

Bit part in "The Fisher King"

VH1 Special? What special? I missed a special?

Ayup. I don't know that much about it, as I was channel surfing late one night and happened across it.

*Click* 700 Club *Click* When Puppies Attack *Click* Tom Waits *Click*...

Wait. What the F***?! Tom Waits?

I caught about the last 10 minutes of it, and haven't seen it since. It appeared to be an intimate, acoustic sort of show.

Johnny Angel
08-30-2001, 02:31 PM
My favorite album is Nighthawks at the Diner. He's playing for an audience, setting up his songs with patter. Very charming. I've heard it claimed that this is the inspiration behind Rowlf the Dog from The Muppet Show.

Olentzero
08-30-2001, 03:19 PM
Originally posted by Johnny Angel
I've heard it claimed that this is the inspiration behind Rowlf the Dog from The Muppet Show.

Rowlf (http://www.muppetcentral.com/articles/rarelyseen/rowlf.shtml) is a lot older than that, unless I'm cheating Tom Waits out of a couple decades of career.

Olentzero
08-30-2001, 03:21 PM
Oh yeah, movie appearances. A decent part in "Mystery Men" needs to be on the list!

Spritle
08-30-2001, 03:33 PM
decent part in "Queens Logic" a singularly unspectacular movie.

he played a plain cloths cop in "The Two Jakes".

uglybeech
08-30-2001, 05:06 PM
....they were so happy.

Dr_Paprika
08-30-2001, 06:03 PM
Bit part in Dracula.

Love Tom Waits. Don't really understand his obvious obsession with Chinese, Cubans and Puerto Ricans though.

I'll be a rain dog too.

Billy Rubin
08-30-2001, 06:42 PM
Originally posted by Olentzero
Oh yeah, movie appearances. A decent part in "Mystery Men" needs to be on the list!

I LOVED that- I WANT A BLAMETHROWER!

My favorites will always be Tom Traubert's Blues- "No one speaks english, and everything's broken, and my staceys are soaking wet.."

and Frank's Wild Years- "Franks wife was a spent piece of used jet trash made good bloody mary's & kep her mouth shut most of the time."




B.

Never could stand that dog....

LabRat
08-30-2001, 07:44 PM
My vote would be something from Blue Valentine. $29 maybe or Never Talk to Strangers with Bette Midler. Tango 'Till They're Sore is also a big fave. Gotta love the line "let me fall out of the window with confetti in my hair". BTW: Who else wants to kick Rod Stewart's ass for what he did to Downtown Train?

-LabRat

MrVisible
08-30-2001, 08:19 PM
If you're talking Blue Valentine, then for me it's Sweet Little Bullet (From a Pretty Blue Gun). The first second of that song gives me goosebumps.

The Big Time version of Sixteen Shells From a 30-0-6. Never has a guitar sounded more visceral, more menacing, more... evil.

What amazes me most about Tom Waits, though, is his incredible emotional range. He does everything from light comedy (his duet with Bette Midler, I Never Talk to Strangers) to intense drama (Ruby's Arms), with amazing variation, never revisiting a theme without revamping it completely.

I would have killed to see the LA show last year that featured both him and Tonio K. Oh, well.

Jekeira
08-30-2001, 08:45 PM
I don't actually own a Tom Waits album and I probably wouldn't recognize him if he was singing to me right underneath my window.

However ...

If you like the blues, you must get the disc Wicked Grin by John Hammond, in which he sings all Tom Waits songs. I think Waits also produced it and plays guitar on it. Awesome album. Songs on it include "2:19" (my favorite), "Shore Leave," "Murder in the Red Barn," "Heart Attack and Vine," "Sixteen Shells from a Thirty-ought-six," and lots more.

buh-buh-buh-BACON!!
08-30-2001, 10:17 PM
Well, even though I only own Bone Machine, I think Tom Waits is spectacular. It's just one of those things where you always mean to pick up more stuff by the person or group, but never get around to it.

What I like about him, as most of you have mentioned, is that he is truly a poet. But what I appreciate is that he is not pretentious or bombastic about it. That really just rubs me the wrong way, how some people have to be "artists" or "poets". Waits just "is".

Another really good cover album is by Holly Cole, she puts a really nice jazzy, lounge-singer kind of spin on things.

As far as movie appearances go, I thought he was great in Short Cuts, as Lilly Tomlin's drunk limo-driving husband. Good stuff.

