Tom Waits

Well, oops Tom did it again(poor joke-I know),this guy is like a fine wine,he keeps getting better and better,you think he's backed himself into a musical corner and he goes an write's himself out of it.I know there are people out there who dislike his music,although I've never met him/her.He must be the only immortal musician still alive today.
I like Tom Waits too, but my favorite music of his is Holly Cole's "Temptations" which is a CD of her singing his songs. Cheers. Craig
Please I don't wish to offend you ..........But, Your favourite music of Tom waits is by somebody else?She sucked all the fun out of his music.She turned 1940's German avant garde circus into Disneyland,Burroughs and Bukowski into john grisham and the upright bass,the calliope and an old barroom piano into a Yamaha home organ.Maybe if she turns to prostitution,drinks straight whisky,smokes Gitanes or Gaullioses and works out near the airport for a couple of years then maybe she'll come close,oh and a false limb would help.
Waits is Waits is Waits. Why an ersatz when you can have the real thing? Quite surreal, I admit, but at the top of the list of, for want of a better expression, singer/songwriters. Not the easiest music or lyrics, dark, stark, troubling but never gratuitous, he spits at us all the violence, the absurdity and the pathetic chronic insanity of the "American Way of Life". Seems obvious most Americans can't recognize themselves in his work: his mirror is so close that some people only see the distortion.
"I'll take it, with me when I go" Mule Variations.
Actually, even Tom Waits isn't Tom Waits any more. Check out Mule Variations, too much time spent at the Beverly Hills Hotel, not enough at that deadbeat bar on Hollywood Boulevard.
Garfish, good choice. I too like Tom Waits and have many of his CDs. That doesn't mean Holly Cole's covers are not the "genuine" item. She does an excellent interpretation, and they stand on their own. I also like them. I also like Bob Dylan, but love Joan Baez's covers of Dylan on "Any Day Now". If the only person legit to sing a song is the original singer, music would be a lot poorer.
I'll stand by my post. Tom Waits is a song writing genius, but the CD of Holly Cole singing his songs has many beautifully done songs on it-- certainly different than Tom Waits singing his own works but still excellent in it's own right. And her "Temptations" CD reminded me a bit (just "a bit") of Jennifer Warnes doing Leonard Cohen's songs on "Famous Blue Raincoat". It's hardly unusual for an excellent singer to sing the songs of an excellent songwriter.

Dan Penn wrote (and sang) "At the Dark End of the Street"-- one of the greatest blues/soul songs ever written, IMO, but it took other singers to really bring it to life, again, IMO. Cheers. Craig
Thanks Debsal. We were posting at the same time, and had very similar thoughts. Cheers. Craig
My roommate has been turning me on to Tom Waits lately...some of his stuff is great but I think some of it will have to grow on me (the stuff that sounds like evil clown music)...then again, the Grateful Dead didnt do much for me in the early 80's, but by 87, they were and are to this day my favorite band...I have a feeling that Tom Waits will gradually earn his way into my all time favorites
'Evil clown music'-I love it!If holly cole covers other peoples songs does that make her a musician or merely an interpreter.By the way there's a great piece on Mr Waits in this months GQ magazine
Waits produced a tune on a Primus disc. "Evil Clown Music" sounds like a somewhat appropriate description of that too. Sean
Which Primus album? I'm also a big fan.
As a baseline I favour the writer as being the best interpreter of his/her own words. Even more so when the words come from a perspective that is so singular, so personal and from such an idiosyncratic person. We are not talking Yip Harburg or Cole Porter here. This does not mean I close my ears and mind to the versions of others. The reference to J. Warnes is timely. I will give Holly Cole a listen. I don't mean to sound dismissive, but again, to me, the limits of the performers voice, the lack of polish, the lack of training all contribute to what the performer is. Sorry about this "warts and all" approach, but I usually don't think that what we call in French a "chanson à texte" is in better hands when a more musical, better trained singer performs it. I find it usually loses something in the process. It sometimes work, but not often. I'm just as happy if the likes of Céline Dion never mangles a song with lyrics that go beyond the present equivalent of "moon" and "June". Believability is the one ingredient I can't do without. When the writing is so personal, the words coming out the mouth of someone else feels somewhat contrived to me. Not an absolute, just my own observation/prejudice.
I agree totally with your viewpoint.
That's not to say that there are no examples of artists producing a better version than the original songwriter-there are obviously cases where this is true but there are strongly in the minority imho,the whole album worth of cover versions is again imho a graveyard of creativity for most artists.
I'll probably get shot down for this but most Audiogoners (note most) are probably happier listening to safer,smoother versions of a lot of stuff.
In fact any occassional reading through of what music Audiogoners will throw the same lists over and over again-most audiophilles have stopped developing their musical tastes and are well happy listening to what they know.
It's interesting because the same people who accuse others of not realising what a top audio set-up can reproduce are in fact missing out on a whole world of music that is constantly being produced and released and whilst I wouldn't argue that anybody has missed out the new Beatles,the lack of investigation and open mindedness makes most music posts on this site extremely dull.
Again I like most of the stuff mentioned but life sure would be stale for me without searching out new music and not just the genres I know I like..........
One my favorite recordings is Tom Waits' "NIGHTHAWKS AT THE DINER".
I’ve been listening to Alice and Blood Money for a week now. Got ‘em on vinyl too.
What a great albums!
I’m with Mingus – IMHO, Holy Cole’s interpretation of TW’s songs is just boring. Thanks god Dana Kraal didn’t sing them yet.
For a good interpretation check out John Hammond’s Wicked Grin.

BTW, my 11 years old daughter likes Satisfaction sung by Britney Spears better then RS.
These are beautiful albums,'Im still here' almost reduces me to tears every time I play it,and I wish the wife and I had delayed our wedding until these albums were released,'Kommienzuspadt'would have been great as she walked down the aisle!By the way is this Yiddish or Berlin dialect written phonetically?
I think TW is an acquired taste, like sushi. People seem to either love him or dismiss him as too peculiar. I love the guy, and along with the 2 new ones have been listening to the wonderfully remastered "Used Cars", a compilation of songs from the early years. Beautiful, witty, sardonic, typical.Interestingly, he was interviewed on NPR's Fresh Air a couple weeks ago and it was a hoot. Very funny, listening to the interview was like listening to one of his song. But the apogee, for me, was when Terry Gross asked him where he gets his influences from. Early influences were from 30's and 40's music, including cabaret music, which he was into at 10-11 years of age. He found it more "interesting" than rock and roll. But asked about current influences he said he likes to listen to familiar music form different angles, and-this is where I laughed my ass off- " I like to listen to 2 radios at the same time."
No Doubt Tom Waits is an American original.
His lyrics have a way of inevitably lodging in one's subconscious. Teased out by copious amounts of whiskey, they only seem to resurface in the wee hours of the morning when you're "Walking Spanish down the hall."
Try "Rain Dogs." Marc Ribot's guitar work too is memorable as are the Uptown Horns.

Mingus, try checking out Primus' "Antipop" song 13 ( what a coincidence, huh ?? ) titled "Coattails of a Dead Man". The title even sounds like a Waits song.... Sean
Thanks Sean,I've ordered Antipop from BMG.Your right that is a great song-Lacquer Head too