Friday, March 23, 2007

Tom Waits: Why Wasn't I listening to this Guy?

This is supposed to be an Albanian Music Blog. But unfortunately, I live in Pittsburgh. So this review is a little bit of stretch, but here's my hook: Tom Waits played Rudy in the filmic rendition of William Kennedy's Pulitizer Prize winning Ironweed. So first of all, this is a reccommendation to read Ironweed, a magical realist novel set in little old Albany, NY that documents a bum's travels from North Albany's St. Agnes Cementary to the hollows of past, to the spectral demons who punctuate his life, to the emptiness of death & friendship, and nearly to the shores of redemption. Not bad for a nearly 200 page book set in the 5-1-8, huh? Well, stop reading this blog right now and read it. Then, once your hooked on it come back and read some more of this blog, I guarantee that all of our reccomendations will be that good. Seriously, we have our finger on the button here people. Oh yeah, and check out the Ironweed Collective, I've never met them myself, but if they are cool enough to take on that name they must be awesome.
On to Tom Waits. His latest album is the three-cd epic Orphans (Anti 2006). The albums nearly sixty songs are arranged according to three different personas, Mr. Waits has embodied during his thirty-three year career: Bawlers, Brawlers, & Bastards. Tom is old. He's real old. Old enough to be my grand-dad.Hell, he's even old enough to be a depression era bum, convincingly. This guy's old, but he's still more badass than almost anyone on the music scene, especially major-labels. He's been called a drinking man's Billy Joel because of his penchant for ballads, but fuck that, he's the self-respecting man's Billy Joel. And we all know that a drinking man is a self-respecting man.
If you've never listened to Tom Waits, definaltey don't start on his disc "Bawlers" which mostly contains spoken word fables of lost love, existential gloom, and some covers of older songs mutilated by Waits's gnashing, curdling voice, that remains his most distinctive characteristic. The highlight of this album for me is a drunken barroom crowd cover of the old Leadbelly song "Goodnight Irene." If you're not singing along with the chorus when the blitzed bandleader cheers "EVERYBODY", turn off your cd player right then. You don't have an iota of passion left in your bloated body and don't deserve Tom Waits, let along Leadbelly. So i guess, you should listen to this disc even if you hadn't heard Tom Waits, but listen to Track 14 first.
So there's alot more to be said about this monster 3-disc album. But I fear I don't have time or authority to say it just yet. But stay tuned, next week's post will include a detailed textual analysis of the parallels between Ironweed and the Bastards disc. Or maybe Brawlers, I haven't decided.
Til then I'll give you a little help for your upcoming Choral Performance:
Irene, goodnight Irene. Irene Goodnight. Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene. I'll kiss you in my dreams.

P.S. Note the Ghosts on the Tom Waits's Cover...

1 comment:

ramblings said...

I saw Waits at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville and he was amazing. The man has some soul, it was ethereal.


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