63 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I heard she has a wooden leg
This is the Tom Waits album that I keep coming back to. It was also the first one I heard many years ago and its appeal has really lasted. For anyone who hasn't heard any of Waits' music before it is also the ideal point to come in. Some of his earlier and later works ('Small Change', 'Real Gone', 'Frank's Wild Years')are much more inaccessible and require a lot of...
Published on 13 Aug. 2006 by Mike J. Wheeler
7 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Three stars for ++++-off presentation of this particular reissue.
Just about the production values apparent in this CD reissue, i.e. 042282638229/ASIN B000001FFJ (so it may not apply to any others, but as this one is nice and cheap, you may not be inclined to look further): you get no info. on the personnel at all, which is a shaming shame given what a landmark crew was here. Can be got online, but should be here (it IS in the insert...
Published on 2 Mar. 2010 by Boetheus Prettypenny
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5.0 out of 5 stars "A zoetropic parade of slaughterhouses, roadhouses, shovels, whiskey, pistols, umbrellas, tumours big as eggs",
I've just been reading James Fearnley's Here Comes Everybody, a fairly enjoyable work of "creative non-fiction" that dwells on his time in sybaritic folk-punk act The Pogues, working with the difficult, if incomparable Shane MacGowan. A couple of Amazon reviewers have chosen to criticise him for the way in which he peppers his prose with florid words. Sometimes they have a point - he does occasionally get a case of the Will Self's. But, on plenty of other occasions, his prose is clearly written and persuasive. Take, for instance, his evocative description of this album, and the way in which it united the group with its unique charms. He says:
"It was never off the bus's cassette player. We loved Waits's cantankerous voice, half lover's whisper, half carney's barking. The clanks of the banjo we loved too, along with the ventilation of the accordion, the bonks and crashes of the percussion, the respiration of the pump organ and harmonium, the wailing of the musical saw, the booms of the parade drum, the clonks of the marimba. [...]
We waited for our favourite bits to come up, to point them out to one another. We would stare into each other's eyes waiting for a choice phrase or sound. We delighted in spotting 'Chim Chim Cheree' in one of the verses of 'Diamonds and Gold', and Frank Sinatra's 'Witchcraft' in the melody of 'Rain Dogs'. We groaned in wonder at the brutality and spontaneity of the playing: Marc Ribot's angular guitar, Michael Blair's bonkers percussion, the thumb-heavy banjo on 'Gun Street Girl'.
We relished Waits's imagery - as American as Edward Hopper and as f***** up as George Grosz. Along with the brutality of the music came a zoetropic parade of slaughterhouses, roadhouses, shovels, whiskey, pistols, umbrellas, tumours big as eggs, Cincinnati jackets and paladins' hats."
5.0 out of 5 stars Through the yellow windows of the evening train,
"We sail tonight for Singapore,
We`re all as mad as hatters here"
So begins Tom Waits` eighth album, in a mood & manner that barely lets up till the exhausted last gasps of the closing ballad Anywhere I Lay My Head.
Rain Dogs is central to Waits` gloriously consistent string of albums since 1973, though its equally compelling predecessor Swordfishtrombones was the first to give notice of Tom`s change of direction, stressing more the raucous, ornery, less opulent side of the Waits muse.
One thing to be said - and it isn`t mentioned enough - is that Tom is little more than an old romantic. He may have lived close to, met, and even slept with or at least alongside some of the characters in his picaresque songs, but nearly all his lyrics present a circus world (not unlike Dylan`s on those mid-60s records) of freaks, ne`er-do-wells, whores, down-and-outs, bartenders and one-eyed sailors. It isn`t Kerouac and it isn`t even Tom`s hero Bukowski, nor is it Dylan`s metaphorical world of Tambourine Men and the denizens of Desolation Row. Waitsworld is a seedy flophouse at the edge of a faded neon-smeared town where dubious painted faces dart in & out of one`s dreams, where the men are hopeless or drunk or both and the girls are seldom to be trusted.
One of my favourite lines, out of so many, is the last part of the chorus on Tango Till They`re Sore:
"I`d tell you all my secrets but I lie about my past,
So send me off to bed for evermore"
It`s poetry, but it isn`t too serious. Waits is one of the world`s most inventive lyrical songwriters, having learnt from not only the likes of Dylan & the Beats, but also from the great American lyricists such as Cole Porter and Lorenz Hart. But the world he invites us to lounge about in is rarely a solemn one, though what saves his lyrics from superficiality is their sheer brilliance, and his continual commitment to describing, with linguistic extravagance, a specifically cosmopolitan world of leftfield Americana seldom touched upon by Porter, Hart, or Joni, Jackson, Paul or Neil for that matter.
It tends to be the ballads that are the heart of any Waits album, and there are a handful here, including the beautiful Time, the irresistible mid-tempo Hang Down Your Head, Downtown Train (nicely, if over-literally, covered later by Rod Stewart) and Blind Love, on which Keith Richards apparently sings - though I defy you to make out his voice in the mix - as well as playing guitar on Big Black Mariah & Union Square.
