Thursday, April 26, 2012

Tom Waits • Small Change Live

Tom Waits
Tom Waits TomWaits_77-ca-liaison-cc-2
Images by Elizabeth Wolynski - for more visit her blog.

Just the other day, I was sitting around listening to 'Small Change', the great album released by Tom Waits in 1976. It blends the Jazz, Blues and Pop together so perfectly, it transports me. Waits' voice, so filled with whiskey and rye, and God knows how many cartons of cigarettes, delivers the lyrics with a style so very much his own. Part storyteller, part troubadour, part spoken word performer, and part down-on-his-luck-guy-at-the-end-of-the-bar, he brings you to a familiar yet not always comfortable place. I will start with "Tom Traubert's Blues (Four Sheets to the Wind in Copenhagen)", the first track on the album. While every man looking for luck at the bottom of a bottle speaks of the woman who brought them there, Waits finds hope in Matilda. Listen as he incorporates the Australian Bush Ballad, "Waltzing Matilda", in his tale.

Tin Pan Alley blues sounds a lot like Tom's "Step Right Up". There is a bright and fluffy side the to the song, like cotton candy waiting to be eaten. But listen closer, and you hear Waits' biting satire on the commercialism of America.

When I first heard "]Invitation To The Blues", I get the same feeling now as I did then. The saxophone and Tom's vocals reach down deep, and touch the soul, reminding of great heartache.

And, finally there is the Jazz-infused "The One That Got Away", the seductive song is driven by the upright bass and Waits' own interpretation of syncopation.

As much as I love Tom Waits' music, I continue to return to 'Small Change'. The brilliance of Tom's artistry and the depth of his emotional investment is incredible. You can find 'Small Change' on iTunes and Amazon. For more about Tom Waits, visit his official website.


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