Saturday, August 8, 2009


Tom Waits is a great actor. His turn in Robert Altman's 'Short Cuts' remains one of the finest supporting roles I have ever seen on film. I have tried with him on record a few times before: As of writing this I have owned 'Swordfishtrombone' twice, I have owned 'Heart Attack and Vine' and I have a recollection of owning 'Small Change' although that might well just have been a strange and random record shop based dream.

So hear I am again, sitting down and listening to one of the most critically acclaimed singer song writers of our time...

The first thing that strikes me about Tom as the tones of 'Somewhere' creep at an uneven pace from my speakers is that he sounds like a cross between 'Stars in Their Eyes' favorite Louis Armstrong (Circa 'All The Time in the World' Theme from From Russia With Love not the Guinness advert you penis.) and the Cookie Monster from 'Sesame Street'. This vocal trend continues for the entirety of the album more apparent in places than others.

Now normally I wouldn't have an issue with this so much but as it is every time he 'goes a bit Louis Armstrong' I am left thinking of Matthew Kelly host of the TV show 'Stars in Their Eyes'. Because of this instead of writing about Tom Waits and the fact that that is Rickie Lee Jones on the back sleeve I am left wondering why there is no photograph to accompany Matthew Kelly's Wikipedia entry. On eventually finding a picture courtesy of Google I am now completely ignoring the music in favor of deciding if Matthew Kelly looks better with or without a beard. I surprise myself and go with 'without'. 

I wonder if this is what Tom Waits had in mind when he conceptualized 'Blue Valentine', a lazy bar brawl of an album that concerns itself with falling in love with ones car, sex with hookers and the post midnight and pre-dawn world of diners and back alleys. Somehow I doubt it.

Anyway, it's not a bad listen and I fully intend to give it another go just as soon as I have tired of following a pictoral history of Matthew Kelly's career.... Wow! Sarah Kennedy was attractive back in the days of 'Game for a Laugh'.

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