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  1. #1
    Big science. Hallelujah. noddin0ff's Avatar
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    Tom Waits - Orphans

    Got this from Santa. 3 disks; One word--Excellent.

    The disks are divided by style and are titled 'Brawlers' , 'Bawlers', and 'Orphans' respectively.

    Orphans is dedicated to the odd. Not very cohesive as an album but there are some gems there. Some spoken word stories, etc. Brawlers is harder, Bawlers is sentimental.

    Brawlers and Bawlers are both fantastic. They each hang together as an album better than much of his later works (Bone Machine, Mule Variations, Real Gone). However, because the odditities are all on the third disk, I miss the 'charm' of hearing them sprinkeled here and there in a good album. Either of the two disks (brawlers and bawlers) would be a worthy purchase on its own.

    The music sounds very much like the Tom Waits you've heard (if you listen to TW) but all the songs still have a fresh inventive feel. He's still pushing and keeping brilliant. This is a must have for the Waits fan and a strong recommendation for anyone.

  2. #2
    Forum Regular nobody's Avatar
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    I plan on grabbing this set eventually as I'm a Tom Waits fan. Not in a real big hurry though because I am always very skeptical about these sorts of clearing out the vaults releases. I can't rally recall one that hasn't disappointed me.

    But, just wanted to post since I saw the Tom Waits thread and I've been listening to some of his stuff lately. Had Heart of Saturday Night playing in the car last night and the wife asks..."who is that?" She's heard me listening to plenty of Tom Waits stuff over the years and likes him allright herself, but she hadn't heard any of his older material in quite a while. She couldn't believe how much his voice has changed over the years. I kinda forget about that myself sicne its been pretty much of a slow evolution. But, go grab Closing Time and then give one of his more recent releases a listen. Not only has the music dramatically changed, but his voice is just a completely different animal.

  3. #3
    Big science. Hallelujah. noddin0ff's Avatar
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    Yeah, his voice is slowly going somewhere otherworldly. Personally I like the texture he's acquiring. I can't imagine how he'd sing I Hope That I Don't Fall In Love With You these days. He's got such interpretive power and I really dig the sounds he throws in. Sometimes I'm amazed, sometimes amused. This little cover song did both for me...coulda been shorter, definitely not the best on the CD, but a neat sonic palette for something I usually associate with The Honeydrippers.

    Linky to Sea of Love (a la Waits...flac)

  4. #4
    Forum Regular MindGoneHaywire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nobody
    I saw the Tom Waits thread and I've been listening to some of his stuff lately. Had Heart of Saturday Night playing in the car last night and the wife asks..."who is that?" She's heard me listening to plenty of Tom Waits stuff over the years and likes him allright herself, but she hadn't heard any of his older material in quite a while. She couldn't believe how much his voice has changed over the years. I kinda forget about that myself sicne its been pretty much of a slow evolution. But, go grab Closing Time and then give one of his more recent releases a listen. Not only has the music dramatically changed, but his voice is just a completely different animal.

    He changed his voice on the next album after Heart OSN though. His singing has indeed changed, starting with his Island albums, but he'd already been using that voice for a long time by that point. He just got less bluesy & more experimental.

    With the exception of Bone Machine, which I think is solid from start to finish, I think most of his recs since Heartattack & Vine are actually more interesting than good. Don't get me wrong, I remain a big fan, but my favorites are all from 1980 or earlier, and I think they're all just way more solid listens. The first two are so different from everything else, it's amazing. I do prefer Closing Time to Saturday Night, but I don't think it stands up to Small Change.

    After the soundtrack album he did with Crystal Gayle, the records tend to invoke a sort of disconnect that I liken to a rec like Trout Mask Replica. Not surprisingly, I prefer Beefheart's earlier, bluesier recs, heck, I'm not a TMR fan & never have been.

    I'm naturally inclined to lean more towards the bluesy/jazzy stuff than the outright weird stuff, but Waits is a guy who moved on for a reason, and that's fine. I appreciate that as an artist he followed his muse instead of sticking with a formula, and in his case sobriety obviously played a role as well.

    But on the occasions when he does do a more traditional, bluesy toon, such as Make It Rain or whatever that was called from Real Gone, it's very similar, voice-wise, to what he's been doing for more than 30 years already. Big Black Mariah, from Rain Dogs, is somewhere in the middle, with some elements of how his singing has changed, with this sort of avant-garde James Brown-ish thing going on. But then there are songs here & there that might've fit well on his early recs. All The World Is Green from Blood Money is an example. In some cases some of the percussion used, and marimba, make the biggest differences, more so than his voice.

