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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievably Good
This album is a real find. Absolutely fantastic. It's pretty much in a class and genre of its own - probably not revisited until Nick Cave's 'Boatman's Call' in the 90s. Lyrically it's kind of somewhere between Bob Dylan and Springsteen, filtered through the literary influences of Jack Kerouac and Charles Bukowski. Probably the best way to describe it is with some kind of...
Published on 1 Sep 2007 by Cuban Heel

versus
0 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars CD fine MP3 not happening
Fantastic album. Only complaint was that MP3 didn't seem to download properly. Sent a message to the good people at Amazon and they sorted it out pretty quickly. Many thanks guys.
Published 16 months ago by Bill


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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievably Good, 1 Sep 2007
By 
Cuban Heel "Neil Schiller" (Liverpool) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Heart Of Saturday Night (Audio CD)
This album is a real find. Absolutely fantastic. It's pretty much in a class and genre of its own - probably not revisited until Nick Cave's 'Boatman's Call' in the 90s. Lyrically it's kind of somewhere between Bob Dylan and Springsteen, filtered through the literary influences of Jack Kerouac and Charles Bukowski. Probably the best way to describe it is with some kind of scenario. Imagine you're out in New York late at night, drunk as you've ever been, and you stumble into an underground jazz cafe at 2am. Through the haze of cigarette smoke you can just about see this dishevelled guy sitting at a piano who is playing surprisingly intricate and moving music while singing in a rasping blues voice about love and loss in the back alleys of America. That pretty much sums it up.

'New Coat of Paint' sounds like Dylan covering a Nina Simone track. 'Looking for the Heart of Saturday Night' is a bit more mainstream - maybe Jackson Browne if he was ever feeling a bit suicidal. 'Please Call me Baby' is just beautiful. And my favourite, surprisingly, is 'Diamonds on my Windshield' which is more performance poetry than a song, but is so original it's difficult not to love it. "There's fifteen feet of snow in the East and it's colder than a well-digger's ass". When was the last time you heard a line THAT good on a cd?

Without being too pretentious, let's be honest about life for a minute. Most of us aren't supermodels, most of us don't feel happy and fantastic all the time, most of us can't sing like angels. And yet we all find happiness and beauty in the world on a pretty regular basis. This album is the sound of someone who is probably even less of a supermodel than you or I, who is less happy and more screwed up than we are, who sings like a drunk who's just woken up in a dumpster, and yet he finds beauty and poignancy all around him. There's something pretty life affirming about that. I haven't listened to this album once without being moved like I've never been moved before.

I know Waits went on to create some pretty innovative, and pretty out-there music after this. But this is as honest and heart-rending as it gets. If you want something to listen to over a glass of whisky or a bottle of wine late at night, seriously, you should look no further than this. It doesn't get any better.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Closing Time with more jazz and more attitude, 19 Oct 2007
By 
Mr. L. R. BUXTON (England!) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Heart Of Saturday Night (Audio CD)
Closing Time, Waits' debut, was a fine record, mixing jazz, country, and old, 40s-influenced rolling melodies, and fine for late-night lovers. This follow-up sees Waits switch to a producer he had a better rapport with, Bones Howe, & together they made this equally enjoyable album.

Here, though, the more devil-may-care jazz that was understated on the debut is more in evidence, with a more trenchant tone to the lyrics ( see the opening number ) and even spoken-word recitals ( Diamonds On My Windshield ) that Waits would develop further. That said, there's some nicely understated moments too, such as the closing "Ghosts Of Saturday Night", the title track, and the beautiful 'going away' ballad, "Shiver Me Timbers".

