Showing posts with label Tom Waits. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tom Waits. Show all posts

Thursday 6 May 2021

WordsWith Friends, Tom Waits , Repairman Jack and The Adversary Cycle

 My last few posts have been more focussed on single item although this is more about where I am at the moment.

I had been playing Scrabble on Facebook with a few friends but it became less stable to the point of often not being able to play , and so I went back to Words With Friends which I had left about eight years back due to the number of pop up adverts that stopped me from playing, or at least slowed it down.

Although it’s on Facebook and requires a Facebook login for the phone version, if I tried to play it on Facebook it did not link with what I was playing on the phone. Again there were the adverts which I discovered you could exit early , but the worst thing was how the app drained the phone battery especially if you did not close the app when you were finished. Also loading the app was very slow but I could live with it, but I checked the battery usage and it would drop significantly when I was playing the game. I have a Google Pixel 2XL. The other was people who wanted to chat, some were actually fine, but most were trying to sell me bitcoin and forex stuff despite me saying I wasn’t at all interested, then there were people demanding my email and hangouts address so they could chat (I pointed out they could chat in the app) , but it was a final nail in Words With Friends for me. I informed my two Facebook friends who I played with and removed it from my phone, and the performance and battery life have improved no end.

The main battery drainage is my sharing video on Instagram and converting it using the excellent YouCut but I am fine with that , processing does take power.

I am intending to share this on Vocal but at this point this article is only half the required length so now I am going on to what I am reading at the moment. Also as I am writing this I am listening to the excellent “Bastards” the third disc of the “Orphans” set by Tom Waits and that has been my listening yesterday and this morning after his surprisingly good collaboration with Crystal Gayle on the soundtrack of the Francis Ford Coppola film “One From The Heart”, although with Tom Waits the unexpected is almost always expected.

I have just gone to cast my Local Council vote and the temperature is 1 degree Centigrade , cars and roofs are iced and there is black ice on the footpaths.

So Repairman Jack. I am reading “The Tomb” , the second book in The Adversary Cycle. It bears no resemblance to “The Keep” , the first book which was based in the second World War in Romania with two supernatural opponents , Nazis and Holocaust references , and it is an excellent read although the film was less successful , but a film has a limited time span to tell the story whereas a book can last as long as you want.

This is a rereading of “The Tomb” but it’s based in the eighties , dated by Jack’s Betamax collection and the fact he can live easily off grid in New York. Jack fixes wrongs. This book flashes between the British Raj and Sepoy rebellion in 19th Century India and 1980s New York with a Religious fundamentalist and some “demons” under his control. The “demons” are trained creatures and mortal, so not necessarily supernatural.

As yet there seems to be no link with “The Keep” , in particular the Adversary Molasar/Rasalom , but I’m only 140 pages in which is just over a third through the book, so there is plenty of time yet for an appearance. This is where not having a perfect memory is a benefit, I know the books are good , I know the basic overall story but the details are missing. Also F Paul Wilson is an extremely engaging writer and knows how to reel you in, or he knows how to reel me in.

I will no doubt add more as I work through the book , but it’s just the second of six books so I have a long way to go, and I’m not sure if Jack appears in all the books. I could research but I am happy just reading and enjoying “The Tomb”.

Thursday 29 April 2021

Book of Distributed Power and Tom Waits

 This piece of writing includes a spoiler in the first paragraph, although if you have read the book “Legacies” it is irrelevant and if you haven’t it is still worth reading.

I am currently reading what I believe is the first Repairman Jack novel and the second “Adversary Cycle” novel by F Paul Wilson. They are the same book “The Tomb” , and that got me thinking of what is the second Repairman Jack novel (not part of the “Adversary Cycle” ) “Legacies” which deals with the concept of distributed power.

Distributed power would enable us to power things over the whatever waves, the same way as we do with television , radio , mobile phones and wifi encept doing things with power. I still don’t really understand how we can transfer music or video in the form of wifi or radio signals to a device and it succeeds. As you transfer whatever space is taken up on the device , so whatever is filling up that space must come from somewhere but we cannot see it.

We know it comes from somewhere and it goes somewhere and when it’s delivered we can use it , so the concept works , but I really don’t know how.

