cool hand bak

Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Pay The Fiddler Off 'Til I Come Back

Hows about a short post to get back into the swing of things? While we were waiting in line (God bless general admission!) to see Mr. Dylan in Denver, my buddy Leroy slipped out and down the street to a local independent record store. I believe it was actually called Independent Record Store. He returned bearing gifts. Well, one gift to be precise, but it's a gift that keeps on giving (pah-dum-shh!). What he bought me was Tom Waits' Big Time, one of the two remaining Waits albums I didn't own. Now all that's left is the soundtrack he did for Jim Jarmusch's Night On Earth.

I've been a fan of Mr. Waits since back in the day, long before it was the cool thing to be. Long, long before the hipsters got ahold of his Anti- records and began to champion him as the last genuine madman of music. It's a real pleasure to finally hear these songs that I've cherished in their studio versions in their nuttier and even more alive live versions. So, once again, thanks Leroy, you da man! I would say I owe you one, but I basically got you into Waits, so for all intents and purposes I suppose we're even.

Tom Waits - "Way Down In The Hole [Live]"

Tom Waits - "Train Song [Live]"

Tom Waits - "Clap Hands [Live]"

I love how theatrical Tom is live. Back in the late 80s, when he was signed to Island, the majority of his songs were perfect for this kind of treatment. Not another artist could pull it off. Must've been a joy to catch those shows. Unless you go even further back with Tom and his music than I do, Big Time is as close to live Waits as you're likely to get, so feast up! (Leroy, despite the fact that you warned me that this version of "Clap Hands" pales in comparison to the original (on Rain Dogs for you Philistines out there), I think it's an equally valid, equally enjoyable take on the song. Don't forget, my opinions are right.)

I mentioned a short post, so I'll wrap it up now. Listen to Tom folks, you can learn a lot from him. You don't want to end up like the soldier in the beginning of "Train Song", do you? The Anti- albums are great, but you gotta go back to the Asylum and Island albums too. For further enlightenment and more of Waits' wisdom, visit his official website. You'll thank yourself later on in life.

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