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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
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...
Published on 1 Sep 2007 by Cuban Heel

versus
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tom waits...
It`s interesting that this somewhat sloppy, slobby effort came, in 1980, a couple of years after the impeccable, dazzling Blue Valentine, and only months before he met his wife/muse/co-writer Kathleen on the set of One From The Heart - whose soundtrack is so romantic, exuberant and sumptuous - which in turn led to the revelatory and rejuvenating change of musical...
Published on 6 Sep 2011 by GlynLuke


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 1 Sep 2007
By 
Cuban Heel "Neil Schiller" (Liverpool) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Heartattack And Vine (Audio CD)
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...
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life changing moment, 29 Oct 2002
By 
This review is from: Heartattack And Vine (Audio CD)
One day I borrowed a cassette from a colleague. .... But when the tape ended and it auto-turned over to other side ... I was astounded and drawn into a dark, beautifuly tragic musical landscape! ...the likes I haven't heard before.
It was Heart attack and Vine.
The first listen was magic. After that I was a Waits convert.
I loved this album, I love this man.....
I played it to friends late one night after the pub, and its still great to see peoples expressions when hearing the first track for the first time. Brilliant! Drive to it! Sleep to it! Just buy it and enjoy.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars o.k i am biased, 21 Jan 2004
This review is from: Heartattack And Vine (Audio CD)
i am a huge fan but if you have never heard any Tom Waits ..this is as good an introduction as any. What an underated artist. I have heard/got all of his stuff and as a social/commentary,pertinent observer on alinenation/vignette wizzard/humorist/ wit/
needless to say..do yourself a favour ..just hear a c.d. and hopefully you will agree.
Modern day Oscar Wilde crossed with Jean Genet?
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Tom on Top Form!, 11 Oct 2000
By 
Mo Smith (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Heartattack And Vine (Audio CD)
THis is a must-have for all Waitsheads. "Ruby's Arms" is one of the saddest, most amazing heart-break songs ever written by Tom or anyone I can think of. "Jersey Girl" is an anthem to all those big-haired boardwalkers. This is a great CD for driving, and Tom still rocks, especially on "Heartattack..." and "Downtown". "What becomes of all the little boys who never comb their hair?" Hopefully they grow up to be Tom.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ballads and talking blues, 3 Dec 2002
By 
Pieter Uys "Toypom" (Johannesburg) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Heartattack And Vine (Audio CD)
This was the place I discovered the magic of Tom Waits. I appreciate his flowing ballads more than his talking blues style, and this album has plenty of both. Saving All My Love For You is a magnificent example of the former, and so is Jersey Girl, later covered by Bruce Springsteen. The words are sheer poetry. On The Nickel is another gem, with intricate arrangement and beautiful instrumentation, while Mr Siegel is a raucous mixture of both styles, and a brilliant achievement at that. This excellent album concludes with Ruby's Arms, a tender, moving ballad.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The magic of Tom, 11 Mar 2006
By 
Pieter Uys "Toypom" (Johannesburg) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Heartattack and vine (Audio CD)
This was the place I discovered the magic of Tom Waits. I appreciate his flowing ballads more than his talking blues style, and this album has plenty of both. Saving All My Love For You is a magnificent example of the former, and so is the stirring Jersey Girl, later covered by Bruce Springsteen. The words are sheer poetry and the melodies sublime. On The Nickel is another gem, with intricate arrangement and beautiful instrumentation, while Mr Siegel is a raucous mixture of both styles, and a brilliant achievement at that. This excellent album concludes with Ruby's Arms, a tender, moving ballad.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant: equal amounts grit and grace, 1 Oct 2013
By 
Sebastian Palmer "sebuteo" (Cambridge, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Heartattack And Vine (Audio CD)
A bit of a bi-polar, Janus-faced album this, the last on Herb Cohen's Asylum label from the genius that is Tom Waits.

After a run of classic albums largely made with a steady team of collaborators (put together on the whole by producer 'Bones' Howe, who's still manning the mixing-desk here), Waits had released the more gritty, urban, electric, and r'n'b based Blue Valentine in 1978. Two years later he entered the studio again for an even grittier set of sessions, but with a more cohesive line up, featuring Harold Bautista on guitar, Ronnie Barron on keys, Larry Taylor on bass, and 'Big John' Thomassie on drums. Some of these guys were also touring with Waits around this period: Barron and Thomassie were natives of New Orleans, Taylor famously played with Canned heat, and Bautista with Earth Wind and Fire. Howe, bassist Jim Hughart, and arrangers Jerry Yester and Bob Alcivar all survive from previous scenarios, providing an element of continuity in personnel as well as musical flavours. This album is also the first time bassist Greg Cohen appears on record with Waits. He would be a frequent collaborator over the next decade or two

The music is roughly divided between the gritty urban-sounding electric blues material, and some heart-achingly beautiful ballads. The former consist of Heart Attack & Vine, the slightly unusual bar-band instrumental In Shades, Downtown, 'Til The Money Runs Out, and Mr Siegal. And all, save In Shades, are soused in tales of sex, drugs, and criminal low-life, with a real whiff of Last Exit to Brooklyn, a world populated by semi-mythical hookers and hoodlums. 'How do the angels get to sleep when the Devil leaves his porchlight on?' Waits wonders on Mr Siegal. Think The Beats at their seamiest: Herbert Huncke, 'Bill' Burroughs 'rolling' drunks on the subway. An American demi-monde, such as produced the real life sex/crime scenario behind the Kerouac and Burroughs collaboration And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks.

