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Old 11-10-2010, 10:25 PM   #71 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Janszoon View Post
Replace "most melancholy" with "worst" and I totally agree with this post.
Really? I don't know Alice that well but I know it's got some songs that I love.
Why do you say it's his worst?
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Old 11-10-2010, 11:26 PM   #72 (permalink)
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Really? I don't know Alice that well but I know it's got some songs that I love.
Why do you say it's his worst?
Because I like it the least out of all his albums.

I love Tom Waits, he's one of my favorite musicians, but one gripe I've always had with him is his occasional tendency toward writing extremely tedious ballads. It was a bit of an epidemic for him early in his career. The second half of The Heart of Saturday Night, for example, is almost unlistenable because of this. The good news that for most of his output since the early 80s he's managed to largely avoid this trap. The bad news is Alice, which unfortunately is an entire album's worth of this kind of material.
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Old 11-10-2010, 11:53 PM   #73 (permalink)
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Because I like it the least out of all his albums.

I love Tom Waits, he's one of my favorite musicians, but one gripe I've always had with him is his occasional tendency toward writing extremely tedious ballads. It was a bit of an epidemic for him early in his career. The second half of The Heart of Saturday Night, for example, is almost unlistenable because of this. The good news that for most of his output since the early 80s he's managed to largely avoid this trap. The bad news is Alice, which unfortunately is an entire album's worth of this kind of material.
I think I understand exactly what you're saying. I don't like pop ballads in general and I like Tom Waits but I don't really like his ballads either.

In fact the main reason I like his later stuff more than his early stuff is because his later-years voice is rough and garbled enough to make up for his sappiness.

I may be remembering it wrong but I thought there are at least a couple songs on Alice where he belts out that excellent deep guttural sound. And I remember kind of liking the ballads, too, but like I said, I hardly remember
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Old 11-11-2010, 11:00 PM   #74 (permalink)
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I always get about half way through and then I hit my limit. Too much sap and unhappiness throughout the album. That being said, the song Alice, and Watch Her Disappear are excellent
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Old 05-18-2011, 10:47 AM   #75 (permalink)
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Released September 1976
Recorded July 15, 1976 – July 29, 1976 at Wally Heider Recording, Hollywood, CA
Genre Jazz
Length 49:28
Label Asylum
Producer Bones Howe


Small Change is reportedly Tom Wait’s mental breakdown. As he described it in 1977 to Rolling Stone Magazine, in an article called “Smelling like a Brewery, Looking like a Tramp”, a lyric from his song “Panties and a G-string” (two o’clock club) [Small Change]:

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DM (1977): The final injustice came last spring in New Orleans when Roger McGuinn, Joan Baez, Kinky Friedman and some other members of the "Rolling Blunder Revue" as Waits termed Dylan's entourage, took over the stage at Ballinjax Club just before Waits was scheduled to begin his set. TW: "They got up there for an hour just before I was supposed to begin my set, Nobody even asked me; before I knew it, ****in' Roger McGuinn was up there playing guitar and singing and Joan Boaz and Kinky were singing. By the time I got onstage the audience was stoked. They were all lookin' around the room and ****. I don't need this crap - it was my show. I was drinkin' too much on top of everything else." (Source: "Smelling like a brewery, lookin' like a tramp". Rolling Stone: David McGee. January, 1977)
It was this action that spurned rejection. Waits went off to Europe and soaked in a lifetime worth of whiskey and culture. What came from this was a rejection of his earlier sounds, which did include jazz and blues, but also relied heavily of folks and country and both previous albums had a lighter feel. The booze-soaked rejection featured on Small Change might be the first signs (in hindsight) of Waits’s downward decent into the dark underworld of much later albums.

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Of one song, his producer Bones Howerecalls when Waits first came to him with the song: ‘He said the most wonderful thing about writing that song. He went down and hung around on skid row in L.A. because he wanted to get stimulated for writing this material. He called me up and said, 'I went down to skid row ... I bought a pint of rye. In a brown paper bag.' I said, 'Oh really?'. 'Yeah - hunkered down, drank the pint of rye, went home, threw up, and wrote 'Tom Traubert's Blues [...] Every guy down there ... everyone I spoke to, a woman put him there.”’ – from the Wiki page
Its not hard to imagine much of the album going in the same direction. For a man who’s most noted for heavy and depressing lyrics, Small Change packs some of the most brutal.
Invitation to the Blues most noteably:

“But she used to have a sugar daddy and a candy-apple Caddy,
And a bank account and everything, accustomed to the finer things
He probably left her for a socialite, and he didn't love 'cept at night,
And then he's drunk and never even told her that her cared
So they took the registration, and the car-keys and her shoes
And left her with an invitation to the blues”


Or

“But you can't take your eyes off her, get another cup of java,
It's just the way she pours it for you, joking with the customers
Mercy mercy, Mr. Percy, there ain't nothing back in Jersey
But a broken-down jalopy of a man I left behind
And the dream that I was chasing, and a battle with booze
And an open invitation to the blues”


While the album isn’t all dark - “I wish I was in New Orleans”, “The Piano’s been drinking”, and “Jitterbug Boy” are certainly less heavy – Small Change has a gritty immigrant feel due largely to the albums European influence, but American themes.

For me this album was always a sleeper. Its strength comes not from the immediacy of singles or powerful melodies (though there are tracks that do this), but to the enduring feel of the “Dear John” letter American life. Waits has always been a master navigator when it came to the ruthlessness of humanity. Small Change might signal his arrival at the top.
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Old 05-18-2011, 11:59 AM   #76 (permalink)
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No "Closing Time" yet? Should be next one you do.
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Old 05-18-2011, 12:04 PM   #77 (permalink)
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Thanks for the comment. I haven't decided what I'll do next but I can promise you when Closing Time steps up I'm going to tear that piece of **** to shreds.
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Old 05-18-2011, 12:34 PM   #78 (permalink)
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lol... I would not call it a POS personally. Has some of my favorite songs, like "Ice Cream Man", "I Hope That I Don't Fall in Love With You" and "Little Trip to Heaven (on the Wings of Your Love)".

I love that one.

Or you could just do the expected one and go with "Rain Dogs".
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Old 05-18-2011, 12:38 PM   #79 (permalink)
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Yeah, well I generally don't plan the order out ahead of time. Did you read the Small Change review?
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Old 05-18-2011, 12:45 PM   #80 (permalink)
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Looking at it now, I think I can see how that album was the mental breakdown album. Mainly due to his drinking, "The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me)" and "Bad Liver and a Broken Heart (in Lowell)" are two songs that really speak to this.

It is still in my tops list for Waits. I personally tend to get more into the Asylum years with Tom. Though I love the later experimental years as well.

I made a 3 disc anthology of Tom for my mom for Mother's Day and included virtually all material from the asylum years and she loved it.

Might do a part 2 soon with the more exerimental stuff. Not sure if she would like it the same. She likes blues and jazz a lot, so the Asylum years seemed like the better way to introduce her to him.

My other album suggestion for review is "Nighthawks at the Diner", which is one of my favorite albums of all-time. One I do not seem to hear many discuss when talking his discography. Which is a shame, cause it has a lot of great moments. Seems to be the more devout fan favorite with many though.
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