The nearest I am aware of to distributed power are the pads that you can buy to charge enabled devices to charge without plugging in. I suppose we could get worried if the waves were full of electricity variants, getting us scared of being fried like the claims against 5G mobile phone signals.

Imagine a world where everything worked in that way , you wouldn’t need to fill up a car or charge a phone or computer. You wouldn’t have to pug anything in. As I typ this I amd listening to “Small Change” by Tom Waits , the DD player is plugged into a socket and takes power from the wiring in my house.

Imagine no wiring and no plugs , power always available and always on. That’s how we think of our utilities. We expect our water to flow, our lights to come on when we flick the switch , our phone to work when we want to make a call, but we still generally have to plug things in or fill them up to actually use them.

Taking this further, imagine a self filling kettle or meals ready on demand , how convenient would that world be. Would we use the extra time to improve ourselves or would we just watch television and drink beer and wine? 

The things we do in life do take effort and time , but I feel if I didn’t have to plug things in and charge my phone or fill up a car, my life would be a lot simpler and allow me to do more and improve myself even more.

So that’s essentially what I wanted to say in this piece and it woul dbe interesting to find out if people have any other examples of distributed power type scenarios and also reasons why we couldn’t have that at our fingertips.

Again listening to Tom Waits’ “Small Change” which seems to be straying into “American Gothic” territory on many songs. His voice and delivery is unmistakable and I am impressed with how hes persona progresses and changes over his albums sequence. I was very impressed with the “Under The Influence” documentary on Amazon Prime and am enjoying revisiting his first five albums  in the Asylum box set.

The opening song on “Small Change” is “Tom Traubert’s Blues” was covered by Rod Stewart and the opener on his debut album “Closing Time” “Ol’ 55” was covered by The Eagles so while his vocal style may not appeal to mos tastes , mainstream artists can see how good the songs of Tom Waits are.

Friday 16 April 2021


This week I have been watching a couple of music programs / documentaries that I noticed on Amazon Prime. They were "Tom Waits : Under The Influence" and "Captain Beefheart: Under Review" . I am still working through the Captain Beefheart one which is is an in depth take on his development and influences with input from band members and music critics.

The Tom Waits one is an interesting one because it concentrates on the influences on Tom Waits' music by giving you potted histories of the artists that influenced him (sorry about the repetition of the word influence there ) . This has the effect of introducing you to each of these artists by sharing interviews , live video , music and text.

So we see Jack Kerouac , Frank Sinatra , Lord Buckley , Captain Beefheart (he an Tom have more than a passing visual resemblance)  , Ken Nordine who made his way doing voiceovers but also rapped as well as Kerouac and the beat poets but Nordine was low in his delivery letting the listener have time to take in the verbal images he was sharing. This documentary packs so much into it that you want to find out about the artists who influenced Tom Waits. 

As well as these Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht surface in the "SwordfishTrombones" universe with songs like "Underground" confirming this.

Beefheart's marimba influence appears on "Sixteen Shells" but the sound is undoubtedly Tom Waits.

Waits took things on board and progressed the ideas to make a decidedly Waitsian sound  and in that he has become an influence for many artists going forward , being covered by artists as diverse as The Eagles , Rod Stewart , Screaming Jay Hawkins and The Ramones.

Bothe documentaries feature the very articulate John French , "Drumbo" drummer and guitarist with various incarnations of Beefheart's  Magic Bands,

"Captain Beefheart: Under Review" concentrates on Beefheart and his music and bands and while challenging, is a great primer for the music , how he reinvented the standard song structures resulting in sounds that are most definitely challenging to the ear.

So what songs do we go with , well for Tom Waits it's "Sixteen shells from a thirty ought six" and Captain Beefheart "Big Eyed Beans From Venus" . If you can watch the documentaries , but check out the music. You never know you may discover something you like.

On a side note if you do blog you can earn a little pin money by advertising various things like the music links below and adsense to the right. , or direct links such as tattoo style fonts online which have some snazzy music related fonts to featuring in your work.

I am still writing "Mitarantula" so again that might be another repostory to use some eye striking fonts, although just on the front page rather than the whole book or document. The right font in a book can drag the reader in or throw the reader out. 

Good fonts should be easy to read and should not  put the reader off. I think most of this is plain Ariel.

