Friday, June 09, 2006

FDF Volume 1 Issue 15:- Tom Waits - Closing Time

Happy to bring on new contributor Annoyed (check his blog out for some good reads on the world around us). He has been a fan of FDF and expressed interest. Here is is first, of hopefully many, installments.

Album - Closing Time
Artist - Tom Waits
Produced By: Jerry Yester
Released - 1973

Overview - Tom Waits is one of the great American artists of the past 50 years. A singer/songwriter. A composer and an actor. The man wears many hats, all of them well. As the years have gone by he has taken bigger risks and pushed the borders of his music further and further. Sometimes, right off the edge of sanity! His voice has turned into what can be best described as Fozzi Bear meets Louis Armstrong for a pint of whiskey. He's the real deal folks. An artist that walks the walk while having nothing to prove to anyone. An artist's artist, he has no casual fans. Love him or hate him he stands uniquely alone in the music world. He isn't for the feeble minded or the weak of heart. A typical Waits audience contains college professors, painters, film makers, writers, students, and other musicians. They "get" it and it's a wonderful little community in which to belong.

His tunes have been covered by a wide range of artists. From The Eagles to Tim Buckley. From Bruce Springsteen to 10,000 Maniacs to Rod Stewart and Johnny Cash. And many, many more in between.

FDF Comments (aka the Songs) - "Closing Time" and Wait's second album "The Heart of Saturday Night" are by far the most easily digestible of his career. It was before the voice changed and the themes got darker and darker. In fact, listening to this most people who know his later work will say "I can't believe that's Tom Waits. He sounds so different"

Closing Time is still my favorite Wait's album for it's simplicity. The lyrics are heartbreaking (Martha & I Hope I Don't Fall in Love with You), the music sweeping and beautiful (Grapefruit Moon & Little Trip to Heaven)but the whole of the album never get weighed down the sum of its' parts. 12 tracks that could all stand alone but work as a whole wonderfully. No filler here!

Waltzes, lullabies, blues, jazz, country, driving songs and drinking songs, you name it! It's all here switching back and forth effortlessly. Anyone who likes singer songwriters and is missing this album has a HUGE hole in their CD collection.

Where is he now - (taken from here)

Most recently, Waits has contributed "Little Drop of Poison" to the Shrek 2 soundtrack and recorded "King Kong" for the Daniel Johnston tribute album, Waits also collaborated on a song with The Eels for an upcoming album, as well as with Los Lobos on their most recent release The Ride. Waits contributed a song titled, "Day After Tomorrow" from the new record to the Future Soundtrack of America, a compilation album supporting an administration change due out this summer on Barsuk Records. Notably, "Day After Tomorrow" is Waits' first overtly political song and it works so beautifully because of its timelessness, which is unique for a song of this genre.

On the theatrical side, The Black Rider is making its North American premiere at A.C.T. in San Francisco on September 1, while on the big screen, Waits can be seen opposite Iggy Pop in Jim Jarmusch's critically acclaimed film of vignettes, Coffee & Cigarettes.

FDF Personal Comments:

Unfortunately, Tom hasn't toured full time since the mid 90's. The reason being: He just doesn't enjoy it!

He has done a handful of West Coast shows and, most recently, showed up at Radio City Music Hall for a benefit concert in support for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. No word if he will ever tour again for any extended period of time. This is really too bad because he is a fantastic performer as proven on the many bootlegs I own.

FDF Overall Take

Absolutely essential listening for anyone who enjoys great music. Period!

Other Tom Waits albums worth looking into:

1. The Heart of Saturday Night - 1974
2. Nighthawks at the Diner - 1976
3. Mule Variations

Honestly, they are all worth owning, as I do, but those three along with "Closing Time" will give a good platform to leap from.



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