Albums »The Early Years Volumes 1 and 2

tom waits the early year vol 1 2A far, not so raspy cry from Tom Waits' later, more inventive career of murder songs and carnival bedlam, The Early Years (both volumes) are absolutely amazing for what they are: classic bar fly, late night piano man lamentations. These recordings are demos made when Waits was just 21 years old for Frank Zappa's manager Herb, just before his first album, Closing Time — and they're wonderfully gritty and low key.

I always seem to prefer the early demos of the artists I love to their more polished work (see Buckingham Nicks and PJ Harvey), and Waits' are no different. In fact, when I recently heard the Closing Time version of Ice Cream Man, I was confused and dismayed — this was not what I'd fallen in love with as a sophomore in college and I was prompted to track down the collection that I used to play regularly.

Waits is, and always has been, an excellent song writer, my favorites here are “Hope I Don't Fall in Love with You”, “Ol' 55″,?”Nobody”, “Ice Cream Man”, and “When You Ain't Got Nobody”; on these two albums they all get the beautiful, less-is-more treatment.

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Posted on November 17, 2008

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