Tuesday 13 April 2021

Coincidentally ... Ken Nordine

A couple of days ago on my Instagram #MusicWhileYouWork sequence i shared some of "Stay Awake" a collection of off the wall takes on Disney classics and the opener "Hey Diddle Dee Dee, An Actors Life For Me" from "Pinocchio" featured a spoken rap by someone called Ken Nordine who I was sort of unaware of but I, and you, have probably heard his voice.

His perfect enunciation was ideal for voice overs and "Dispepsi" by Negativland features a lit of uncredited adverts and I am sure that Nordine is in there. 

You can listen to him in the video above but while a lot of the beat poets hit the listener hard and fast , Nordine gives the listener time think and absorb the words and idea.

In the documentary "Tom Waits: Under The Influence" Tom Wait's influences' get mini documentaries themselves and Nordine has his and was active until his death in 2019, a very well spoken man and someone who I will be investigating further as he takes listening in another direction.

It's not everyone's taste, but I am glad to have discovered someone else that stimulates my imagination.

Take a listen and see what you think.


Friday 19 June 2020

#LikeNoOther #11 - Nadine Shah

I think this is #LikeNoOther #11 though I  may have missed one out as it's ages since I posted in this series. Nadine Shah has released a new album and the new album "Kitchen Sink"  (though just a thought Kitschen Sink would be a great album or book title)  doesn't let up.

Her music is not exactly danceable , but sounds like it doesn't conform to any norm. It has a highly percussive framework  which she and her band use to build the songs, and you finish every one thinking what the hell was that, I need to listen again.

Nadine , as far as I am concerned, falls in the same sprawling universe as all the other artists who have appeared in this series, but my immediate touchpoints are:

  • PJ Harvey
  • Siouxsie Sue and The Banshees
  • Captain Beefheart
  • The Incredible String Band
  • David Bowie
  • Ethiopiques
  • Tom Waits
There is a hell of a lot of original music around and it always amazes be that a combination of 12 notes can continually be moulded to give us something new and original. Nadine Shah continues to do that on every sone her and her band produces.

Watch and listen to the new single and your musical listening horizons will expand.

I've seen Nadine Shah twice and was very impressed both times. Her music is is as I've described and she has a very engaging stage personality as well so well worth going to see her, here are a couple of my reviews with some more video.

Monday 25 May 2020

Growing Old is Mandatory but Growing Up is Optional.

yesterday I was feeling in a black and down mood that I couldn't shake off, not sure why, but it was like I couldn't snap out of it , but there is always part of my mind that says YOU CAN hit normal again. The weather ranged from sunny to overcast , and overcast doesn't hely.

I have a dripping tap that I can't fix and don't want to risk a flood despite the online help that shows how to "simply" fix , but I have contacted someone to actually do the job so awaiting a call back (it is a Bank Holiday).

I don't think my mood was helped by watching episodes of "White Lines" , "Vikings" and "Altered Carbon" , all excellent TV but not exactly taking you to happy place (and still 50 episodes of "Vikings" to go)  , but actually watching "Spy" with Melissa McCarthy and Jason Statham really lifted my spirits ant the end of the day , both of them providing comedy gold in this James Bond spoof  with lots of violence and swearing but absolutely great entertainment.

I also couldn't even be bothered to write, but enjoyed listening to a few records. Sat at the keyboard to learn Tom Waits' "In The Neighbourhood" and then at the guitar for a run through "Crossroads" and "Cocaine" all of which were adequate but not yer shareable.

I didn't even want to walk, but then got myself out and actually completed my 11K steps for the day and that again made me feel better.

For me , it's basically find something that makes you feel better and do that that. Hitting targets is usually good , but maybe avoid the darker things.

Having said that I am going to share Tom Waits' "I Don't Wanna Grow Up"  which featured in the "Cracked Jukebox" documentary broadcast on the BBC, and is really one of my aims of life. The song appears on the soundtrack of the film "Jojo Rabbit" as well.

Apparently the Ramones covered this , so I need to find that don't I? I did, and really OMG that is soooooo god The Ramones covering Tom Waits , almost as revelatory as Hendrix covering Dylan, that is brilliant and has made this weekend end on a definite upward trajectory.

Great quote from the Youtube feed:

"My dad always said growing old is mandatory but growing up is optional."

