Verble Gherulous’s Brief Introduction to the Mad Mad World of Tom Waits
First, one should know that there are two Tom Waits:
1) Piano Blues Tom Waits
2) Pure Gravel Static Tom Waits.
Both are absolute genius.
A start with the “transitional” albums (late 70’s/early 80s) between the two is probably the best way to get a true appreciation of the entire oeuvre. Personally, I would suggest listening to the following albums in order:
Album #1) Blue Valentines. My personal favourite. Pure poetry, rainslicked streets, and whiskeysoaked vocals.
Album #2) Rain Dogs. *THE* transitional album, although some may think that actually is . . .
Album #3) Swordfishtrombones. This album is suburbia seen through the eyes of Picasso.
Album #4) Foreign Affairs. Tight mysteries and midnight road movies.
Album #5) Bone Machine. Suffering madness, beautiful delusion.
Album #6) Small Change. Punks, pimps, tramps, thieves, such beautiful tragedy.
Album #7) Mule Variations. Picture American Gothic drenched in sepia tones.
Album #8) Nighthawks at the Diner. An intimate evening with a brilliant magician at a piano.
With these albums tucked under your belt, you will have the essential Tom Waits. All the rest is just gravy. Delicious gravy with a haunted aftertaste of blood and gin.
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