The first of the ballads is the beautifully sentimental Saving All My love For You, which starts with ringing bells. Then, after the gravelly Downtown comes the beautiful guitar-based Jersey Girl (famously covered by Bruce Springsteen), which features a fabulous slow-building orchestral arrangement by Yester. On The Nickel was apparently either written for, or used at least in a film of the same name, about a Skid Row alcoholic, and is a real gem, Waits' boho-hobo poetry seamlessly stitched together with his most sentimental side, and once again benefitting from a tremendous orchestral arrangement (this time by Bob Alcivar, whose work on Waits' One From The Heart recording is pure magic)... wonderful! Yester picks up the baton for the final fabulous ballad, Ruby's Arms... Oh God, how I love Tom Waits when he's at his most sentimental. This is such a great track!

All in all, a brilliant album, and slightly strange, in that his two tendencies - the two sides to his muse that his wife Kathleen Brennan has called 'grim reapers' and 'grand weepers' - can already be seen to be polarising and diverging ever more clearly. In my view, everything he did up till Swordfishtrombones (perhaps even including Rain Dogs and Frank's Wild Years), including this terrific LP, is absolutely 100% essential.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT ALBUM, 3 Aug 2009
By 
Mr. Sr Harrup "nehpetsrh" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Heartattack And Vine (Audio CD)
Tom Waits releases a great album!! Not an unusual headline, because he nearly always releases great albums. But, this is particulary great. the title track with its clever line about 'God, when he's drunk', 'Jersey Girl' and the superb 'Ruby's Arms' and there are six other tracks to enjoy. If you are new to Waits, this is a ideal starter. In fact, most of his early Elekra/Asylum albums are ideal to get into his music. So, find out why 'There ain't no Devil...' and slide into Ruby's Arms.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars waits does the blues, 10 Oct 2011
By 
This review is from: Heartattack And Vine (Audio CD)
His second and final blues album, before reinventing himself once again, this album sprints out of the blocks with the powerful and mesmerising title track. his lyrics are top drawer "well i bet she's still a virgin but it's only twenty five to nine", and "don't you know there ain't no devil that's just god when he's drunk". also one of my favourite opening lines is from mr siegal: "well i spent all my money in a mexican whorehouse across the street from a catholic church". he oozes cynicism and jaded cool amid searing minimalist riffs. this is the first time in his career he gave himself a break between albums (two year gap as opposed to an album a year he'd been doing up to this point). it is similar in tone to blue valentine, but he would change radically with his next album. i guess he'd taken the "straight" blues as far as he could with these two albums. addictive, entertaining, and right on the nickel!
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tom waits..., 6 Sep 2011
By 
GlynLuke (York UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Heartattack And Vine (Audio CD)
It`s interesting that this somewhat sloppy, slobby effort came, in 1980, a couple of years after the impeccable, dazzling Blue Valentine, and only months before he met his wife/muse/co-writer Kathleen on the set of One From The Heart - whose soundtrack is so romantic, exuberant and sumptuous - which in turn led to the revelatory and rejuvenating change of musical direction heralded by Swordfishtrombones.
From the (literally) sickly cover to the often slapdash numbers on this below-par album, the wittily titled Heartattack And Vine is one I rarely play, except to hear three gorgeous ballads: the lush Ruby`s Arms, the beautifully sung On The Nickel, and the Waits classic Jersey Girl, so ecstatically covered by Springsteen on an early live record.
These are as lovely as any of the slow songs Waits thankfully never deprives us of on his many releases, and they are welcome after such throwaway sweet-nothings as pointless blues instrumental In Shades, indifferent ballad Saving All My Love For You, the pat Downtown, and the forgettable `Til The Money Runs Out.
If I sound harsh, it`s because I love Tom Waits (as my other reviews testify) and rate him by the high standards he himself sets. I just don`t rate this a particularly compelling album overall. It ticks all the TW boxes, but somehow his heart is too seldom in it.
I can`t agree with fellow reviewers here - 5 stars! - who suggest this is a good place to start for a Waits virgin. Let it rather be Heart Of Saturday Night or Small Change, both far superior to this, or, if you`ve heard some of his later stuff & like it, well - any of them really. You`ll no doubt enjoy this one too, but it simply isn`t the man at his best, and his best is The Best! It`s a transitional record - a bit like Wavelength and, appropriately, Period Of Transition were for Van Morrison at around the same time.
Tom had made several stunning records before this one, and has made even more since. I`d say this is about 60% of a good album, no more.
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