You might remember, some years ago now, a bizarre Levi's advert with a funeral procession in it and a strange blues track that begins 'Liar Liar, your pants on fire'. That was a Screaming Jay Hawkins cover of the Tom waits track 'Heart Attack and Vine'. An absolutely fantastic white trash blues ramble that pretty much sums up this album.
If 'The Heart of Saturday Night' is the sound of a down-and-out pulling it all together for a late night performance in a jazz club, this is the sound of the morning after. The art work on the cd features Tom Waits' face on a yellowing newspaper and the music sounds like that of someone who has just woken up on a park bench wrapped in this newspaper. It's downbeat blues with the vocals of someone really trying to shake off their hangover.
'Heart Attack and Vine' is superb - so original. 'Downtown' is sleazy blues, 'Til the Money Runs Out' is edgy and paranoid, 'Mr. Siegal' is a drunken brawl waiting to happen. 'On the Nickel' and 'Ruby's Arms' sound like ballads from a Gershwin musical, if Gershwin had ever written anything about tramps in Times Square.
This album bridges the gap between Waits' earlier work and his later experimental output. If you haven't heard much Waits, the closest thing I can think of is the slower, more sentimental, tracks by The Pogues - think 'Fairytale of New York' only spread out across the year rather than just a Christmas song. It's as far from the sanitised output of your average record label as you can get and should be worth a listen on that basis alone...