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1979 Tom Waits concert on PBS


David Emm

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Tom is very private about his family, but in an interview, he did comment that his wife came into his life as a creative person in her own right. She apparently helped him focus in a beneficial manner that led to a bit of his now-trademarked junkyard percussion and broader songwriting around the "Swordfishtrombones" period. I'll tip the hat and give her due credit. Someone once asked Danny Kaye how he came up with all of those great songs. He said "Oh, I don't write those, that's my wife Sylivia Fine. She puts a good head on my shoulders." Look, Girl power and smart men who acknowledge it.

 

In one "Nighthawks" intro, Tom says "The guys in the band come from pretty good families, but individually, there's somethin' about 'em that just ain't right!" :laugh:

 

 

"Your Honor, according to witnesses,
    Miss Congeniality led the attack
     with a kick to the groin."
           ~ Dan Fielding

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Thanks for the heads up David.

Waits is a great and creative writer/performer, but he's not for everyone. My wife just walked in while I was playing that Austin City Limits clip and she reminded me about the first time I played some Tom Waits for her some twenty years ago. I had chosen to share Tom's Kentucky Avenue, one of the saddest song that I know. Just when the song gets to the climax where Tom sings about making wings from the child's wheelchair spokes, I turn to my wife to offer her a tissue. Clearly not impacted in the same way that I had been, she was giggling over TW's singing. Oh well; I still love her. Beauty is in the ear of the behearer. (I know a musician who is convinced that Monk was a hack. Go figure.) I think that one has to kind of accept Waits' persona in order to hear his performances.

 

Just as a side note, my favorite cover of Wait's material is John Hammond's Wicked Grin. Highly recommended.

 

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Been a fan for decades. I get accused of sounding a bit like his younger version sometimes. Funny enough, I completely reject (and wince at) the persona, but love the music, instrumentation, arrangements, careful writing, and iconoclastic sensibility that comes with it.

 

Have you heard the Southside Johnny album of big band covers of Tom Waits songs? It's schlocky and wonderful, and I wore it out when it came out ten years ago or so.

 

Skip ahead to Grapefruit Moon at 19:44 for pure weird somehow-it-works goodness.

 

[video:youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bX5DJYTWyvE

"Ghost of Christmas Present" released 12.2.22 * (Not the jolly kind of Christmas song.)

https://joshweinstein.hearnow.com/

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Have you heard the Southside Johnny album of big band covers of Tom Waits songs? It's schlocky and wonderful, and I wore it out when it came out ten years ago or so.

 

Skip ahead to Grapefruit Moon at 19:44 for pure weird somehow-it-works goodness.

 

Wow, that is a bit surprising. Thanks for that too. It sounds so, um, fancy. Then again, Waits did some pretty well orchestrated stuff himself (e.g. Somewhere). Great arranging and I like Southside Johnny's voice in this material, but I just feel like I ran into Tom Waits wearing a pressed tuxedo. I'd have to hear this a couple more times in order to fully come to terms with it. It is a bit far from Harry Parch meets Howlin' Wolf.

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Saturday, December 23 on Austin City Limits. Tom is a cockeyed giant with few real peers. Set your DVRs.

 

http://acltv.com/watch/tv-schedule/

 

Oh man thanks! If you're ever in Boston or NYC give me a shout, I owe you some drinks for this one.

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