Good stuff.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Many lost Saturday Nights..., 25 July 2003
This review is from: The Heart Of Saturday Night (Audio CD)
This album is sublime. The whole. The sum of it's parts. Every single note, line and chord. From the optimism of the drunken romantic 'New Coat of Paint', to the beautiful 'San Diego Serenade' with it's 'I never knew I loved you, til I cursed you in vain' - genius.
If you are looking for that elusive, ahem, 'hip' romantic album this is the one. The first time I heard this album will stay with me for ever. But it manages to feel as good on the two hundredth listen.
Buy it now, and let a little Waitsian poetry into your life. After all, 'fishing for a good time starts with throwing in your line'.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Me again, 14 Feb 2003
By 
JA Polonsky - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Heart Of Saturday Night (Audio CD)
Late night, mid February 2003.
While peering through the pages of Amazon, I have come across an old review of mine, written in a drunken haze, 3 years ago. I just thought I'd add a couple of thoughts, this time, somewhat more soberly.
Since '99, when, i have to admit, I feared, though did not admit, that the old master may be losing his touch, things have changed. I listened to the excellent Mule Variations, but with the idea that it was the death knoll of a great artist- a parthian shot from the dark, before a timely disappearance to obscurity.
And then came 2002.
Blood Money and Alice are as wonderful as any of his creations, taking his depictions of the carnival to fresh depths of 'beatitude'(in Kerouac's sense of the word), painting, vividly evoking, in red and black, the seedy underbelly of a 'gone world'. They are tremendous albums, and have been rightly placed on many 'best of 2002' lists. If anyone gets the chance- go and see his collaboration with Robert Wilson- Woyzeck. It is a wonderful visual drug, an assault on the senses. And it gives Blood Money real vitality and resonance.
Why have i written this on a review of one of his earliest albums? To demonstrate that, even after 3 years of regular listening, which is usually enough to kill someones love for an artist, he remains a true companion, who has indirectly introduced me to a fantastic world of beat- Bukowski, Algren, Kerouac, Fante, Bryars, Jarmusch, Jack Black, etc
ps. It's a great album
pps. Dont buy Cath Carolls book on him- it's the second worst read in the world, after The Celestine Prophecy
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Second album, released 1974, 11 Jan 2010
By 
Pieter Uys "Toypom" (Johannesburg) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Heart Of Saturday Night (Audio CD)
On Waits' second album his poetic lyrics are wrapped in a variety of jazzy, bluesy and folk styles with a hint of the orchestral on two tracks. Diamonds On My Windshield and The Ghosts of Saturday Night are spoken recitals, a form he would later explore over entire albums.

The most outstanding tracks, lyrically and melodically, are the tender San Diego Serenade with its elegant strings, the soulful and melancholy Shiver Me Timbers and the title track which in sentiment and imagery brings to mind his much later composition Jersey Girl.

The jazzy numbers include New Coat Of Paint and Semi Suite; Fumblin' With The Blues represents that genre whilst Drunk On The Moon is somewhere in-between. Of the other ballads, Please Call Me, Baby is an orchestrated outing whilst Depot Depot has the most arresting saxophone solos.

The Heart Of Saturday Night provides a satisfying cross-section of all the different styles Tom Waits would develop in his illustrious career, including on masterpieces like Rain Dogs, Heartattack and Vine and Mule Variations.

For fans, I recommend the book Innocent When You Dream: The Tom Waits Reader which documents his life and music up to 2004 and is perhaps better than a formal biography as it provides various perspectives from many different writers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He can actually play and sing !!!, 11 Aug 2007
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This review is from: The Heart Of Saturday Night (Audio CD)
OK, admittedly I am not a huge fan of Tom Waits. Too many of his vocal characterizations are irritating, they detract from both the music and lyrics. Generally I have to say that his songs are better when covered by other artists. However, this album has him in full flow and fine voice. Some of his best numbers are here and they lack nothing in presentation and pathos.

Strongly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the best maudlin late night bar albums, 3 Oct 2011
By 
This review is from: The Heart Of Saturday Night (Audio CD)
some real heart to this, and with defter touches than his debut "closing time", this is where tom really stretches out the role of late night drunk hanging around town when everyone else is going to bed. the music is still fairly straight forward, and the voice is still the same weedy bloke as in the first album, but there's a clearer sense of purpose and of character in this, and the tunes are belters. "new coat of paint" is a rollicking ride, capturing that drunken "tonight's all that matters, to hell with all our worries and the rest of reality" kind of vibe with lyrics like "you wear a dress, baby, i'll wear a tie, we'll laugh at that old bloodshot moon in that burgundy sky", delivered with panache. his lyrics were really beginning to come to the fore on here, and it's a lovely album to get fairly sozzled to. this was my introduction to waits, and i guess i'm biased because of it, but this is one i'll keep going back to
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'magical and melancholy' - one of Waits best, 25 May 2011
By 
Sebastian Palmer "sebuteo" (Cambridge, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Heart Of Saturday Night (Audio CD)
Having found the perfect foil for this point in his career, in jazz drummer-turned-producer 'Bones' Howe, Waits builds solidly on the promise of his debut, Closing Time, still drawing on the pool of songs he had in his bag before he secured a deal, but also adding to his repertoire.

Amongst the best tracks is the title number, in which Waits voice and guitar are ably complemented by the sinuous serpentine bass of Jim Hughart, traffic and other incidental noises adding to the evocative effect. I believe the fabulous bass part may have evolved when Waits was working with bassist Bill Plummer, and Tom's guitar part, in drop-D tuning, is the essence of Waits as self-accompanist: it seems, indeed it is in some ways, very simple, but it's also absolutely perfect. And that's not so easy! Over the span of his career Waits turns in some truly sublime turns on piano, guitar and vocals, not to mention songwriting, and it's all done with understated panache. He's not a virtuoso, technically speaking, in any of these departments, and yet he gets more emotion and meaning across than many a technician could possibly achieve. That's the 'art' part of the deal, it's about feel, and is almost magical.

