Tom Waits
Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards

Reviewed by: Andrew Iliff
Reviewed on: 2006-11-20

Posted 11/20/2006 - 09:23:14 AM by downloadsofist:
 "The twenty-song streak of poison-sweet balladry and damaged folk on Brawlers" Do you mean "Bawlers"?
Posted 11/20/2006 - 09:37:03 AM by florenz6:
 This big work is an example for someone who really has to say/sing something (another one would be Sufjan Stevens with his 5-cd-box of "Songs For Christmas" - in case you have a heart for Christmas and Christmas songs at all.) "Orphans" has no fillers. The old-looking pages of the "lyrics book" are drawing you more and more inside these excellent records. Over the years, it has become a kind oof cliche to speak of Waits´ "whisky-tinged" voice. Listening to his songs in detail, you will really hear how many voices are at work. "With my voice, I can sound like a girl, the boogieman, a Theremin, a cherry bomb...", he writes in his very interesting liner notes -and, yes, he can! And as far as it concerns his instruments, Tom Waits has always been a collector of ancient and partly damaged instruments to produce the unusual sounds that enhance the atmospheres of his pieces. It´ definitely true that a lot of one-eyed Jacks inhabit his song worlds, but the writer of this review makes it clear how Tom Waits escapes from the stereotypes that go along with that. The comparison with the spirit of the late Charles Dickens (in Uncut or Mojo) is no too far-fetched. For all of its underground worlds, its rainy and shadowy apparitions, "Orphans" is more more related to "Bleakhouse" than to "Oliver Twist".
Posted 11/20/2006 - 03:07:53 PM by axiomatic:
 But the crucial difference between Tom Waits and Sufjan Stevens is that while both tend to flood their markets with pretty much everything they record, Waits songs are actually worth being released - unlike Stevens constantly attempting to cash in on his own carefully-constructed preciousness.
Posted 11/20/2006 - 04:45:46 PM by :
 The above mentioned factual error has been corrected on 11/20/2006.
Posted 11/20/2006 - 06:00:04 PM by florenz6:
 Re: axiomatic. Well, you see it that way, I don´t. Although his "Songs For Christmas" will pretty much divide the audience in pros and cons, for me he is an unmistakebly gifted composer/singer/arranger (and I´m not a catholic, by the way)who has extended the vocabulary of songwriting with his albums "Illinoise" and "The Avalanche". Once more: the great thing of the follow-up of "Illinoise" was that he presented - aside from new songs - well-known pieces with a lot of different perspectives. For jazz musicians a normal thing (look, how few compositions Thelonious Monk had played again and again). Sufjan S. prooved that this is possible in the pop world, too. But, obviousloy we do have a common ground in the "underworlds" of Mr. Waits, so let´s not start these kind of dull polemics that are sometimes part of these discussions. Intelligent polemics are okay, by the way. For example, I like the way, Wayne Coyne(Flaming Lips) wrote a little essay about his being tired with this whole post-punk movement. Oh, how I do agree with him, everyword:)
Posted 11/20/2006 - 09:12:53 PM by :
 Thing is, polemical conduits aside, that where Waits`s rostered visage of cranky ossarian `crooning` distils a second hand car dealer`s garage-robonics into four fifths whiskey-o-matic personas, est, Stevens`s stiffs his icelandic desires by borrowing a phrasings-worth of slipped elisions and turning them stilleto-in-throat to whiten the immoralising base from which both artists vaunt so unapologetically for you separators above me. If you think Thelonious soloed his own blanche musings without a stethoscopy to distribute the fairweather withdrawings from his piano banks, I could do my own boogieman balladry without skipping a stereotype of scant rumblings in the Waitsian foraging that passes for Bawlers` slabs of pickled meat. Steven`s preciousness? Goes so far as to be libel in the court of any tabloid journalist`s sanctity for greater meaning beyond what can only be ex-structed, and that`s a dull polemic to both of your anti-music vindications!!
Posted 11/21/2006 - 02:58:30 AM by florenz6:
 aha! haha!
Posted 11/21/2006 - 03:05:11 AM by :
 Post-punk was never a movement. It's a post-facto label applied across a non-genre to aesthetically pigeonhole artists with so little in common as Scritti Politti and The Happy Mondays (first, in order to make them easier to digest and compile for Soul Jazz) aside from geography and their own prophesied futures' insistence on cannibalizing themselves/itself. Tom Waits, post-punk, why, what, forgot.
