Tom Waits opened for The Mothers in 1974. He also joined them on stage at least once, on 1974/11/09. A recording of this event circulates and can also be found on bootleg album(s).
The picture on the right was taken by Anton Corbijn.
|tom waits: closing time
(1973, lp, ??)
|tom waits: the heart of saturday night
(1974, lp, ??)
|tom waits: nighthawks at the diner
(1975, 2lp, ??)
|tom waits: small change
(1976, lp, ??)
|tom waits: foreign affairs
(1977, lp, ??)
|tom waits: blue valentine
(1978, lp, ??)
|tom waits: heartattack and vine
(1980, lp, ??)
|tom waits and
crystal gayle: one from the heart
|tom waits: swordfishtrombones
(1983, lp, ??)
|tom waits: rain dogs
(1985, lp, ??)
|tom waits: franks wild years
|tom waits: big time
(1988, lp, ??)
|tom waits: the early years
(1991, cd, ??)
|tom waits: night on earth
(1991, cd, ??)
|tom waits: bone machine
(1992, cd, ??)
|tom waits: the early years vol. 2
|tom waits: the black rider
(1999, cd, ??)
the dime store novels vol.1 (19)
(2002, cd, ??)
blood money (20)
(2002, cd, ??)
(2002, cd, ??)
real gone (22)
(2004, cd, ??)
|tom waits: orphans
(2006, 3cd, nl, anti 6677-2)
|tom waits: burma shave
(2006, dvd, germany, alpha centauri entertainment ace 11141)
|tom waits: glitter & doom live
(2009, cd, usa, anti)
|tom waits: under influence
(2010, dvd, ??, sexy intellectual) = documentary film // feat. moris tepper and john french
|tom waits: bad as me
(2011, 2cd, usa, anti) - the 2cd version is a limited edition digibook release
By Rafael Behr
readers will be aware, there is an Observer Music Monthly coming out on Sunday.
They will also know that we like to plug the mag be sneaking a bit of it to our
loyal blog readers in advance. Because, as the Rolling Stones once memorably
sang, we loooo-oove you.
This time, we have gone one better. OMM asked Tom Waits to talk about his favourite albums of all time. Which he duly did. But there wasn't room for all of them, so we caught the overspill. Here they are, exclusive to the blog:
innovative, soulful, and reasonably undiscovered, with a deeply expressive voice
and challenging and unusual topics for songs. Kurt Weill with a revolver. Her
cracked vocals and surreal lyrics make for an odd and familiar ride. She and
producer T- Bone Burnett make her face yellow and her hair red, and give her a
third eye, and together they make tough records. She's Dusty Springfield via
Marianne Faithfull with a dash of Jackie De Shannon, but very much her own
The Abyssinian Baptist Gospel Choir
Bennett said this is the greatest rock and roll record ever recorded. You can
feel why in these wild powerful performances, produced by John Hammond in the
early 1960's (John was, among other things, an avid fan of gospel). This choir
is barely containable. This recording puts you in the choir with them.
Astonishing, awesome. You will be saved.
and Hollerin' the Blues
'The Masked Marvel'
retrospective on one of the pillars of the Delta Blues. Clearly not only a blues
man but a songster as well and a teacher to all who would follow.
Sounds in Country and Western Music
ABC Paramount, 1962
knelt at the altar of Ray Charles for years. I worked at a restaurant, and
that's all there was on the jukebox, practically, that and some Patsy Cline.
'Crying Time', 'Can't Stop Loving You', 'Let's Go Get Stoned', 'You Are My
Sunshine', 'What'd I Say', 'Hit The Road, Jack'. I worked on Saturday nights and
I would take my break and I'd sit by the jukebox and I'd play my Ray Charles. It
was just amazing what he absorbed and that voice, for years it was just 'the
Genius of Ray Charles' ... I also love a record called 'Listen'. He did
'Yesterday' on electric piano and it just killed me, to hear that voice, it was
like he crossed over a bridge, because he remained in R&B territory, yet
there was something so timeless about his voice, and hearing him do a Beatles
song was just indescribable.