Today is Bank Holiday Monday and I intend to enjoy it very much.

Sunday 26 April 2020

When Did This Happen?

A couple of my last posts have alerted me to music because it was used in a TV series particularly "Come On Up To The House" by Tom Waits in "Orange is the New Black" and "Congregation" by Low in "Devs" . These are two recent examples but there are so many more and it seems to be that TV programs are one of the main ways of spreading music to the general public.

These days music means nothing to many people and even if they do listen it's a Spotify playlist where they skip to the next song after twenty seconds because they don't really listen. Mobile phone companies promote the speed of their network telling us you can download an album in seconds ... but it still takes forty minutes or so to listen to it.

There seems to be less music in adverts , or maybe it's me not watching live TV and therefore skipping advert sso missing the music, and when you get back to the sixties you heard music on the radio , Top of The Pops  or from friends or discos. I think there was a Cadbury's Fruit and Nut advert in the late sixties early seventies that used "Return of Django" by The Upsetters with Terry Gilliam inspired animation but I can't find the advert.

So that's where we're at and I thought I'd share before bed, and we will listen to "The Return of Django"

Friday 24 April 2020

New Old Things

I was going to write that I was slightly sad or disappointed in something that happened, but then thought , no it's just the opposite , you have found another great thing that you were unaware of. I was watching "Orange Is The New Black" "40 Oz. of Furlough" (I think) , the episode where Piper goes to her grandma's funeral and her brother hijacks  the occasion for his wedding , and song was playing which I thought sounded beautiful but also the voice was Tom Waits.

There's a great line in the song (probably a lot more than this)

"Come Down Off The Cross, We Can Use The Wood"

While I have the album "Mule Variations" the song had not stuck with me, but it is a really wonderful song with some great lyrics.

And the point is , though "Orange Is The New Black" is not exactly essential viewing for me, it throws up some brilliant moments and is absorbing and every so often there;s an absolute gem like this.

The same is true for anything that is slightly out of your normal, try it , you may not like it but you may discover (or rediscover) something totally brilliant like this. Listen to the Tom Waits song and watch the "Orange is The New Black" scene, you may discover something new too.

Sunday 15 December 2019

On The Tip Of My Finger

I wear contact lenses and quite often when putting them it, I drop them or cant find them in their container or hit other problems. Sometimes I think I have dropped one in the solution filled receptacle and come the following morning see that I messed and it's dried out next to the sink. Usually a dip into the solution revives them. Sometimes I find them on the floor, but if you drop them they can go anywhere, down the plughole, stick to your clothes or the side of the cabinet. Today I lost the contact lense for my right eye, I could find it anywhere, and eventually gave up then I got mt left eye lens and noticed the end of my finger was very shiny, the right lens had stuck to it so well that I couldn't see it at first.

Any non contact lens wearer, if you wear glasses or have good eyesight you never hit this problem, but as a contact lense wearer it's one of the many inconvenienced you experience , however these are worth the hassle as the benefits of wearing them against glasses are huge not least of which is they don't steam up when you come from the cold outside into a warm house (ship shops are terrible for that).

Anyway at the beginning of the month, to hit 366 posts for the year I calculated I needed to post 13 posts every 11 days. Actually it's 13 posts every ten days which is roughly four every three days and and today is the fifteenth and this is the twentieth post this month so I am just on track so can actually do it.

Continuing on with "On Some Faraway Beach" it put forward the premise that if a record label had a following, that following would investigate and maybe buy anything that that label produced, this had been true of Atlantic, and was true in the seventies of Island and Brian Eno's Obscure imprint. The only records I have on this are Gavin Bryars "Sinking of the Titanic" and "Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet", which was based on a homeless man's singing but features Tom Waits as well.

I also have Brian Eno's "Discreet Music" which features deconstructions of Pachelbel's "Canon" which I will share with you for this post, it's strangely relaxing and relaxingly strange, familiar but alien.

Saturday 9 November 2019


Coming back from holiday I weighed myself. No I am terrible at dieting and eating the right foods and taking exercise (although by stating this means that I am aware of this) so I expected to have increased weight. I was surprised to see that I weighed in at 98.3 Kg (that's 15 stone 7 lb imperial) which is the lowest I've been for over thirty years, I just wish that this could continue with as little effort as I've given it in the last week.