    I still haven't heard Orphans, but I'm eager. Waits is a rare bird; it might be a reach to say that he cares more about his art than money, but given his refusal to license his music to sell products, that can't be all that far from the truth. (Which is cool & all, but I think it's foolish when Densmore blocks the surviving Doors from doing stuff like that. I've seen ad campaigns from people I like that didn't bother me, so I'm not going to necessarily think higher of Waits for this, though it's clear that, like Densmore, he's willing to put his money where his mouth is) I would agree that most vault-clearings suck, but if I'm curious enough to investigate, and they satisfy that curiosity and at least don't suck, then I think it's worthwhile. Some, like the BBC Sessions releases from the Beatles, the Who, and even Led Zeppelin, are very good & even great. Of course, those aren't comprised of outtakes & rejects that mostly never saw the light of day for a very good reason, so that's probably not what you meant, but...given how Waits has controlled his catalog & guarded his legacy, I have faith that he wouldn't just put out a bunch of junk in a cynical cash grab.

    I don't like others.

  5. #5
    Big science. Hallelujah. noddin0ff's Avatar
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    Funny, I didn't realize it was a 'vault clearing' for a while after I got it. I thought it was odd that the instrumentation from several tracks sounded like other albums. Even some tuba work that reminded me of The Black Rider album ( I may be the only person that bought that one, heh heh). I certainly like his older stuff too and I think that's still what draws people in to Waits.

    The way the tracks are organized and produced, you don't feel like you're listening to a slapdash hodgepodge. It all sounds fresh, inventive, and thoughtful. I think the whole package hits the sweet spot between the old and the new, for what it's worth.

  6. #6
    Forum Regular nobody's Avatar
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    Heart of Saturday Night is my favorite of his early ones and Small Change never really got to me so much.

    But, Swordfishtrombones will just always be the special one to me. Spent close to a year with a portable tape player and just a couple cassettes, including that one, in a ramshackle shack looking out the window drinking beer and watching the trash blow by.

    Oddly enough Bone Machine sounds really good on crappy tape players too. I had a car with a tape deck where the speed would slow to a craw and start back up again and that music held up surprisingly well. In the Colosseum was a song I actually first started really liking when I heard it play at about half speed through crackling speakers.

    Oh...and I've just listened to a few songs off the new set and its about what I expected...some good stuff on there, but it doesn't compare to a "real" release in my book.

  7. #7
    Forum Regular BarryL's Avatar
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    The Long Waits...

    Quote Originally Posted by noddin0ff
    Got this from Santa. 3 disks; One word--Excellent.

    The music sounds very much like the Tom Waits you've heard (if you listen to TW) but all the songs still have a fresh inventive feel. He's still pushing and keeping brilliant. This is a must have for the Waits fan and a strong recommendation for anyone.
    During his Asylum years, Waits was one of the best American songwriters, writing timeless balads of a weird and bluesy Americana. While he changed direction dramatically after his move to Island, after a few good albums, he became a parady of himself, and, IMO, gave up as a songwriter of real interest. Sure, there are gems here and there, but the thinking and intellect were lost. I think time will show that the musical life of Tom Waits eneded shortly after his move to Island, at which point he became his own dusty carnival side show.

    Maybe he felt that after winning a multi-million dollar law suit, he really no longer had to work for a living.

    Waits is always interesting, but the freshness of outlandish change he brought to Island is probably 20 years old now. What I want to know is, What's he building in there?

  8. #8
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    I thought I heard someone talking about a new album, but didnt believe it a bit. I would love to hear new material, but just oddities? Hmmm, I think I'll still buy it thought. Just not within next 14 days. Live it up, Tom!!!

    JRA

  9. #9
    Big science. Hallelujah. noddin0ff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrhymeammo
    I thought I heard someone talking about a new album, but didnt believe it a bit. I would love to hear new material, but just oddities? Hmmm, I think I'll still buy it thought. Just not within next 14 days. Live it up, Tom!!!

    JRA
    Sorry, jrhymeammo, I made a mistake in my first post (I can't correct it now for some reason). I meant to say that the third disk Bastards was dedicated to the odd.

  10. #10
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Oh!!! Now that's gonna change a thing or too. I would love to get it on vinyls. Guess I got some researching to do. Thanx for the info, Noddy.

    J-Murda

  11. #11
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Just got it today and it's incredible. He's definetely losing his voice more. Not an incredible recording or anything, but that's not why people listen to TW. This will be played ALOT!! $35 well spent.

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