Posted 11/21/2006 - 03:12:51 AM by :
 Tom Waits is a cabaret singer in an alcoholics' Grand Guignol alongside Ernest Hemingway.
Posted 11/21/2006 - 03:38:50 AM by florenz6:
 RE: Jess. Well, Wayne Coyne wrote about these boring bands knowing that this was never a real "movement". And while Hemingway was a heavy drinker, Tom Waits is definitely not part of that club!
Posted 11/21/2006 - 07:55:45 AM by :
 Florenz, what is your source here? Because Tom Waits is probably the worst alcoholic I can think of...
Posted 11/21/2006 - 09:45:48 AM by florenz6:
 RE: Jess You should be a bit careful, Jess, to spread rumours this way. And try (just try) now to not come up now with some of your ironic or post-ironic jokes. You can rely on this - Tom Waits is leading a healthy life! This might disappoint some of his hard core-fans who make no difference between the personalities of losers and underdogs Waits often adopts in his songs - and the real man! Trust me (if you can) - I have very reliable sources! And, by the way, remember the time when the wonderful late Talk Talk released "Spirit of Eden". You could read in thóse years that that the music was partly a result of using heroin. Bullshit! And Mark Hollis was totally right to fight againts this with lawyers. I met him in those days, and this was not my only reliable source.I met him more than one time in my life, he´s a wondefful person leading a quet life - and he´s a fan of Tottenham Hotspurs (really!)
Posted 11/21/2006 - 10:50:12 AM by SomeJerk:
 I remember reading a bio of Waits years ago and it said that sometime in the late seventies he stopped living the lifestyles he sings about. Is "Dog Door" the same "Dog Door" from the sparklehorse album? If so is the falsetto even Waits or is it Mark Linkous?
Posted 11/21/2006 - 10:58:15 AM by florenz6:
 RE: SomeJerk. Yes, the song is composed by Waits/Brennan/Linkous.
Posted 11/21/2006 - 02:10:37 PM by :
 "You could read in thóse years that that the music was partly a result of using heroin." If Talk Talk were using heroin at that time, you better believe EVERYTHING they did was in a direct causal relationship to the need to fix. Ask a doctor about this. You may want to experience some things before you talk about them so definitively :)
Posted 11/21/2006 - 02:14:52 PM by :
 i know some people who would kill to have you as their parole officer, florenz. would you forego administering the pisstest if someone assured you they were sober? i wouldn't.
Posted 11/21/2006 - 02:33:11 PM by :
 Possibly, SomeJerk. I'm talking about his persona mostly, and yeah early concert footage I saw on PBS.
Posted 11/21/2006 - 02:44:07 PM by florenz6:
 Re: Oh, dear, the rumour concerning Talk Talk was made up by journalists who thought such a music couldn´t be made without drugs. By the way, I would be very doubtful about everything a junkie would tell me. But Mark Hollis had no problems with that, I know for sure. So your phrase "If Talk Talk were using heroin..." is not based in reality. I know you have no reason to believe anything from someone who´s on hard drugs. And funny enough, no kidding, I worked with drug addicts (on a professional basis). So, instead of risking a big mouth and telling me something about the defense mechanisms of drug addicts (I´m the wrong adress and your sentence with the "parole officer" is so dull)- you should be very silent after presenting Tom Waits being "probably the worst alcoholic you can think of." Why are you doing that? So keep your not-knowing for yourself instead of jumping on every cliche available concerning Mr. Waits.
Posted 11/21/2006 - 02:48:44 PM by florenz6:
 Ah, you´re speaking about his persona.I see - that´s similar to suggesting that Sean Connery would be a great James Bond in real life.
Posted 11/21/2006 - 03:28:31 PM by :
 Sean Connery was a wife-beating prick in real life. At least Tom Waits doesn't beat his wife that I know of.
Posted 11/21/2006 - 05:16:12 PM by axiomatic:
 While I won't touch the whole "loser lifestyle" concept, having no proof, I definitely have had whiskey with Tom Waits in a bar as recently as last year. So he's no teetotaler, at the very least.
Posted 11/21/2006 - 06:30:27 PM by :
Posted 11/21/2006 - 06:31:39 PM by :
 i bet he just got done draining the mini bar before you two got up