I know lowering my weight is better for me but I am very easily tempted and of the opinion that life is to be enjoyed as much as possible which sometimes means going outside the recommendations. Having said that a nurse once told me that I should not eat fruit and should only eat celery and turnips. Hardly inspiring, I ignored her.

I do like eating things that taste nice and think that when you do eat it is for the taste not the actual consumption. This morning I have had a couple of small cold satsumas which were very pleasant , and the fibre is good for bodily functions but the most captivating part is the taste on your tongue and in your mouth.

So this is just a short post to mark another slight drop in my weight. I know a lot of people join organisations such as Weight Watchers and Slimming World but really just go and see your GP they will weigh you and advise you and if you are in the UK that is "free" (paid for by your National Insurance and taxes).

For today's song we'll go with Tom Waits' "Eggs and Sausage"  which I do enjoy every now and then.

Monday 4 November 2019

Restarting The Wire

I've just restarted watching "The Wire" picking it up at the start of series 3, and it is a stunning series. My friend Nick had to turn on subtitles to understand the streetspeak though I have managed the first two series without subtitles.

Along with "Breaking Bad" and "The Sopranos" this occupies the pinnacle of episodic TV, essential watching for anyone who likes entertainment that stimulates and stretches your mind.

All these programs also feature impeccable featured music and an unusual feature of "The Wire" is that each series features a different take on Tom Waits' "Way Down In The Hole" as the theme song. The list is below and they are all here.:

  • Season 1: The Blind Boys of Alabama 
  • Season 2: Tom Waits 
  • Season 3: The Neville Brothers  
  • Season 4: DoMaJe 
  • Season 5: Steve Earle

So we go with The Neville Brothers take as that's the series that I am watching now.

Tuesday 15 October 2019

Dis Pepsi Max - #Oktoberfest #17 - Drink It Up - Negativland

Yesterday I decided I had a motherlode for #Oktoberfest in the songs of Tom Waits, which is obviously true enough, but I don't think I've touched The Pogues, The Dubliners , Thin Lizzy and many others and I saw an ad for Coca Cola and this reminded me of one of my favourite albums ever "DisPepsi" by Negativland and fantastic discontruction of advertising and the Pepsi / Coke war. It is a bit difficult to track down now but it is available at the time of posting on Youtube here. An absolutely essential listen.

It's chock full of subversive tunes that are probably more relevant today that when it came out around 1990, still often played by me and I am listening to it as I type this, "Happy Hero" is so pertinent to Trump, Johnson and Michael Jackson.

The song I've chosen is "Drink It Up" which mainly refers to Pepsi but lists lots of other promoted beverages, but the whole album is an essential listen but I have never heard it on the radio on any station.

So what else?

The blog has hit 20K visits for this month and we are just approaching half way so it would seem it's very popular (with robots). I'm even getting the odd comment (though mostly advertising links) which I may or may not remove.

I have finished "The God Delusion" and is has hardened my attitude to religion significantly but it's time for another book now. I would still accept God if that God turned up and demonstrated that was actually what he was.

Time for Tea.

Monday 14 October 2019

Walking Off The Walking Dead - #Oktoberfest #16 - Jockey Full Of Bourbon - Tom Waits

I've finally given up on The Walking Dead as it seems to have drifted too far from it's main concept. Yes it's post apocalyptic and things can go off it so many directions but I am still vaguely wondering what happened to Rick when he was spirited off in that unknown helicopter. I'm not that observant so I may have missed something and the latest series started and it was like I couldn't remember where I was in it and the zombies are just an embellishment rather than the result of what caused this situation. No doubt people will be able to enjoy it and I didn't stop watching because it was bad, but because it had run out for me.

One of the problems is there is some much excellent television and only a limited amount of time. There is nothing wrong with ending a series, I'm thinking "Game of Thrones" , "Black Sails" and "Breaking Bad" but I have now picked up "Vikings" and "Preacher" and with "His Dark Materials" on the way I think my television time is spoken for well into 2020.

For some reason I thought I could hit a record number of annual posts this months by instigating #Oktoberfest but I still have to post 43 more seventeen days to go , so three posts a day is not going to happen but I will likely complete it in November.

