Monday, 13 October 2008

Tom Waits - 12/8/’73 - KPFK Folk Scene

A youthful Waits for you on this one, playing solo, accompanying himself on keys or guitar (upright bassist Bob Webb was scheduled to appear on the programme with Tom, but couldn’t make it). Between songs Tom’s interviewed by DJ Howard Larman for the programme Folk Scene, a programme he and his wife Roz produced and aired for the Los Angeles KPFK station for many years. Compared with Tom’s infamously obtuse and sometimes surreal responses to interviewers for most of the last 20/30 or so years, Larman gets a fairly open, relaxed, and informal response from the great man, perhaps due to the as yet unsullied innocence of the fresh faced young troubador.

This is an endearing window onto the young Waits at work, and he raps quite freely about his formative years, and the musical processes and influences working on him at that point. I chose the picture of Waits shown here ‘cause I like him with all that hair, and it’s also him pretty much as he was looking on the cover of the Music World magazine mentioned by the DJ. The lady in the pic is Bobi Thomas, and they’re showing off Tom’s first tattoo! Note that the scroll over the heart is at this point blank! The pic’s apparently from early ‘74, so this recording may have featured Tom sporting even more hair! I guess that’s something we can only muse upon, given this is a radio spot…

It’s a great recording, clean and clear, and with good info from Tom about growing up and getting into music and so on. Some of the versions are brilliant, like ‘San Diego Serenade’ and ‘Semi Suite’, whilst others were performed better elsewhere, like ‘Rosie’ and ‘Ice Cream Man’. ‘Depot, Depot’ is outright strange compared to the album version, but that makes it all the more interesting to hear, tho’ it has to be said the reading on Heart of a Saturday Night is far superior. The music is very good overall, and the audio quality is ok, with just a bit of trebly wobble on the piano, but it’s the talk in between that adds a lot of historic interest. Tom signs off with ‘Big Joe’, at this stage admitting that he doesn’t know who actually wrote the song, but telling us that it was “the first real folk song that just knocked me out… gave me the chills”.

Another TW gem for y’all to enjoy!

Tracklisting: Virginia Avenue / Interview / San Diego Serenade / Interview / Ol' 55 / Interview / Semi Suite / Interview / Fumblin With the Blues / Interview / Rosie / Interview / Depot Depot / Interview / Hope That I Don't Fall In Love With You / Interview / The Heart Of Saturday Night / Interview / Ice Cream Man / Interview / Big Joe and Phantom 309 and Interview

1 comment:

Nick Dagan Best said...

New links, please. Thank you!