Partch Collection Vol 1
New World Records, 2004
new CDs have been reissued and the sound is excellent. These are an excellent
introduction to his whole oeuvre. He'd worked as a migrant worker and had been
on the road for half his life, and he was one of those rogue academics who
worked outside the matrix. So they feared him and pretended to admire him. Like
most innovators, he becomes gravel on the road that most people drive on. So he
was the first one through the door and the crowd tramples him. But nobody has
done anything like that since. The idea of designing your own instruments,
playing them and then designing your own scale, your own system of music. That's
dramatic and particularly for the time that he was doing it. It was rather
subversive. It's always fascinating to hear something being played that doesn't
sound polished or evolved as an instrument. It still sounds a little bit like
you're hitting tractor parts or a dumpster door. Or you're still in the kitchen,
to an extent. The music has that extra texture to it. And then of course he's
very sophisticated and well versed in mythology so it's got that other side to
The Buyer Beware
Shout! Factory, 2004
in its scope and depth. Hal Wilner compiled this from thousands of feet of tape.
It is the road that all comics of today are driving on.
Smithsonian Folkways, 1994
was a river, was a tree. His 12-string guitar rang like a piano in a church
basement. The Rosetta stone for much of what was to follow, he died in 1949.
Excellent to listen to when driving across Texas, contains all that is necessary
to sustain life, a true force of nature. He died the day before I was born and I
like to think I passed him in the hall and he banged into me and knocked me
Til du DÝr
Broiler Farm, 2001
storm trooping tarantellas with savage rhythms and innovative textures. Thinking
man's circus music. Way out.
blog rash-promise-maker-in-chief adds: We'll get the rest of Tom's selection to
you before the music mag comes out on Sunday.
the first of an occasional series in which the greatest recording artists reveal
their favourite records, Tom Waits writes about his 20 most cherished albums of
all time. So for the lowdown on Zappa and Bill Hicks, step right up...
March 20, 2005
In The Wee Small Hours by Frank Sinatra (Capitol) 1955
the very first 'concept' album. The idea being you put this record on after
dinner and by the last song you are exactly where you want to be. Sinatra said
that he's certain most baby boomers were conceived with this as the soundtrack.
Solo Monk by Thelonious Monk (Columbia) 1964
said 'There is no wrong note, it has to do with how you resolve it'. He almost
sounded like a kid taking piano lessons. I could relate to that when I first
started playing the piano, because he was decomposing the music while he was
playing it. It was like demystifying the sound, because there is a certain
veneer to jazz and to any music, after a while it gets traffic rules, and the
music takes a backseat to the rules. It's like aerial photography, telling you
that this is how we do it. That happens in folk music too. Try playing with a
bluegrass group and introducing new ideas. Forget about it. They look at you
like you're a communist. On Solo Monk, he appears to be composing as he plays,
extending intervals, voicing chords with impossible clusters of notes. 'I Should
Care' kills me, a communion wine with a twist. Stride, church, jump rope,
Bartok, melodies scratched into the plaster with a knife. A bold iconoclast.
Solo Monk lets you not only see these melodies without clothes, but without
skin. This is astronaut music from Bedlam.
Trout Mask Replica by Captain Beefheart (Straight) 1969
roughest diamond in the mine, his musical inventions are made of bone and mud.
Enter the strange matrix of his mind and lose yours. This is indispensable for
the serious listener. An expedition into the centre of the earth, this is the
high jump record that'll never be beat, it's a merlot reduction sauce. He takes
da bait. Dante doing the buck and wing at a Skip James suku jump. Drink once and
thirst no more.
Exile On Main St. by Rolling Stones (Rolling Stones Records) 1972
Just Want To See His Face' - that song had a big impact on me, particularly
learning how to sing in that high falsetto, the way Jagger does. When he sings
like a girl, I go crazy. I said, 'I've got to learn how to do that.' I couldn't
really do it until I stopped smoking. That's when it started getting easier to
do. [Waits's own] 'Shore Leave' has that, 'All Stripped Down', 'Temptation'.
Nobody does it like Mick Jagger; nobody does it like Prince. But this is just a
tree of life. This record is the watering hole. Keith Richards plays his ass
off. This has the Checkerboard Lounge all over it.