So the #Oktoberfest song today is "Jockey Full of Bourbon" by Tom Waits from "Raindogs", and it was Hannah Berry (Comic Laureate) on here Paperback Writers show on 6Music yesterday who played it and reminded that if I need songs about drink Tom Waits provides a rich vein to mine. I had been having problems trying to think of songs related to drink but I am sure I can hit another 15-20 by the end of the month.

It's a greyish Monday but go out and hit the world.

Sunday 6 October 2019

Newcastle to Whitby by Train - #Oktoberfest #6 - Gin Soaked boy - Tom Waits

I decided too to try Newcastle to Whitby by train as I hadn't done it before, didn't realise there was a direct train (26 stops) and a return fare for two was only thirty pounds. On the Friday going down the train stopped at Hartlepool because of a broken down freight train but Northern rail laid on a taxi to Whitby resulting in us getting there half an hour earlier than expected.

It's a scenic and long (timewise) route, but anyone can do it plus you get to the end and don't have to find a car park. You have to be selective in what you buy because you have to carry everything back, but the peace of mind that the relaxation gives you is so worth it. My next two holidays are by train and it really makes it more of a holiday for me. I know some will require a car but it is so pleasant when you can do it by bus or train.

I was surprised to come home to see that the blog had passed 300K visits, despite no posts since Friday.

So continuing #Oktoberfest we're hitting the Gin with Tom Waits' "Gin Soaked Boy" from "Swordfishtrombones" . My friends Peter and Jane run The Northumberland Gin Company so worth trying if you are a Gin connoisseur.

Sunday 17 February 2019

The Best Record Ever?

We are always seeing polls about the greatest record, album , song , gig ever and people often ask me what was my favourite bit of some performance. My answer is almost always that I can't give an answer. I have a lot of  artists that I like and a lot of albums that I enjoy listening to over and over again but I am always open to new ideas. Having said that if you were to posit that Beethoven's Ninth Symphony was the finest piece every written I wouldn't argue against that.

I'm a great fan of Bob Dylan , Van Morrison , Tom Waits , Nick Drake and then I like Yes , Pink Floyd , Pop Will Eat Itself and Genesis . The list is very very long. I love Jimi Hendrix's "Electric Ladyland" but while probably "1983" is my favourite song , his take on "All Along The Watchtower" would be my favourite single of choice because it combines Hendrix's voice and playing with some excellent Dylan lyrics. The thing is "Elect Ladyland"'s predecessors are both amazing albums as well.

So I've hardly started and there is so much I could say. My favourite album of all time is Spirit's "Future Games" followed by "El Dorado" by the Electric Light Orchestra. "Future" Games" also contains a Spirit take on "All Along The Watchtower".

Going back to Dylan maybe "Lily,Rosemary and The Jack of Hearts" is by favourite song and is from "Blood on the Tracks" but then songs like "Desolation Row" and "Tempest" are wonderful (and long) songs.

I am also a fan of keeping it simple, and while it's amazing to play a million notes a second, if you can make one note interesting, then that is true genius. The Coasters' "I'm A Hog For You Baby" and "Tommy Gun" by The Clash both contain one note guitar solos. Added to this songs that just contain one or two chords mean that anyone can play them m Van Morrison wrote "Gloria" and Jonathan Richman's "Roadrunner" gets away with two chords.

I was writing this as an excuse to share The Avalanches "Frontier Psychiatrist" a totally dumbfounding patchwork of samples that solicitors gave up trying to sue for. Is is comedy ? Is it pop? I haven't a clue but it sounds amazing and the video is wonderful too, another example of musical genius and while it is a favourite of mine I really still can't tell you what my favourite is.

Friday 6 October 2017

Hits and Misses

I decided to listen to the three albums I have by Dave Ackles, I remembered being impressed by "American Gothic" and the song "Road To Cairo" from his eponymous first album is listed as a classic, then there's the final album "Subway To The Country".

My verdict is that "Road To Cairo" is ok and while the first and third albums don't make me want to turn the things off, some of it descends into boring bar room schmaltz, I don't think I will be revisiting them any time soon.

I then thought I'd try the Grateful Dead's  "Go To Heaven" . The opener "Alabama Getawy" is ok country rock but the album just gets blander and blander with "Saint of Circumstance" and "Easy To Love You" the only ones shouwing any signs of life but almost wiped by the awfully bland eighties production. Even the Dead have their off days, another I won't be revisiting.

