Album Art

Doc Shoe posting on bonus-tunes:

Fuck yeah Tom Waits!  From the Tales From The Underground bootleg, this is an alternate master of “Jersey Girl,” a song you may remember from the Heartattack And Vine album.  You’ll notice this version doesn’t have the swelling accompaniment of a string section—it’s just Waits and his voice and an acoustic guitar.

ArtistTom Waits
TitleJersey Girl (Alternate Master)
AlbumTales From The Underground [Bootleg]



Tom Waits 1999 VH1 Storytellers (44 min 20 sec)

It’s been a while since I posted any St. Tom. So here’s my favorite Tom Waits on film thing.

He’s just that cool here.

Yeah, it’s 44 minutes long so if you don’t like Tom Waits, you won’t like this post. But this show came out just after Mule Variations came out which is my favorite Waits album and he does some killer takes on The House Where Nobody Lives and others. Spectacular. Plus he’s a very entertaining guy.

Crap, I didn’t even know he’d done an episode of Storytellers

(via beejweirsjukebox)

Album Art

"Gun Street Girl" by Tom Waits

There are only two types of people in this world: Those who love Tom Waits, and those who haven’t heard the Rain Dogs album yet.  I’m not sure if it’s my favorite Waits album, but it’s the first one I hand to people who haven’t heard him yet.  Bone Machine might scare them away, y’know?  And it doesn’t hurt that Waits assembles albums the way action-movie bad guys shoot: Just spray and pray, man.  Rain Dogs is nineteen songs that sound like they could’ve been taken from nineteen different artists or even different eras, so hopefully at least one of these songs will make your day.  Me, I love each and every inch of this record.

Oh, and if you want to hear more, check out my Tom Waits Directory.

ArtistTom Waits
TitleGun Street Girl
AlbumRain Dogs

Tom Waits

gene-how asked: Got any more Tom Waits jems off the top of your head. Where are they available?

I’m a Tom Waits fanatic, don’t get me started.  Check out my Tom Waits Directory for selections from every album, live record, soundtrack, etc., plus a few bootlegs I’ve picked up here and there.  

Album Art

"Diamond In Your Mind" by Tom Waits & Kronos Quartet

This might be the most beautiful song I’ve ever heard.

It’s a live track from a benefit concert for the Dali Llama.  Here’s Tom Waits backed by the Kronos Quartet as he offers, like a prayer, an outtake from his Blood Money album: “Diamond In Your Mind.”

If I tried to pick my all-time favorite song, it would change with every day of the week, but this song is probably my favorite more days than not.  It’s the kind of song that gets you through.

ArtistTom Waits & Kronos Quartet
TitleDiamond In Your Mind
AlbumHealing the Divide
Album Art

"Annie’s Back in Town" by Tom Waits

I’ve heard this song on plenty of live bootlegs, and Tom Waits even chose to perform this song on Austin City Limits, but “Annie’s Back in Town” was never included in an album.  Here’s the studio outtake of a song Tom Waits couldn’t quite let go of.

ArtistTom Waits
TitleAnnie's Back in Town
AlbumTales from the Riverside
Album Art

"Ring Around The World: Phase One" by Harry Partch

Harry Partch was from Oakland, the child of Presbyterian missionaries who led him all around the world, and everywhere little Harry went he absorbed the local music like a sponge, and learned to play new musical instruments.  As a young man came to hate “the tyranny of piano-based songwriting and the 12-tone scale,” and burned all his early compositions.  He developed his own 43-tone scale, and like Moondog—another great outsider of American music—he invented his own instruments.  Tom Waits started listening to Partch’s records in the early ’80s, not long after his wife Kathleen introduced him to the works of Captain Beefheart.  This is just some of the raw material that went into Waits records like Rain Dogs.

Anyhow.  Lately I’ve been listening to Harry Partch’s album Seventeen Lyrics Of Li Po, and it’s growing on me.  I can’t promise you’ll like this music—it’s got Acquired Taste written all over it—but I can promise you haven’t heard anything like it before.

ArtistHarry Partch
TitleRing Around The World: Phase One
AlbumTom Waits' Jukebox
Album Art

"Babbachichuija" by Tom Waits

Be warned: This bootleg track is fuckin’ strange, even by Tom Waits' standards.

ArtistTom Waits
AlbumTales From The Underground [Bootleg]
Album Art

"Hell Broke Luce" by Tom Waits

[Editor’s Note: This is something I posted last October, when Bad As Me first came out.  Unfortunately the link is broken so I had to upload this track myself.  It’s worth it, though, because in hindsight “Hell Broke Luce” is the most surprising track on this album.  It’s what proves that Tom Waits is still restless, still searching, still trying on different hats to find another that fits.]

It’s motherfucking Tom Waits.  Need I say more?  This is from his new album, Bad As MeI bought this record as soon as it was released Tuesday morning, but I’ve been insanely busy and I wanted to give it the attention it deserves so I left it sitting by the turntable—until now.  Don’t bother me, damnit!  I’ve been waiting for this record for almost a year

Doc Shoe Geek Moment #28346: Oh, hell yeah, the gang’s all here!  His son Casey Waits is on the drums again, and once again Mr. Waits is working with Les Claypool, Keith Richards, and Marc Ribot.

