Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Four Sheets to the Wind in Copenhagen

"By the way, I was glad to learn this weekend that you like good ole Tom Waits, reminded me to bring some of his CDs for late night working hours…"

Well, E., Tom Waits has actually been a long-time companion! I could spend hours talking about him and his music, but, as we don't have the time, I will focus on my favorite Tom Waits' song: "Tom Traubert's Blues".

I know, I know... This is probably the most popular Tom Waits' song, and I should have chosen another one. And I would surely do it, if the aim was to impress; but, the truth is that this is really my favorite Tom Waits' song!

What I can say on my defense is, however, that the popularity of "Tom Traubert's Blues" is due in the most part by Rod Stewart's vastly inferiors cover version. Well, here I'm talking about the real thing!

Tom Waits' original is heartbreakingly beautiful, containing some of his finest lyrics, especially in the croaking opening ("Wasted and wounded/'Taint what the moon did/Got what I paid for now...). The story, essentially a drunken tale, fits the gorgeous melody perfectly, and indeed the song is so evocative it's almost impossible for the listener not to be swept up in the story. Although the arrangement and the use of strings don't take any real risks, it embellishes the melody beautifully.

You can find this song in several records ("Used Songs", "Anthology of Tom Waits", and even in the "Basquiat" movie OST), but the original recording is from the 1976 album "Small Change". It isn't his best album, and like most of the albums he made in the 70s, it's uneven. But it is the most obvious and characteristic of his records: if you like it, you also will like the ones before and after; otherwise, you're not Tom Waits' kind of listener...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

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8:07 AM  

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