Tag Archives: Tom Waits

From the Vault Friday: Tom Waits

On the city end of Oxford Street, just down from the inglorious glow of the Gloria Jeans coffee shop, just up from the fluorescent fervour of the IGA supermarket, lies my favourite Sydney restaurant, The Falconer. The food is great, the staff are knowledgeable (and bearded) and there’s a record player that spins old school records of the Neil Young variety all night long. Good times! I try not to go there too often because I don’t want to sabotage the joy I feel when dining there by making it too much of an everyday occurrence, and also, I am all too aware that I need more whiskey sours in my life like… you know where I am going…

Anyhow, last Friday, my gal pal Anna and I polished off two delicious mains and a bottle of plonk and were considering our late night dancing options when the dessert menu so politely placed on our table started to woo our already bloated bellies.

Alongside a fairly forgettable, though I’m sure delicious selection of classic after dinner sugar hits, there was one dessert singing to us in a gravelly, come hither, what you don’t really want but what you really, desperately need voice: The Tom Waits. What a name! And ingredients to match! It was a dark chocolate mousse with tobacco syrup, whiskey ice-cream and meringue powder.

Over more wine, Anna and I shared Tom Waits. He was delicious. I’ve thought about him non-stop ever since. And so here he is again, on a Friday, in fine but not food form.

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Introducing… the Mid-week Mixtape

Oh look! A bright and shiny new addition to the In The Pines blog! From now on, Wednesdays will be handed over to musicians young and old, who I have asked to share their Top 5 Songs of All Time. It’s a bit of a strange request on my part because my Top 5 is always fluid and evolving. I don’t mean to be a hard-arse and I have doubts that anyone really keeps an unchanging, definitive list. But I am always curious about where songwriters find their influences…

So without further ado… introducing boy outside

Also known as Aidan Cooney, boy outside has recently moved to Sydney from the UK. YAY! He has brought with him a collection of fine tunes which you can find up online here. From the toe-tapping heartbreaker 'Devil In A Teacup' to the nostalgic melancholy of 'Last Valentine', boy outside's blend of folk-pop-country goes down smooth and sweet like a late night Baileys.

Take it over, Aidan…

Of course writing about your Top 5 songs is a question riddled with debate, confusion and a test of memory. Sudden distraction, body paralysis and the after effect of constant repeat for days/weeks on end is my usual barometer for a song I love. There are so many tracks by varying artists I couldn’t live without, however, the following five at some point have had the above treatment. And I still reach from them now and will, well… forever.

Soulsavers feat. Mark Lanegan – Revival

This song stopped me in my tracks first time I stumbled across it. Creeping in the gospel groove is relentless. The dark knowing drawl of Mark Lanegan is given light by the female gospel vocals following his every word in this song of repent and hopeful forgiveness. If we could all walk through life with these backing vocals life would be easy.

Leonard Cohen – Famous Blue Raincoat

I had a Leonard Cohen album on cassette in a small van I once drove. The player only had fast forward and I quickly mastered the art of turning the cassette over, squealing the tape forward until I knew the track on the reverse would be the one. Usually I was trying to find this track. A melancholy story of a Brother stealing his girl. “The trouble you took from her eyes” the forgiveness. “One more thin gypsy thief” a string section and I’m lost to it.

Leonard Cohen – Famous Blue Raincoat

Ron Sexsmith – Hard Bargain

I was tipped of about Ron Sexsmith when I first moved to London by a Canadian friend. It was in my damp basement room in Camden this track and the album Retriever got a lot of attention. Here we have a lesson in writing perfect folk/pop with an Americana twist. A song about trying to live up to expectations, a song played with an effortless grace. It felt like sunshine in a dark room.

Tom Waits – Long Way Home

From the opening few bars, a cocktail of plodding bass, snare and meandering accordion paint a picture for Tom Waits’ “head full of lightening, a hat full of rain”. A dreaming of the highway but always making it home. You can sense the dust in the room it was recorded, smell the whiskey bottle propped in the middle. A place I would’ve loved to have been.
Tom Waits – Long Way Home

Mazzy Star – Fade Into You

Run mascara, the girl sings to herself and for herself only. The piano punches in and out as she nonchalantly hits the tambourine staring into space. You leave and always wonder what happened to the girl. You got a glimpse, a snap shot, no more. But you always remember….. The film that runs in my mind every time I hear this song. Love it.

Mazzy Star – Fade Into You

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