Great guy who isn't as popular as he should be.

HP Ellison
08-31-2001, 12:28 AM
I'm a huge fan of tom waits; just check out the quote! I actually was fortunate enough to see him in Toronto during the Mule Variations tour. Maybe the best concert I've ever been to. Every album from Frank's Wild Years to Mule Variations has been absolutely outstanding, and should be required to be in everyone's record collection. I'd say my favorite album is The Black Rider; William S. Burroughs and Tom Waits? Yes, please!

gallows fodder
08-31-2001, 07:41 AM
Right on, MrVisible. Tom's emotional range is very impressive. Also, he can be sentimental, but it's never embarrassing. Mule Variations has some good examples of this in "Georgia Lee" and "Take It With Me" -- the former is about a tragedy, the latter is about love, and boy, you feel it in your gut when he sings those songs but you don't wince. He keeps his dignity.

My favorite album of his, historically, is Rain Dogs (with Small Change and Bone Machine in the running), but Mule Variations has grown on me. "Pony" -- man, oh, man, it's like he was made to sing that song. Only his voice could do it.

It really gets my goat when people dismiss him because they can't take his voice. It's an acquired taste, like the whiskey and cigarettes that made it....don't give up too early or you'll miss out on the goodness of his art.

MrO
08-31-2001, 08:13 AM
Originally posted by HP Ellison
I'd say my favorite album is The Black Rider; William S. Burroughs and Tom Waits?

Say, HP, a question. I downloaded something from Napster called "T'ain't No Sin"--it's attributed to Burroughs and Waits, but the only voice I can hear is Burroughs'. Is this from The Black Rider? If so, I need to get it. I love both their voices.

My favorite Waits album would have to be Nighthawks at the Diner, the first one I ever encountered. Probably my favorite album of all time, actually.

Also, for film appearances, has anyone mentioned "Down by Law?" One of my favorite movies of all time. I've never found anything that Tom Waits was involved in that I didn't love.

Labdad
08-31-2001, 09:07 AM
Checking in again with more TW memories...

Ever seen the film "Wolfen?" There's a seen that takes place in a bar with a drunken piano player carrying on in the background. You've got to look closely or you'll miss it, but I'm pretty sure it's TW.

Back in '78 at a long since closed Atlanta club I saw a double bill: Leon Redbone and Tom Waits on the same stage! Billed as an evening of the avant-garde, and indeed it was!

Saw TW at the same club again a few years later. He had a '57 Chevy and a street light brought on stage when he performed "Small Change." There were soap flakes or whatever being sprinkled on him from above to approximate snow in the glow of the street light. That song was pure theater!

HP Ellison
08-31-2001, 11:19 AM
Yeah, T'aint no Sin is indeed from Black Rider. Tom wrote the music and William wrote the lyrics and did the vocals. Buy the album; it's fafantastic.

mouthbreather
08-31-2001, 03:46 PM
Re: The Black Rider, it's one of my least favorites of his. Of course, that is still better that 99.8% of all other music that exists, but I like other albums a lot more.



Originally posted by Ogre Originally posted by pcubed
VH1 Special? What special? I missed a special? Ayup. I don't know that much about it, as I was channel surfing late one night and happened across it.

*Click* 700 Club *Click* When Puppies Attack *Click* Tom Waits *Click*...

Wait. What the F***?! Tom Waits?

I caught about the last 10 minutes of it, and haven't seen it since. It appeared to be an intimate, acoustic sort of show.

Indeed, VH1's "Storytellers" had Mr. Waits on. One hour long, and a good mix of his old and new songs and funny stories. I am lucky enough to have this on VHS, right after (same tape) Waits' "Austin City Limits" performance.

What a genius. I own all but about 3 of his albums on disc, and I there's a very good chance that he is my all time favorite. Other bands come and go, but his music still gives me the same feeling it does when I first heard it about 9 years ago. He's one of the true good things in life.

mouthbreather
08-31-2001, 03:50 PM
Originally posted by MrO
Also, for film appearances, has anyone mentioned "Down by Law?" [/B]


::stomps around in a circle::

I SCREAM, YOU SCREAM, WE ALL SCREAM FOR ICE CREAM!



sorry, I'll go away now.

Ogre
08-31-2001, 04:42 PM
Indeed, VH1's "Storytellers" had Mr. Waits on. One hour long, and a good mix of his old and new songs and funny stories. I am lucky enough to have this on VHS, right after (same tape) Waits' "Austin City Limits" performance.

