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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
The proportion of material on this second 'Early Years' volume that did eventually get released on subsequent albums is higher than on The Early Years, Vol. 1, with 'Ol' 55', 'I Hope That I Don't Fall In Love With You', 'Grapefruit Moon', and 'Old Shoes' on Closing Time, 'Shiver Me Timbers', 'Diamonds On My Windshield' and 'Please Call Me baby' on The Heart Of Saturday Night, and 'Nobody' appearing on Nighthawks At The Diner.

So only five of the thirteen tracks presented here can't be had elsewhere, the exact opposite of the ratio on the previous volume. One might therefore conclude that the people putting these two albums together were cynically spreading material across two albums that could've made just one. Well, that may even be true, but I couldn't care less: Tom Waits is a real bona fide singularity, a genuine artist going his own way, and I love him. Having the different (presumably demo?) versions of the album tracks is just peachy as far as I'm concerned.

Like volume one, the country feel is strong on much of this material, showing that initially Waits had a more pronounced cowboy twang. He hits a few off notes, vocally, on this compilation, more noticeably than on volume one, but the quality of material is more consistent, and overall, higher. As with volume one, this isn't the very tip-top of Tom at his peak. But, dang it, he's so be-damned good, that it's still five-star fare. Love Waits? Buy it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 4 September 2013
Everyone has a handful of albums they return to time and time again; the faithful old companions who always stand ready for you when your obsession with the latest new band has faded away. For me, the chief amongst those is Tom Waits' `The Early Years, Vol 2'.

Eight out of the thirteen tracks on this album can be found elsewhere in his discography, but for me this album proves true the old adage that the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. There's just something about the whiskey-soaked blues vibe of the album that cuts straight to the soul. Waits possesses an enviable ability to convey the full range of emotion through each gravelly note he hits, and in my opinion he's the finest songwriter America has seen these past thirty years.

'The Early Years, Vol 2' definitely veers more towards the country side of Waits' range, coming as the title suggests from the earlier part of his career. Melancholic and at times slightly morbid, it's a wonderful introduction to the uninitiated. To me, there are four songs that particularly stand out - without detracting from the remainder, for each and every song on this album is a triumph in its own right. The opening track, though, surely has to be a contender for one of the greatest laments of unrequited love ever written. `Hope I Don't Fall In Love With You' is perfect, in every way.

'Mockin'Bird' is another song I find myself coming back to time and time again, laden with grief with that wry spark Waits is the master of running through every cadence. `Shiver Me Timbers' is a glorious old sea dog tune with some truly poignant lyrics, and `So It Goes', though simple, speaks to the heart of anyone who's ever lost someone they love.

Though technically this album might not be quite perfect, to me it's the epitome of everything Waits was about at this stage in his career, and it's one I can't see myself ever tiring of.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 30 October 2001
This is without doubt the finest introduction to Tom Waits. Absorbing lyrical content and a youthful Waits voice. It's not easy listening, his voice shows the beginnings of its slide into razor-blades and incoherence, but it is thoroughly amazing. 'Hope I don't fall in love with you' is THE greatest unrequited love song ever written. 'Shiver Me Timbers' is a remarkable sea shanty, and 'Diamonds on My Windshield' is just a gorgeous 'road song'. It's melancholy, slightly morbid, thoroughly miserable and totally wonderful.
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on 23 April 2015
The early years Vol. 2 displays an artist at the pinnacle of his creativity.
All songs, arranged soberly (and better than their regular album outtakes), poses a timeless quality which makes them a pleasure to listen too, time after time.

Half of the songs (Hope I Don't Fall in Love With You, In Between Love, Nobody, I Want You, Shiver Me Timbers, Grapefruit Moon, Old Shoes) are truly classic in my ears and belong to the best this man has produced.

I like this album so much I ordered the CD version at the same time so no listening opportunity would go wasted.
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on 23 January 2015
Tom Waits for the WIn
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on 12 October 2015
Bless Tom,
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on 17 October 2014
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 26 February 2014
I love the late night intimacy of these demo home recording, along with 'Closing Time' my favourite records by this artist, love it !
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on 13 October 2015
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4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 19 January 2001
There is little musical indication on this CD of the twisted genius that Waits, reinventing himself in the 1980's with 'Swordfishtrombones', would become. Thematically, though, his work has always stayed true to his world of messed-up love affairs, after-hours sleazy bars, and alcohol-fuelled melancholia. A collection of simple blues-based melodies for voice and guitar/piano, highlights are 'Diamonds on my Windshield', 'Ol'55', and 'Grapefruit Moon'. Of interest to all Waits fans and for those who want an introduction to his world which is easier than his more challenging, but ultimately more rewarding, later work.
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