The Sinking of the Titanic by Gavin Bryars (Point Music) 1975
is difficult to find, have you heard this? It's a musical impression of the
sinking of the Titanic. You hear a small chamber orchestra playing in the
background, and then slowly it starts to go under water, while they play. It
also has 'Jesus Blood' on it. I did a version of that with Gavin Bryars. I first
heard it on my wife's birthday, at about two in the morning in the kitchen, and
I taped it. For a long time I just had a little crummy cassette of this song,
didn't know where it came from, it was on one of those Pacifica radio stations
where you can play anything you want. This is really an interesting evening's
The Basement Tapes by Bob Dylan (Columbia) 1975
Dylan, so much has been said about him, it's difficult so say anything about him
that hasn't already been said, and say it better. Suffice it to say Dylan is a
planet to be explored. For a songwriter, Dylan is as essential as a hammer and
nails and a saw are to a carpenter. I like my music with the rinds and the seeds
and pulp left in - so the bootlegs I obtained in the Sixties and Seventies,
where the noise and grit of the tapes became inseparable from the music, are
essential to me. His journey as a songwriter is the stuff of myth, because he
lives within the ether of the songs. Hail, hail The Basement Tapes. I heard most
of these songs on bootlegs first. There is a joy and an abandon to this record;
it's also a history lesson.
Lounge Lizards by Lounge Lizards (EG) 1980
used to accuse John Lurie of doing fake jazz - a lot of posture, a lot of
volume. When I first heard it, it was so loud, I wanted to go outside and listen
through the door, and it was jazz. And that was an unusual thing, in New York,
to go to a club and hear jazz that loud, at the same volume people were
listening to punk rock. Get the first record, The Lounge Lizards. You know,
John's one of those people, if you walk into a field with him, he'll pick up an
old pipe and start to play it, and get a really good sound out of it. He's very
musical, works with the best musicians, but never go fishing with him. He's a
great arranger and composer with an odd sense of humour.
Rum Sodomy and the Lash by The Pogues (Stiff) 1985
when things are real flat, you want to hear something flat, other times you just
want to project onto it, something more like.... you might want to hear the
Pogues. Because they love the West. They love all those old movies. The thing
about Ireland, the idea that you can get into a car and point it towards
California and drive it for the next five days is like Euphoria, because in
Ireland you just keep going around in circles, those tiny little roads. 'Dirty
Old Town', 'The Old Main Drag'. Shane has the gift. I believe him. He knows how
to tell a story. They are a roaring, stumbling band. These are the dead end kids
for real. Shane's voice conveys so much. They play like soldiers on leave. The
songs are epic. It's whimsical and blasphemous, seasick and sacrilegious, wear
it out and then get another one.
I'm Your Man by Leonard Cohen (Columbia) 1988
klezmer, chansons, apocalyptic, revelations, with that mellifluous voice. A
shipwrecked Aznovar, washed up on shore. Important songs, meditative,
authoritative, and Leonard is a poet, an Extra Large one.
The Specialty Sessions by Little Richard (Specialty Records) 1989
steam and chug of 'Lucille' alone pointed a finger that showed the way. The
equipment wasn't meant to be treated this way. The needle is still in the red.
Startime by James Brown (Polydor) 1991
first saw James Brown in 1962 at an outdoor theatre in San Diego and it was
indescribable... it was like putting a finger in a light socket. He did the
whole thing with the cape. He did 'Please Please Please'. It was such a
spectacle. It had all the pageantry of the Catholic Church. It was really like
seeing mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral on Christmas and you couldn't ignore the
impact of it in your life. You'd been changed, your life is changed now. And
everybody wanted to step down, step forward, take communion, take sacrament,
they wanted to get close to the stage and be anointed with his sweat, his cold
Bohemian-Moravian Bands by Texas-Czech (Folk Lyric) 1993
love these Czech-Bavarian bands that landed in Texas of all places. The seminal
river for mariachi came from that migration to that part of the United States,
bringing the accordion over, just like the drum and fife music of post slavery,
they picked up the revolutionary war instruments and played blues on them. This
music is both sour and bitter, and picante, and floating above itself like steam
over the kettle. There's a piece called the 'Circling Pigeons Waltz', it's the
most beautiful thing - kind of sour, like a wheel about to go off the road all
the time. It's the most lilting little waltz. It's accordion, soprano sax,
clarinet, bass, banjo and percussion.
