Date of issue: 21 November 2006
Carrier 3 x CD

Track listing:

01. Lie To Me
02. LowDown
03. 2:19
04. Fish In The Jailhouse
05. Bottom Of The World
06. Lucinda
07. Ain't Goin' Down To The Well
08. Lord I've Been Changed
09. Puttin' On The Dog
10. Road To Peace
11. All The Time
12. The Return Of Jackie and Judy
13. Walk Away
14. Sea Of Love
15. Buzz Fledderjohn
16. Rains On Me

01. Bend Down The Branches
02. You Can Never Hold Back Spring
03. Long Way Home
04. Widow's Grove
05. Little Drop Of Poison
06. Shiny Things
07. World Keeps Turning
08. Tell It To Me
09. Never Let Go
10. Fannin Street
11. Little Man
12. It's Over
13. If I Have To Go
14. Goodnight Irene
15. The Fall Of Troy
16. Take Care Of All My Children
17. Down There By The Train
18. Danny Says
19. Jayne's Blue Wish
20. Young At Heart

01. What Keeps Mankind Alive
02. Children's Story
03. Heigh Ho
04. Army Ants
05. Books Of Moses
06. Bone Chain
07. Two Sisters
08. First Kiss
09. Dog Door
10. Redrum
11. Nirvana
12. Home I'll Never Be
13. Poor Little Lamb
14. Altar Boy
15. The Pontiac
16. Spidey's Wild Ride
17. King Kong
18. On The Road

After the luxurious, limited, stuffed with a 94 page booklet - and quite expensive - first edition of the album Orphans of Tom Waits, the company Anti-/Epitaph prepared a slightly cheaper, "paperback" version of this album. The setup and contents of the music remains the same, but the booklet was reduced to 24 pages. On the disc 56 songs were placed, including 30 new ones, never published before, and 26 do not appear on official, authors' albums of Tom Waits - reason enough, to make all fans of this American poet, story-teller, composer and vocalist, but also an actor and and unequaled stage personality, have tachycardia. Waits, together with his wife, Kathleen Brennan spent three years collecting songs, spread among many publishers, searching for bits of songs begun some time ago, but never finished, and buried in the home archives, and writing completely new pieces. This process - according to Waits - resembled catching chicken, that scattered on the whole beach. But in the end all those indocile "orphans" could have been caught and split in three smaller "herds", according to their provenience and temperament. In the first herd the biggest brawlers were included, with an impeccable American origin (different kinds of blues, some work songs, a bit of gospel and a tad of country). To the second herd the bawlers were driven, meaning slightly sentimental, lyrical, melancholic, sometimes tragic individuals, coming from different traditions: from plebeian waltz and tangos, through folk with a Celtic background to jazzy ballads, calling Louis Armstrong, Nat "King" Cole, Bing Crosby, Perry Como and the whole galaxy of vocalists and singers, especially from the golden era of the pre-rock fifties to mind. Those that remained, are the bastards, with very different and sometimes complicated origin. But Waits and Brennan did not treat them with disdain, but with exceptional care. It was worth it, as in this multi origin group a song of Brecht and Weill "What Keeps Mankind Alive", Charles Bukowski poem "Nirvana", Jack Kerouac song "Home I'll Never Be", reworked to a grim chain march song of the diligent dwarfs from "Snow White", "Heigh Ho", blood freezing cover of "King Kong" of the legendary Daniel Johnston, or the humorous, presented with the eloquence of the best comedians sketches "Dog Treat" (about dog food) or "Missing My Son" (about a nice old lady, that is in reality a cunning swindler) can be found. If the CDs Brawlers and Bawlers present us the Waits we know well, then the Bastards show his less known - but equally fascinating - side.

Among the pieces collected on the Orphans album we can also find an almost exhausting selection of songs written by Waits and Brennan on request from film makers of films like Dead Man Walking ("The Fall of Troy", "Walk Away"), The End of Violence ("Little Drop of Poison", also used in Shrek2), Liberty Heights ("Putting on the Dog", "It's Over"), Pollock ("The World Keeps Turning"), Big Bad Love ("Long Way Home", "Jayne's Blue Wish") or the Oscar winner short animation Bunny ("Bend Down the Branches"). There are also more covers than those mentioned while talking about Bastards, including such unusual pieces, like "Sea Of Love" of the known from his collaboration with Massive Attack Horace Andy, "Ain't Goin' Down To The Well" and "Goodnight Irene" from Leadbelly or "The Return Of Jackie And Judy" and "Danny Says" of The Ramones. Why talking about that. You just have to listen to this yourselves and immerse fully in the strange, sometimes funny, sometimes horrible world of Tom Waits. The highest notes of this album in the reviewers rankings ("Mojo", "Uncut", "NME") and the return of Waits on the covers of many magazines, from the Sunday edition of the British "The Observer" to the German "Jazz zeit", Swedish "Sonic" or the Italian "Buscadero" tells not only about high position of this artist on the English speaking market, but about global reach of his art (Sonic Records)

Waits' discs contain most different material, and the sound quality evaluation reflects in no way the joy of listening (if we like this kind of music). In general, the sound is recorded loud, what suggest large compression. Surprisingly much, taking into account the "non-commercial" character of those recordings - demos, left outs, and similar - could have been extracted out of the recordings, because regardless of the recording quality, the sound is coherent and full. On Waits' voice so many different effects were put, that it is difficult to determine if it sounds well or not, as there is no reference point. In places where it can be heard more "straight", there it can be noticed, how well such a difficult timbre, like his voice, can be recorded. As with all compilations, also here the sound is different from recording to recording - from a dull, very bad registered "Low Down" through the lazy "Bottom of the World" to the very good "Lord I've Been Changed". In general all recordings lack treble, what probably happened due to the noise cutting, that is normally in such recordings on a very high level. As I mentioned some recordings sound phenomenal - let us listen to for example "Bend Down the Brances" from the second disc and we will know what it is all about - naturalism, little compression, resolution.

Sound quality: 3-9/10



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