I've been a fan of Tom Waits since I saw him on a chat show in the early 80s. He caught my attention by saying from the outset that the only reason he was there was to plug his new album Raindogs. He drawled rather than muttered, but another guest (I seem to remember it was Ian Hislop) suggesting he plug it a little more loudly, whereupon Tom said "I'll plug it any way I goddam want."
He went on to play a song from Raindogs, (I can't remember which one now), and then sort of beckoned the audience to come closer and said, "Come on, come on, let's have some old songs..." And then he played The Piano Has Been Drinking. Brilliant.
I bought Raindogs the next day, Asylum Years a week or so later, and subsequently Swordfishtrombones and (as soon as it came out) Frank's Wild Years. My own wild years started soon after that, and I stopped buying any records, though someone gave me a home-recorded tape of Bone Machine.
In 1998 I went abroad after selling almost all of my possessions, including the record collection. I bought a CD of Small Change in Istanbul around 2000, but it was soon afterwards a casualty in a marriage break-down.
Now that I'm settled down, and during periods of reasonably renumerative employment, I'm reassembling the collection I used to have on vinyl, this time on CD. Well, more than reassembling, I'm filling in gaps that used to be there.
Like, Asylum Years is really just a Best Of, and somebody in a suit has probably decided the album's content. See, LPs have a unity which is lost in Best Ofs. I bought Real Gone when it came out - it was my staple musicial diet during my last spell in Libya. Now I've gone back to 1973 with Closing Time.
Which is what I was going to blog about, Closing Time, but I started out to give a bit of background and ended up writing all this. That's maybe because my relationship with Tom Waits' music cannot be explained in a few words - it's been a great pal in some very dreary places. I'll listen to Closing Time a couple more times and then blog about it.
NB: No links; they'd all go to wikipedia or somewhere that wants your cash.