Song: "Johnsburg, Illinois"
sound clip (Falkner version) |
sound clip (Tom Waits version)
2. Shore Leave
3. Dave The Butcher
4. Johnsburg, Illinois
5. 16 Shells From A Thirty-Ought Six
6. Town With No Cheer
7. In The Neighborhood
8. Just Another Sucker On The Vine
9. Frank's Wild Years
11. Down, Down, Down
12. Soldier's Things
13. Gin Soaked Boy
14. Trouble's Braids
Waits' debut for Island Records is nothing short of a modern American
masterpiece-an anthology of gin-soaked, graphic tales of pleasure and
pain. The trademark gravelly (make that rock-filled) voice is still present
but Waits sounds more melodic and tuneful than ever before. His rabid cult following will
eat this one up without a doubt-yet it's about time that Tom Waits receives the
widespread recognition he deserves. He's witty, poignant and powerful-and a master
storyteller to boot Open your ears and minds. Top cuts: "Shore Leave, "Johnsburg, Illinois,"
"16 Shells From A 30.6," "In The Neighborhood," and the title track.
© 1978-1999 College Media, Inc.
Mini - Bio:
In the 1970s, Tom Waits combined a lyrical focus on
desperate, lowlife characters with a persona that seemed to
embody the same lifestyle, which he sang about in a raspy,
gravelly voice. From the '80s on, his work became
increasingly theatrical as he moved into acting and
composing. Growing up in Southern California, Waits
attracted the attention of manager Herb Cohen, who also
handled Frank Zappa, and was signed by him at the
beginning of the 1970s, resulting in the material later released
as The Early Years and The Early Years, Vol. 2. His formal
recording debut came with Closing Time (1973) on Asylum Records, an album that
contained "Ol' 55," which was covered by labelmates the Eagles on their On the Border
album. Waits attracted critical acclaim and a cult audience for his subsequent albums, The
Heart of Saturday Night (1974), the two-LP live set Nighthawks at the Diner (1975),
Small Change (1976), Foreign Affairs (1977), Blue Valentine (1978), and Heart Attack
and Vine (1980).
His music and persona proved highly cinematic, and starting in 1978 he
launched parallel careers as an actor and as a composer of movie music. He wrote songs
for and appeared in Paradise Alley (1978), wrote the title song for On the Nickel (1980),
and was hired by director Francis Coppola to write the music for One from the Heart
(1982), which earned him an Academy Award nomination. While working on that project,
Waits met and married playwright Kathleen Brennan, with whom he later collaborated.
Moving to Island Records, Waits made Swordfishtrombones (1983), which found him
experimenting with horns and percussion and using unusual recording techniques. The same
year, he appeared in in Coppola's Rumble Fish and The Outsiders, and in 1984, he
appeared in the director's The Cotton Club. In 1985, he released Rain Dogs. In 1986, he
appeared in Down by Law and made his theatrical debut with Chicago's Steppenwolf
Theatre in Frank's Wild Years, a musical play he had written with Brennan. An album
based on the play was released in 1987, the same year Waits appeared in the films Candy
Mountain and Ironweed. In 1988, he released a film and soundtrack album depicting one
of his concerts, Big Time. In 1989, he appeared in the films Bearskin: An Urban
Fairytale, Cold Feet, and Wait Until Spring. In 1991, he appeared in the films Queens'
Logic, The Fisher King, and At Play in the Fields of the Lord. In 1992, he scored the film
Night on Earth, released the album Bone Machine, which won a Grammy Award for Best
Alternative Music Album, and appeared in the films Deadfall and Bram Stoker's Dracula.
In 1993, he released The Black Rider, the recording of a musical he had co-written with
Beat novelist William Burroughs for opera director Robert Wilson in 1990, and appeared
in the film Short Cuts.
A long absence from recording resulted in the 1998 release of
Beautiful Maladies, a retrospective of his work for Island. In 1999, Waits finally returned
with a new album, Mule Variations.
- by William Ruhlmann, All Music Guide
© 1999 AEC One Stop Group, Inc.