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-   -   Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis; A Tom Waits review (https://www.musicbanter.com/album-reviews/48959-christmas-card-hooker-minneapolis-tom-waits-review.html)

TheBig3 05-18-2011 11:51 AM

Really? You're into Jazz/Blues and not Small Change?

Nighthawks does have some great moments but its a tough one to talk about because its an in the moment record. "Eggs & Sausage" is a great track and I think "Better off without a wife" is my favorite, but they are certainly not his most enduring tracks. They went for a feel (is my impression) and not something to be in cannon. Thats fine, but its also why you're not hearing a lot of discussion. That and theres a lot of talk.

BastardofYoung 05-18-2011 11:59 AM

No, I like that album. I mean my mom likes blues and jazz, i made the cd's for her. I put almost that full album on the cd's i made for her.

With Nighthawks, i agree... But I do love the intros and dialouge. I guess I have a special place for that one as it was the first album i got by him and really got into. It was my introduction, so holds a special place with me.

TheBig3 05-18-2011 12:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BastardofYoung (Post 1055350)
No, I like that album. I mean my mom likes blues and jazz, i made the cd's for her. I put almost that full album on the cd's i made for her.

With Nighthawks, i agree... But I do love the intros and dialouge. I guess I have a special place for that one as it was the first album i got by him and really got into. It was my introduction, so holds a special place with me.

Oh sure, but it goes beyond academic (as a style) review. Its hard to say "this album makes you feel good" then explain why.

So whats the problem with Small Change, by the way?

BastardofYoung 05-18-2011 12:05 PM

Nothing. I like Small Change. I was saying when I made the CD's for my mom, I put on much of the blues and jazz sounding stuff, cause that is more her thing. I like "Small Change".

TheBig3 08-08-2013 03:14 PM

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...Variations.jpg

Released April 16, 1999
Recorded 1998 at Prairie Sun Recording Studios in Cotati, California
Genre Rock, experimental
Length 70:33
Label ANTI-
Producer Kathleen Brennan, Tom Waits

Songs are just very interesting things to be doing with the air...

Like most of Wait’s albums, it’s hard to assign a genre to it. His albums all have at least three songs that would fit neatly into completely separate genres, and they all have musical accents and flourishes that belong somewhere else. Having said that, Mule Variations is a blues album. If not always in music, in concept, and in it, Waits is returning to his roost like a carrier pigeon who’s just flown through no man’s land. An album off a six year hiatus, Waits seems to be comfortable writing from the American no-where. Tragic tales from the railroad tracks between towns, abandoned homes, and shrinking cities with growing ruins.

There are hints, as there would be with any artist, of what came before and what was to come in the future. Eyeball Kid smacks of Bone Machine lunacy with its Vegas-carnival characters and its jarring, aggressive, almost industrial instrumentation. And Picture in a Frame, later covered by Willie Nelson, is a hat-tip to a time before he was himself, on Closing Time and Heart of Saturday Night. And while there’s always a tint on the fringe, Mule Variations does not suffer from an identity crisis.

The heart of the album is a rustic, down-home, greasy soul that was missing in action from Bone Machine. Bereft of its big-city numbness, Mule Variations is less “in the coliseum” and more “come on up to the house.” And if Bone Machine felt like downtown LA, then Mule Variations is a band playing on the biggest pile in the junkyard.

Songs like Big in Japan, Pilipino Box Spring Hog, Get Behind the Mule, and Cold Water are the sort of groove you can only feel when you’re hangover and overdosing on bacon sold off the back of a van who doesn’t look like they wash their plates. Mule Variation jams like nobody’s bathing. Its character do DIY better than your favorite punk album, not by choice, they just don’t have the money to choose, nor the wherewithal to know they sound like a gravel throated rooster singing mariachi.

And then there are the outliers. Songs that just never fit in but, given this is a Waits album, work like anything else on the island of misfit toys. “Hold On” – which won him a Grammy – plays like a more softly, sung Springsteen song. But rather than focus on the brute fury that might come with The Boss, Waits goes for the jugular on the human aspect of everything falling away “It must be hard to dance that way” she says, “when it’s cold and there’s no music.” That line’s in the song, but it came from his daughter, watching a homeless woman dance, while they rode the bus together. And this captures a piece of Waits that eludes other writers. These characters aren’t filled with fiction, but a composite of all the low-lifes he generally hangs out with, knows, and loves.

The album closes with Come on up to the House, and its choice of location its the very best thing about this album. Its possible interpretation knows no bounds, but at the end of an album full of dead babies, broken families, paranoid suburbians, and blasphemous confestions, the album ends with an absolute show-stopper of a Gospel clap-along which, in not so many words, says “get your **** together.”

Come on up to the House is a pep talk before the second half in which the coach basically tells you you’re a worthless waste of space, but you can either cry about it or get on the junk pile with the rest of us.

Must hear:

1. Cold Water
2. Hose where nobody lives
3. Chocolate Jesus
4. Filipino Box Spring Hog
5. Come on up to the house

Stephen 08-08-2013 10:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TheBig3 (Post 1354864)
Must hear:

1. Cold Water
2. Hose where nobody lives
3. Chocolate Jesus
4. Filipino Box Spring Hog
5. Come on up to the house

I would have to add Take it With Me to the must hears. I just find it so simply beautiful and soulful. The melancholy really just tears my heart out.

TheBig3 08-09-2013 07:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Stephen (Post 1355065)
I would have to add Take it With Me to the must hears. I just find it so simply beautiful and soulful. The melancholy really just tears my heart out.

To me, the only one that isn't Must Hear is Georgia Lee - but I try to keep it within the soul of the album.

Take it with me seems like an outlier.


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