The Yellow Shark by Frank Zappa (Barking Pumpkin) 1993
is his last major work. The ensemble is awe-inspiring. It is a rich pageant of
texture in colour. It's the clarity of his perfect madness, and mastery. Frank
governs with Elmore James on his left and Stravinsky on his right. Frank reigns
and rules with the strangest tools.
Passion for Opera Aria (EMI Classics) 1994
heard 'Nessun Dorma' in the kitchen at Coppola's with Raul Julia one night, and
it changed my life, that particular Aria. I had never heard it. He asked me if I
had ever heard it, and I said no, and he was like, as if I said I've never had
spaghetti and meatballs - 'Oh My God, Oh My God!' - and he grabbed me and he
brought me into the jukebox (there was a jukebox in the kitchen) and he put that
on and he just kind of left me there. It was like giving a cigar to a five-year
old. I turned blue, and I cried.
Rant in E Minor by Bill Hicks (Rykodisc) 1997
Hicks, blowtorch, excavator, truthsayer and brain specialist, like a reverend
waving a gun around. Pay attention to Rant in E Minor, it is a major work, as
important as Lenny Bruce's. He will correct your vision. His life was cut short
by cancer, though he did leave his tools here. Others will drive on the road he
built. Long may his records rant even though he can't.
Prison Songs: Murderous Home Alan Lomax Collection (Rounder Select) 1997
spirituals and the Baptist Church and the whole African-American experience in
this country, I don't know what we would consider music, I don't know what we'd
all be drinking from. It's in the water. The impact the whole black experience
continues to have on all musicians is immeasurable. Lomax recorded everything,
from the sounds of the junkyard to the sound of a cash register in the market...
disappearing machinery that we would no longer be hearing. You know, one thing
that doesn't change is the sound of kids getting out of school. Record that in
1921, record that now, it's the same sound. The good thing about these is that
they're so raw, they're recorded so raw, that it's just like listening to a
landscape. It's like listening to a big open field. You hear other things in the
background. You hear people talking while they are singing. It's the hair in the
Cubanos Postizos by Marc Ribot (Atlantic) 1998
Atlantic recording shows off one of many of Ribot's incarnations as a prosthetic
Cuban. They are hot and Marc dazzles us with his bottomless soul. Shaking and
burning like a native.
Houndog by Houndog (Sony) 1999
the David Hidalgo [Los Lobos] record he did with Mike Halby [Canned Heat]. Now
that's a good record to listen to when you drive through Texas. I can't get
enough of that. Anything by Latin Playboys, anything by Los Lobos. They are like
a fountain. The Colossal Head album killed me. Those guys are so wild, and
they've gotten so cubist. They've become like Picasso. They've gone from being
purely ethnic and classical, to this strange, indescribable item that they are
now. They're worthwhile to listen to under any circumstances. But the sound he
got on Houndog, on the electric violin ... the whole record is a dusty road.
Dark and burnished and mostly unfurnished. Superb texture and reverb. Lo fi and
its highest level. Songs of depth and atmosphere. It ain't nothin' but a...
Purple Onion by Les Claypool (Prawn Song) 2002
Claypool's sharp and imaginative, contemporary ironic humour and lightning
musicianship makes me think of Frank Zappa. 'Dee's Diner' is like a great song
your kid makes up in the car on the way to the drive-in. Songs for big kids.
The Delivery Man by Elvis Costello (Mercury) 2004
hot bedlam, monkey to man needle time. I'd hate to be balled out by him, I'd
quit first. Grooves wide enough to put your foot in and the bass player is a
gorilla of groove. Pete Thomas, still one of the best rock drummers alive.
Diatribes and rants with steam and funk. It has locomotion and heat. Steam heat,
Tom Waits's most recent album, 'Real Gone' is released on Anti
have one set of Tom Waits's 20 favourite CDs, courtesy of Fopp, and a signed
vinyl copy of his most recent album Real Gone to give away. Plus a signed copy
of Real Gone for one runner-up. To be in with a chance to win, go to
observermusicmonthly.co.uk or send a postcard marked 'Observer/ Tom Waits' with
your name, address and telephone number to Freepost MID 20916 Birmingham B26 3QQ
by 4 April 2005. Full terms and conditions online.