Saturday, 20 September 2014


Folks.  I haven't clue one what's going on with the displaying of some of the elements on this blog but if anybody knows how to fix it, I'd be real grateful for a lesson.

Another Top Five. Tom Waits this time

Here is my Tom Waits top five.
1. Hell Broke Luce.
Yeah, regrets. Just listen to this one. It is absolutely awesome. I wish I'd written it. Not only does it have a beautifully up-front beat so rare in music these days, but the words are such a beautriffic (beautifully horrific) way of spelling out the reality of war. Oh yeah, and Luce? That's not a misspelling, it's a character's name.
2. Rain Dogs.
A jolly little song about becoming a refugee. Tom Waits does a lot of stuff like this, danceable hummable tunes which for a while sound beautiful until you wonder about Waits' voice (some say he tries too hard at that, but I think he tries just enough). I've chosen this as representative of that kind of song.

3. The Piano Has Been Drinking
What can I say? It reminds me of some of the dives I've played in, and you know what? I've loved it every time and from this song, I suspect so has Tom Waits. Hallelujiah.

4. God's Away on Business.
This has a certain personal resonance for me because I sang an acapella version of this in 2010 at the Purcell Room on London' South Bank, and that was one of the major highlights of my life. A quote from this song, "Who are the ones who are left in charge? Killers, thieves and lawyers", has been a quote on my facebook profile since I joined facebook in 2009.

5. Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis.
Yeah, we've all been there. Good for us. The song is about trust and illusion, and that includes self-delusion. I think it's brilliantly done.

And then there are the others it hurt to leave out - the twisted folksy nostalgia of "Innocent When You Dream", the bitterness of "Heart Attack and Vine", a straight (ish) C&W love song like "Hope I don't Fall in Love with You." There are so many and yet I don't really consider myself a fan. I've never bought a Tom Waits album, nor been to a concert... and yet I smiled when i saw him as the bartender in Book of Eli, so colour me ambiguous. I don't like everythign he does but there's a Hell of a lot I do like.