Friday, January 19, 2018

What's (Re)New?: Tom Waits — Elektra/Asylum Catalogue

The first time I heard Nighthawks at the Diner, I was immediately a Tom Waits fan.  My dad recorded that album on a cassette along with three or four cuts from 1980's Heartattack & Vine to fill the available room left on the b-side.  I was just in love with its mood, more or less aching to be in that crowd, hearing Waits offer tribute to the "bachelors and the bowery bums" not to the mention the "gyspy hacks, the insomniacs."  I could almost the smell the secondhand smoke from that performance as surely as I could hear its content via playback.  This album is probably the reason I like diners as much as I do. 


Needless to say, with Nighthawks acting as precipice, I willfully dove into Waits's extensive canon armed with more blank cassettes, beginning with his earliest work, hitting 1999's Mule Variations when it was a new release and then eventually looking back to the Island years.  My pattern of Waits discovery was more of a zigzag in the 00s, as I was buying new ANTI releases while delving into the Island output.  

Following a reissue campaign of Waits's ANTI catalogue in 2017, the label has decided to do the same with his Elektra/Asylum albums, beginning with his debut LP, Closing Time, which should hit the virtual and physical marketplace on March 9th.  The other six LPs (The Heart of Saturday Night, the aforementioned Nighthawks, Small Change, Foreign Affairs, Blue Valentine, and Heartattack & Vine) will be issued over the course of 2018.  All records will be available on vinyl and CD.  

All info on was provided by Big Mouth Publicity.  

ANTI RECORDS TO RE-RELEASE TOM WAITS’ ENTIRE 1970s ELEKTRA ASYLUM CATALOGUE IN 2018

HISTORIC DEBUT ALBUM ‘CLOSING TIME’ TO BE RELEASED ON 9 MARCH

ALSO ON 9 MARCH,
‘HEART OF SATURDAY NIGHT’, ‘NIGHTHAWKS AT THE DINER’, ‘SMALL CHANGE’, ‘FOREIGN AFFAIRS’, ‘BLUE VALENTINE’ AND ‘HEARTATTACK AND VINE’ AVAILABLE ON STREAMING SERVICES AND DIGITAL PLATFORMS. VINYL VERSIONS WILL BE RELEASED THROUGHOUT 2018

CD VERSIONS OF ALL ALBUMS WILL BE AVAILABLE ON 23 MARCH


photo by Matt Kramer
Tom Waits’ first seven albums, originally released through Elektra Asylum Records in the 1970’s, have been re-mastered and will be re-released via Anti-Records. All titles – many of which have been long out of print – will be re-issued on hi quality 180 gram vinyl throughout 2018. CD versions will be available on 23 March with digital releases slated for 9 March. Pre-order HERE.

Waits’ time-honored and critically acclaimed debut album
Closing Time will be available on 180 gram vinyl, digital platforms and streaming services on 9 March. Pre-order Closing Time on CD, LP and digitally HERE.

Closing Time foreshadows the distinctly lyrical storytelling and original blending of jazz, blues and folk styles that would come to be associated with Waits. It is on this debut album that Waits performs enduring classics of his career “Ol’ 55” (famously covered by the Eagles), the heartbreaking “Martha” and the gentle acoustic folk of “I Hope That I Don’t Fall In Love With You”.

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MORE INFORMATION ON THE ADDITIONAL SIX ALBUMS, WHICH WILL BE RELEASED LATER IN 2018 INCLUDED BELOW:

Heart of Saturday Night (1974)
Expanding beyond the folk and pop stylings of his first album, Waits’ second studio release Heart of Saturday Night established his reputation as a versatile and distinctly American songwriter. Its bluesy jazz arrangements featured bass, drums, sax and Waits on piano. The title track, a melancholy ode to Saturday night rituals, and the tenderly romantic hymn-like “San Diego Serenade” are enduring classics covered by an array of artists from Diana Krall and Nancy Griffith to folk hero Eric Anderson. The album also features “Diamonds on My Windshield”, the first of what would become a signature for Waits’, the spoken word-poetry song. Waits’ delivers these lyrics as pure beat jazz in the stylings of Kerouac, Langston Hughes and Bob Kaufman.

Nighthawks at the Diner (1975)
Recorded in front of a live audience at the Record Plant recording studio in Los Angeles in 1975,
Nighthawks at the Diner debuts some of Waits’ greatest classics like “Warm Beer, Cold Women” and “Eggs and Sausage” with a crack Jazz ensemble backing him up and some of the greatest stage patter ever committed to record.

Small Change (1976)
Small Change is a masterpiece that contains some of Waits’ best early work. Classic jazz, Tin Pan Alley, and Stephen Foster filtered through Tom’s unique worldview and lyrical genius. Heartbreaking, hilarious and always vivid, songs like “Step Right Up”, “Tom Traubert’s Blues”, “I Wish I Was in New Orleans”, “The Piano Has Been Drinking”, and “Invitation to the Blues” are all classics that have influenced generations of songwriters since. Recorded with a live orchestra and featuring jazz legend Shelly Manne on drums, Small Change is a classic and stands as one of Tom Waits most popular recordings.

Foreign Affairs (1977)
1977’s
Foreign Affairs takes the jazz and poetry that Tom Waits explored on his earlier albums in a more cinematic direction, foreshadowing his own breakthrough work in the 80s. Opening with the instrumental “Cinny’s Waltz” and featuring some new standards like “Muriel” and “I Never Talk To Strangers”, his dramatic duet with Bette Midler, this album gets into some of Waits’ most ambitious storytelling ever. Foreign Affairs also features the jazzy, colorful “Jack and Neil” and the sweeping, dramatic “Potters Field” as well as classic Waits ballads “Burma Shave” and “Sight for Sore Eyes”.

Blue Valentine (1978)
Blue Valentine is a big departure from earlier Waits albums. Trading the piano for the guitar, Waits is getting rawer and bluesier and title track is a great example of this. Waits is in transition here, so you also get a stunning orchestrated rendition of Gershwin’s “Somewhere”, and the beautiful piano ballad, “Kentucky Ave.”, but you also get the juke joint swagger of “Romeo Is Bleeding” and “Whistlin’ Past the Graveyard”. This is also the record that contains one of Waits’ most popular songs ever, “Christmas Card from A Hooker in Minneapolis”.

Heartattack & Vine (1980)
Released in 1980,
Heartattack and Vine was Waits’ final album on Elektra Asylum and it built on the raw blues approach of Blue Valentine with the incendiary title track, the funky, organ driven “Downtown” and the stomping NOLA blues of “Mr. Siegal”. This album also contains some of Waits most popular ballads, including “Jersey Girl” which was famously a hit for Bruce Springsteen. “On the Nickle” is a moving song about the homeless people who lived on 5th street in downtown LA, and “Ruby’s Arms” is a beautiful song with a lovely Bach-like melody.

www.tomwaits.com

Sincerely,
Letters From A Tapehead
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