Amongst the stellar sidemen Howe brought Waits together with, not only are the notable rhythm team of bassist Jim Hughart and drummers Bill Goodwin or Shelly Manne, worthy of special mention, so to is arranger Bob Alcivar, whose lush cinematic arrangements work perfectly with Waits' sophisticatedly sleazy material. Trumpeter Jack Sheldon and sax players Pete Christlieb and Frank Vicari, also help bring the jazz dimension of Waits at this time into sparkling 3-D. Waits would continue to work with these guys to great effect over a number of years, releasing some music that is, in my view, amongst the greatest committed to wax in the latter part of the 20th century.

The material is of a very high standard throughout, although it's not all even. Some pieces flesh out spoken word raps that he was delivering in his early gigging days, often accompanied only by his own toe-tapping and finger-popping. On wax, such numbers as 'Diamonds On My Windshield' and 'Ghosts of Saturday night' make the transition with admirable aplomb. Waits develops the bluesier side begun with 'Virginia Avenue' and 'Ice Cream Man', with the fabulous 'New Coat Of paint', a rarity in the Waits cannon for the use of the rich tremolo Rhodes (did Waits play this? no other keys player is credited), 'Semi-Suite', 'Fumblin' With The Blues' and 'Depot, Depot'.

His maudlin melancholy, replete with honeyed strings courtesy of Alcivar, finds expression in 'San Diego Serenade', the more minimal title track, 'Please Call me Baby', and 'Drunk On The Moon', this last of which goes into an out and out jazzy swing section for sax and trumpet solo sections, before resuming the more downbeat song. Kerouac experimented with mixing his words with music, and his writing was itself influenced by the jazz music and life, but Waits brings the two together more successfully. This is the Waits that some critics, and Waits himself, seem keen to distance themselves from: the boozy romantic barfly. Sure, it can seem ripe for parody, and indeed, some, including Waits himself, worried that this was where he was headed, hence a later-career shift in direction. But for me this is, for all it's knowingly self-aware louche cleverness, disarmingly innocent and beguiling. In short, I love it: highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Great, 27 Mar 2011
By 
This review is from: The Heart Of Saturday Night (Audio CD)
If you just want to hear Tom sing his songs and show off his marvellous piano skills then this is the album for you. It appeals to a much wider audience than Waits die-hard fans. If you like this the album, Closing Time is in the same vein.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For fans of contemporary bands The Gaslight Anthem / The Hold Steady., 4 Mar 2011
By 
This review is from: The Heart Of Saturday Night (Audio CD)
It's rare that I scribe my own reviews. I tend to read customer reviews, including reviews of products that I already own. If I find a review that doesn't do a product justice or is loaded to the gunnels with bias and/or ignorance I usually add a comment to balance things out...I'm quite 'territorial' / sentimental over the music/films/books that strike a chord with me... ANYWAY...

Recently I discovered Tom Waits (well...properly), Um, about thirty years late to the party...I know (I am 30 years old though), none the less I'd like to take a moment to illustrate the relevance of his music to todays 'market', I will avoid a lot of the prentious words/phrases/genre tags many journalist types would use in their sales pitch (I find that reviews which take that approach just come off ignorantly, condesending and patronizing the reader)

In my opinion Tom Waits produced timeless music that is still as relevant today as it was when it was first released. His lyrics seem to be driven by unconvential subject matter and presented in unusual format (beit stories or straight up poetry) and I think that this has helped steer it clear of the pop music trappings of the day.

If his music were to be picked up by modern audiences it's likely that this is because contemporary artists feed back to Tom Waits as a source of inspiration and that this in turn leads their listeners back to the music of Tom Waits. I worked my way 'back' to Tom Waits via The Gaslight Anthem...and after listening to only a few tracks his 'legacy' is immediately apparent. In tribute no doubt, Brian Fallon (TGA vocalist/songwriter) lifts both lyrics and style from Tom Waits and applies them to his own music. A homage that I do not consider as 'ripping off' Tom Waits, so much as showing respect and carrying his art forward to future generations... For similar reasons I liken his lyrical style to that of Craig Finn (The Hold Steady), another great contemporary band that seem to pay homage to the 'cult' underdogs of yesteryear (...um, 'yesteryear' perhaps I am slipping...I mean no pretensiousnes).

If you do happen to be a young(ish) fan of either The Gaslight Anthem and / or The Hold Steady I am certain that you will enjoy the music of Tom Waits. The Heart Of Saturday Night is a great starting point too.
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The Heart Of Saturday Night
The Heart Of Saturday Night by Tom Waits (Audio CD - 1989)
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