Which brings me back to "American Gothic" , which , while a little earnest , is a worthwhile addition to any record collection. There are elements of Tom Waits and Billy Joel in here with orchestration recalling the music of that archetypal American Aaron Copland. It takes us through an Americal landscape that predates modern culture, with the unnerving title track which is followed by the beautiful "Loves Enough" before veering off onto another off kilter narrative "Ballad of The Ship of State" and the album continues in this vein until the run out of "Montana Song".

If you have Amazon Prime then give it a listen.

It's time for bed so I'll leave you with "Loves Enough".

Tuesday 19 September 2017

Days of Grey

Looking at the sky outside, it's grey again. Cloudy and it looks like rain. It's also cold. But it isn't raining....yet. is the thing that might hit my walking targets, but the physical benefits are going to keep me trying. As long as I can use an umbrella and avoid getting soaked then I will be fine.

Another thing is the fact that I can listen to music on my walks, and therefore let you know whatalbums I have been listening to.

Yesterday that alvum was "Bone Machine" by Tom Waits. When somethone mentions that I always thing of "Earth Dies Screaming", That song along with "In The Colloseum" sounds like the sort of music a minor demon in an anteroom of one of the levels of Dante's Infernal Hades would be making, and I love that. But there are more accessibly songs , almost tender (and Tom Waits does tender well) such as "Who Are You?" and "Whistle Down The Wind", then there is the threat of "Murder In The Red Barn" and "Black Wings" but the one I will share with you is "I Don't Wanna Grow Up" almost a nursey song that we could all do with following.

Yesterday I got another sale on my Discogs store, though I then discovered I need to send it to Finland so that will be fun sorting that out at the Post Office. I am also going to buy a charger for this "non working" iPod as when the guy in CEX tried it a menu did come up, and I can pick one up for a pound in Poundland.

Well I am going to brave the greyness and get off to work now.

Saturday 12 August 2017

30th Century Man 2: Scott Walker vs Tom Waits

Last nigh I finished watching 30th Century Man and Fiona got hooked. She said that Scott was very like Tom Waits. I disagreed, but then thought they do have a lot of similarities. The main difference is that Tom Waits' music lives in a skewed version of reality while Scott Walkers' seems to me to be in a completely different universe.

As I'm witing this I'm listening to "Cossacks Are" the opening song from "The Drift" which features in the film. After watch the film you are left wonderfing the closing percussion instrument is, as you see dustbins and slabs of meat being used.

Both artiss started out reasonably mainstream, the main difference that Scott was a pin up and Tom looked like a tramp (a description often given to me). Scott charted with the Walker Brothers and when he split he was successful as a solo artist until "Scott 4". Tom's success was augmented my others such as The Eagles, Bruce Springsteen and Rod Stewart covering his songs.

Then for Tom came "Swordfishtrombones" and for Scott "Climate of the Hunter" where they both truly left the mainstream. Tom often used made up intruments but his composition still are recognisable as songs.

Someone wrote about Scott's pieces (and this is how I remember what they said) "they're not songs, they something else" and I can see what he means. You don't listen to a Scott Walker album and get away with not paying attention.

Currently playing is "Clara" inspired by the execution of Mussolini and his girlfriend that Scott had seen on cinema newsreels as a child , and the adults would not explain what had happened, it features the meat percussion.

His pieces are poems mixed with tone pieces, they give the impressions of massiveness and claustrophobia, they do make you feel, but you have a feeling of not knowing where or when you are, maybe something like a mental flotation tank.

Tom Waits is clearer, he takes you on journeys , on foot or in a dodgy automobile, he is Americanm but not a TV American, his stories are engaing and you often wonder "what's that playing". They are songs though.

I think the only other people I could group with these two are Captain Beefheart, The Fall then to some effect Bowie, Zappa and Siouxsie and maybe Pearls Before Swine.

I was surprised to hear that Scott Walker never listens to his work once it's finished. I can understand an autor not reading his own books, but given that Scott is often ten years between albums he does have time to listen to his amazing work.

Having said that Tom Waits is almost a relief after listening to Scott Walker. Two amazing, amazing artists.