What a genius. I own all but about 3 of his albums on disc, and I there's a very good chance that he is my all time favorite. Other bands come and go, but his music still gives me the same feeling it does when I first heard it about 9 years ago. He's one of the true good things in life.

I absolutely agree with you.

I wasn't aware that Tom Waits had been on ACL.

I don't suppose you'd perhaps be so kind as to let me have a copy of the tape, would you?

Sofa King
08-31-2001, 05:57 PM
Well, he came home from the War
With a party in his head
And an idea for a fireworks display
He knew that he'd be ready
With a stainless steel machete
And half a pint of Ballantine's each day

moggy
08-31-2001, 11:18 PM
I LOVE TOM WAITS!! I love the songs where he sounds like he's drunk and has been smoking unfiltered Camels since he was 5 years old (Tom Traubert's Blues, Piano Has Been Drinking), I love the songs where it's just him and the piano. Kentucky Avenue has the ability to make me cry. I don't have any albums, just a compilation that a friend made, and stuff I got off Napster. I don't like his stuff that sounds more like modern jazz, I like the slow piano bar stuff. Grapefruit Moon, Time, Shiver Me Timbers, Ol'55, San Diego Serenade. I got a version of him performing Silent Night from Napster, I really like it. Anyone ever hear his version of Somewhere from West Side Story? Great stuff.

"And it's a battered old suitcase
and a hotel someplace
and a wound that will never heal" -Tom Traubert's Blues

"My goodbye is written/ By the moon in the sky" -Shiver me Timbers

Poetry, man, sheer poetry.


BTW, what the heck are "stacys"? (mentioned in Tom Traubert's Blues) Some kind of shoe? Or a brand of raincoat?

MrO
08-31-2001, 11:52 PM
Originally posted by moggy
BTW, what the heck are "stacys"? (mentioned in Tom Traubert's Blues) Some kind of shoe? Or a brand of raincoat?

Yep, shoes. Stacy Adams. Used to have a pair myself. Mine were ankle-high, lace-up, leather-soled dress shoes. Looked very cool, but I don't care for leather soles.

HP Ellison
09-01-2001, 01:47 AM
Originally posted by mouthbreather
Re: The Black Rider, it's one of my least favorites of his.

I'm surprised by this; why is it one of your least favorites? I thought the album was absolute perfection. You have your eerie instrumentals, your W.S.B. touch, and several of his all-time great songs thrown in there as well. Lucky Day may have my all-time favorite Waitism; "When youve lost all your dreams, there's nothing like a campfire and a can of beans!" Awww yeah.

mouthbreather
09-01-2001, 01:14 PM
I agree that the "campfire and a can of beans" is golden. And there are some other high points mixed in:

The swirling, moody feel that "Black Box Theme" has to it -- Like being lost in the woods on a windy night. "Just the Right Bullets" is classic Waits, and "I'll Shoot the Moon" should be included with the best of his quirky love songs. "Crossroads" utilizes that spaghetti-western style gee-tar as nearly perfect as it can be done. This song actually seems to be a better fit on Bone Machine -- Or is that just me? WB's lyrics for "Crossroads" are great (but notice that Waits is singing, not ol' Willie. He should stick to writing, not singing. Well, not that he should stick to much of anything these days, but... The only thing I liked his voice on was his narration on the audiobook of Junky. It just fit.)


But "T'aint no sin", as much as I like Waits and Burroughs individually, sucks. Sorry, but I find it really hard to get through. And that sort of clunky, eastern European old world music can be really nice when it's done right (See an album called Helium by The Tin Hat Trio -- Waits even does guest vocals on the last track). Some of that style works here for me, and some of it doesn't.

"Oily Night" -- the music is OK, but I can really do without the 'Death Metal on quaaludes' style of vocals.

"The Last Rose of Summer" -- Feh. Nothing doing here -- just dull.

"That's the Way" -- I should like this song, but I don't. It almost seems as if it's Waits trying to do a caricature of his own music. If that makes any sense...


Like I said, just because this is my least favorite Waits album does not mean I don't like it. I just don't like it as much as I do the others. In fact, I have a 2 hour drive to do today, I think I may pull out The Black Rider for the trip. That usually happens to me (I want to hear the album) after I think about it for a bit.

Stoid
09-01-2001, 07:11 PM
I heard and fell in love with "Goin' Out West" which is now on my all-time faves list.