So. In the last few days nothing but Tom Waits has been coming out of my speakers. I first heard him was a few years back in my Dad's car, on an old cassette that he had gotten a lend of from one of his friends, and I haven't looked back since. Waits has one of the most distinctive voices in the business. It was once descibed by a fan as 'like how you'd sound if you drank a quart of bourbon, smoked a pack of cigarettes and swallowed a pack of razor blades... Late at night. After not sleeping for three days.'' And I pretty much agree with this. His trademark gravelly singing voice/growl has, in my opinion, given him a unique edge and it's always nice to hear something out-of-the-ordinary once in a while, and he certainly delivers. He listened to Bob Dylan as a youth, and has certainly got the less than typical singing voice that Dylan has.
His songs are mainly blues and jazz with an experimental inclination. His lyrics usually touch on the wierd and rare side of things with a dark and depressing tone that make you think of all those characters you would find in an alleyway out the back of an old pub beside a dumpster. Interesting life story, but totally out of it.
His third album, "Small Change", which was released in 1976 is my favourite so far, and I think it is the quintessential Waits album. It has been described by others as "his transition from jazzy lounge singer to experimental, rhythm driven growler." It captures Waits at the peak of his changeover. I recommend that if you do not have this album, go purchase it as soon as you can as it would be money very well spent.
Here are some of the tracks off "Small Change" that I think you should really take the time to listen to.. and enjoy.
Tom Waits - Pasties & A G-String
Tom Waits - The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me)
Tom Waits - Tom Traubert's Blues (Four Sheets To The Wind In Copenhagen)
Tom Waits - Invitation To The Blues