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"WILD YEARS-THE MUSIC & MYTH OF TOM WAITS" BY JAY S. JACOBS

AVAILABLE IN BOOK STORES EVERYWHERE!

 

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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Record Reviews > Step Right Up: The Songs of Tom Waits

MUSIC REVIEWS

Various Artists-Step Right Up: The Songs of Tom Waits (Manifesto)

Tom Waits is the best songwriter of this generation, yet many people are scared away from his songs by his midnight, cigarettes and whiskey vocal style.

 

You can just see a record company exec pondering how to sell Waits' music to the masses. Suddenly a lightbulb goes on over his head. Tribute album!

 

Well, all tribute albums are a mixed bag, so I wasn't expecting too much, but I'm pleasantly surprised how little of a sell-out this is.

 

The artists involved may change up Waits' music a bit, but they remain stubbornly true to his musical vision. For example, in its own way, the Violent Femmes' take on the title track is as disquieting as anything the master himself has done, and the Femmes strongest moment yet.

 

Pete Shelley turns "Better Off Without A Wife" into a great punk anthem, Magnapop deconstructs "Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis" and The Tindersticks deceptively pretty musical yet vocally dead version of "Mockingbird" captures the songs' self-pity and loathing.

 

Even the more straight forward songs work, 10,000 Maniacs version of "I Hope That I Don't Fall In Love With You," with it's minute story-telling detail, would have fit snuggly on any of the band's albums.

 

Get this album, learn to love the songs, then seek out the sources.  (4/96)

 

Jay S. Jacobs

 

Copyright 1996 PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved. Revised: January 31, 2016.

 

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Copyright 1996 PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved. Revised: January 31, 2016.