Doc Shoe Geek Moment #28347: The simplicity of this record is what gets me.  Short songs that get right to the point.  Apparently that was his wife & collaborator Kathleen Brennan’s idea.  Her suggestion for the style of this record was, “Get in, get out.  No fucking around.”

Doc Shoe Geek Moment #28348: That moment at the end where he breaks into “Auld Lang Syne”?  Fucking perfect.

ArtistTom Waits
TitleHell Broke Luce
AlbumBad As Me
Album Art

"Fadin Moon" by Hank III (with Tom Waits)

I had thought that Hank III peaked with his album Straight To Hell, but then I picked up his self-released triple-LP Ghost to a Ghost / Gutter Town.  It’s far and away the best thing he’s ever done.  There’s such a wildly experimental blend of genres of styles to be found here, I remember thinking that Hank III might just be the next Tom Waits.  And sure enough, they did a song together.  I shouldn’t have been so surprised: Waits is such a huge fan that he interviewed Hank III for that issue of Mojo Magazine he guest-edited a couple years back.

ArtistHank Williams III
TitleFadin Moon
AlbumGhost to a Ghost / Gutter Town
Album Art

"Rock Island Line" by Lead Belly

There is nothing I can say about Lead Belly that will do the man and his work justice half so well as what Tom Waits has written:

Songs just like being around some folks more than others.  They won’t just live anywhere.  Birds like some trees better than others.  We don’t know why…  Making up songs is just like coming up with something crazy to do with the air besides just breathing it.  Seems like a waste to just breathe it in and then push it back out quietly.  It must have excited the air to go through Lead Belly as ordinary oxygen and come out the other side as “The Midnight Special” or “Silvie” or “Ella Louise” or “Rock Island Line.”  There’s a bird in South America whose song is so powerful and lovely, and who sings so rarely that when he does sing all the animals in the forest are quiet until his song is finished.  They say to hear it brings luck, to see it insures you a place in heaven.  Lead Belly was loud.  I was born the day after he died, on December 7, 1949, and I passed him in the hall.  He was as strong as Jack Johnson, he was louder than Caruso.  Songs climb up some folks like a vine climbs a trellis.  There is something in Lead Belly’s voice so urgent, “Come here right now and listen. Drop what ever you’re doing…” he’s hollering to you from the next hill over.  It carried bold and impatient.  He broke microphones, they weren’t prepared for his impolite delivery.  When I first heard his voice, I knew it already.  In mole communities they reward the brave ones.  The ones known for tunneling beneath great rivers who faced the dangers involved in pulling off such an incredible feat of engineering, the ones responsible for taking other moles safely to the other side.  Lead Belly is as much a part of the natural world as crows are, as dogs are, children playing in the yard are, trains are, jails are, second floor apartments are, and his songs are safe on the other side.  And they’re all a part of you now.

ArtistLead Belly
TitleRock Island Line
AlbumWhere Did You Sleep Last Night: Lead Belly Legacy, Vol. 1

This Concludes our Tom Waits Marathon on Doc Shoe’s Music Blog

I’ve now posted at least one track from every single Tom Waits record I own—every studio album, plus a shit-ton of soundtracks and live records and bootlegs.  I promise I’ll have a Tom Waits directory up and running this weekend, a sort of Mandatory Waits list for those of you interested in further exploring his work.  And I’ve barely scratched the surface in terms of his collaborations—I just recently learned, for example, that Waits provided some subtle beat-boxing for the Atmosphere song “The Waitress.”  This man is fucking everywhere.

Anyhow, here’s "Hold On" from Mule Variations, the first Tom Waits record I ever heard and the first album I ever bought on vinyl.

Any thoughts?

Album Art

"Cold Water" by Tom Waits

Used to be that Tom Waits was a stylistic shape-shifter, adopting a totally new sound for every record.  But rock critic Barney Hoskyns and my friend Z both complained that Tom Waits’ latest records, like Real Gone and Bad As Me, seem to be in the same vein as Waits’ work on Bone Machine and this album, Mule Variations.

I told Z: It’s not that Waits is out of ideas.  It’s that he’s finally found a totally unique sound.  Nobody else in the world is doing what Tom Waits does now, though many (like the band Man Man) try and fail.  He’s hit his stride.  Tom Waits is now his own genre. 

It’s kind of like when Iggy Pop did those records in Berlin with David Bowie just when Punk was catching on.  He didn’t want to do another loud-and-fast Stooges kinda record like he used to because, as he said, “those other kids were doing that for me.”  But nobody is doing what Tom Waits does.  He’s got the field all to himself, and bless him, he still feels like playing.

ArtistTom Waits
TitleCold Water
AlbumMule Variations

Tom Waits and Iggy Pop in Coffee And Cigarettes

Two American originals in a subtle game of one-upping each other in Jim Jarmusch's film Coffee And Cigarettes.  I love the way Tom Waits sneaks a peak at the jukebox at the end and snorts: “He’s not on here either.”

What the hell is it about American music?  Why do we ignore our best innovators?  Iggy Pop and Tom Waits are easily two of the most influential artists of the latter 20th century, but you never hear them on the radio or find them in your local bar’s jukebox.