Tom Waits

I stated once here on the forum that I didn't quite get what Waits does and why he appeals to many people. I always unjustly assumed he was doing some Bukowski schtick or whatever. But since I've heard some people tag Buk with some of the same criticism. Seedy, unconventional, weird, etc... I thought I should give him another chance. Turned out I had three songs in my files. The Heart of Saturday Night, Please Call me, baby, and I Don't Wanna Grow Up, which I'm thoroughly enjoying although I'm sorry I cannot get into The Piano Has Been Drinking for some reason.

How about some album recommendations? if anyone feels like taking the time to list something they feel might be essential to me making a solid connection, I would gladly purchase the albums. There is a great record store by me that stocks all his work on vinyl. I'm open for suggestions if you please.

Thanks very much.
My favorite is Rain Dogs and I guess a lot of other folks like it, too. But it's a little later and from when he got more experimental so I'm not sure if you'd love it.
It's somewhat strange, that you like 'Heart of Saturday Night' but not 'The Piano Has Been Drinking'. I think they get along very well.

In general, you could see these different stations of Waits' evolution:

- The 70s albums are more like bar-music. Very 'Bukowskian', if I'm allowed to say so.
From these times, you may enjoy 'SMALL CHANGE'. ('THE HEART OF SATURDAY NIGHT' isn't bad either.)

- Then came a change in style, when he changed his record label (from 'Asylum' to 'Island') - he started to get more experimental. You hear him tipping his toes into that on 'HEARTATTACK AND VINE'

- Then right after that, he kicked his fans on the head with 'SWORDFISHTROMBONES' - This was the start of him making really strange, even weird music.

- My personal highlight in the 80s is the concept album 'FRANK'S WILD YEARS'.

- Of the later stuff, since you like 'I Don't Wanna Grow Up', which is on the 'Bone Machine'-album, you may also enjoy 'MULE VARIATIONS'.
Try the Blood Money album. A few tracks:

From the last one, some lines that are often inside my head:

Life is whittled
Life's a riddle
Man's a fiddle that life plays on

When the day breaks,
When the earth quakes
Life's a mistake all day long
Tell me, who gives a good goddamn
You'll never get out alive
tom waits...yeah one of the greatest musicians we got today-...

roni got it! these are the three stations... i have even seen the franks wild years theater

but, at least in my humble opinion the bar-pianist-bukowskique Tom Waits is the best... i don't get in that experimental stuff like Orphans:Bastards or nearly the whole Bone Machine thingy

Gerard K H Love

Appreciate your friends
There are four threads about Tom Waits one of which is titled Tom Waits just like this one.
There is a member whose user name is TomWaits and another Raindogs.
Tom Waits- I like his stuff a lot...

I think "Heartattack and Vine" is really cool stuff.

all of his stuff is. But Heartattack and Vine has some really nice lines....

"....boney's high on china white, shorty found a punk, don't you know there ain't
no devil, there's just god when he's drunk, well this stuff will probably kill
you, let's do another line, what you say you meet me down on heartattack and

His voice is how i think every beat-down,drunken, poet. story-teller should sound...
Excellent! Thanks so much for the tips. I've written everything down and I'm excited to check out the recommendations.

And sorry for the redundant thread. I have to learn to use the damn search engine a little more thoroughly.

Thanks fellows/ladies.

My fav of his is Closing Time.....

I just love this album..erm CD


more crickets than friends
Absolutely love Tom Waits. If you haven't and I'm sure most on hear have, listen to his reading of "Nirvana" by Bukowski. I find it more beautiful every time I hear it. It's on his 3 disc set Orphans....
Tom Waits is great. I do like his more modern stuff, ie, post Swordfishtrombones, but his 'barfly' stuff (1970-1980) is my favourite: Closing Time, Heart of Saturday Night, Blue Valentine, Small Change, Foreign Affairs, Nighthawks.
Truly beautiful music.
Listening to Tom Waits

I've recently discovered this man's music and I'm loving it! So far, I've heard Closing Time and The Heart of Saturday Night. I still have Nighthawks at the Diner to enjoy.

But Closing Time is my close favorite so far. The piano he uses on that album sounds like it's over a hundred years old. Saturday Night sounds more jazz orchestry, and has great lyrics, but that old piano just grabs me.

I've listened to snippets from his other albums. Especially swordfishtrombones and Rain Dogs. I've never heard someone change their styles so drastically before. He goes from easy listening jazz to some kind of junkyard be-bonk syncopation I could never have imagined.

I've heard that Small Change is very much like his earlier albums. I'll probably look to order that next. Any advice on what other albums I might try?
Dang it. I wish I would have found that thread before polluting the forum with yet another Waits thread. If a mod wanted to merge this thread with the one linked by Bukfan, I would have no problem with that.

(ok! -mod.)
There was a book released a few years ago which collected lots of Waits' interviews, spanning his whole career. In it they even print one of Waits' favourite Bukowski poems. It's an interesting read.

I love Waits' music, but if you read about how he got there, he seemed to seek out the seedy life rather than be forced there. There is a clear influence from Bukowski on Waits' alter-ego, but that could be said of other writers and musicians of a similar ilk that helped Waits form his stage character.


Art should be its own hammer.
Founding member
well, we had to take our cut first, and when all was said and done, there was only $1.43 left, which would barely cover postage. so, we gave the $1.43 to the Salvation Army. I mean, it's the holidays. you believe in charity, right?

greedy bastard.
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