The `trio` of Swordfishtrombones, Rain Dogs and Frank`s Wild Years now seem like an oasis in the rather earnest mid-80s musical landscape, post-punk, and with so many stentorian-voiced `New Romantics` cluttering up the place and bursting blood vessels all over the shop - much ado about nothing, indeed.
Waits was & is an old romantic...no need for capital letters.
"And I`ve seen it all, I`ve seen it all
through the yellow windows of the evening train"
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stay in on your own, get drunk, listen to this record.,
By A Customer
I bought this album on the recomendation of a friend. My first reaction was that he'd conned me into buying a throat cancer benefit album. However after listening to it a few times I couldn't help but love it. There's so many songs (19 in all) and so many GOOD songs. Personally my favourites are Raindogs, Walking Spanish, Jockey Full of Bourbon and Gun Street Girl. But really, the whole thing is just brilliant, this is a record which I want with me in my coffin.
Raindogs is the blues but at times it paints life so black you can't help but smile. It's in the music and it's in the words. There's moments of true epiphany too, eg. "Ah, there's nothing wrong with her $100 wouldn't fix." To hear it as it's meant to be heard requires solitude and a bottle of whisky, but this is genuinely on of those records which changes your perception of the world. It's worth the hangover.
It may be based on the blues but the quality of the song-writing is such that it becomes undefinable. One track (9th and Hennepin) is just spoken word, there's a couple of radio-friendlies (notably Downtown Train) and some which are just just downright odd (esp Singapore). This is probably why so few people have it despite its quality. But this is a diamond of a record - and you don't want every pleb in the world covered in diamonds, do you?
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I may be young - but this is an amazing album,
A Kid's Review
i admit - i am only 12 but this album is amazing! none of my friends have ever even heard of him, but i still say he is my favourite artist and that raindogs is my favourite album EVER!!!my dad has an old dusty copy but it is so good i am thinking of buying another one, just. so i can keep it as my own (until they stop selling him because i must admit he is getting kinda old by now). i have never heard such emotion in music. my dad says that i get my slight poetic skill from growing up listening to his deepful lyrics. and yes- i did say growing up listening to him. i used to force my dad to put it on at least once a week from the young age of six. my favourite song has to be 'tango till theyre sore'.if you have ever seen black books (which i suggest you do because it is hilariourus)the title music is inspired by tom waits - just the strong beat which is fully followed. i am listening to him just as i speak and i must admit he has some wacky song openers. if you are going to buy tom waits- buy rain dogs. as i said -i may only be 12 but i know that this music is among the best in the world.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars eclectic,
album of the 80's?
what a brilliant mixture of bizarre weird and wonderful songs this is.
ive never tired of it since i got it on vinyl when it came out what seems like hundreds of years ago.wives/girlfriends have come and gone,kids have been born and grown up but this has stayed with me and i love it.nice one tom
5.0 out of 5 stars Great album,
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
In 1983 an already eclectic artist took a true left turn and came up with a trilogy of albums that surprise, confound and delight in equal measures. Rain Dogs is the middle album of that trilogy and is a tremendous introduction to an artist who has been responsible for more hit songs than you realise. A unique gravel voice that makes Rod Stewart sound like Aled Jones in comparison, the opener "Singapore" is warning enough that you are in for something different. A wry sense of humour and sharp observational lyrics permeate the songs, with "Downtown Train" probably the best known. What's also apparent is the wide mix of styles, unusual instrumentation, and top tracks like "Jockey Full Of Bourbon" and "Walking Spanish" and especially "Cemetery Polka" to delight in. A great album from a sadly underrated talent.
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant album,
A grizzly album with evocative tales of folk who have either lost their way in life or never quite had it in the first place. Tales of people looking for redemption, a way out, lost souls, snapshots of peoples thoughts and lives about people who you'd never really care a dam about or spend time thinking about.
Sometimes bluesy sometimes jazzy sometimes melancholic sometimes angry sometimes happy (and whole lot of emotive content) writen and produced in a way that takes you into it's chaotic world like being shoved into the washing machine with the dirty laundry then spat back out in some way tainted by the intimacy of the tales but in an odd way feeling cleansed as well.
This isn't a review i just wanted to express my opinion of this album which is,
I FRIKKEN LOVE IT 5/5, when i'm in the mood nothing else will do.
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece,
Yet another 5 star review! An album of staggering variety, wild invention & scarcely a weak track to be heard. Some great backing, notably by Marc Ribot & Fred Tackett on guitars, and the superb percussion. Hearing this back in the mid 80s I was stunned, and it still sounds great now.
Best tracks? So many great songs yo choose from, but mine are "Cemetery Polka", "Tango Till They're Sore", "Hang Down Your Head", "Time" & "Downtown Train" (which dumps all over the wretched Rod Stewart version.)The final track on the album, "Anywhere I Lay My Head" is almost self-parody, but still enjoyable.
For me, this is Tom's second best album, very narrowly pipped at the post by "Alice"
If you are new to Tom Waits, this is a good place to start, although be warned that it isn't representative of all his work - no one album is.
5.0 out of 5 stars £3.99?!,
Hard to think of an album with 5 better opening tracks and that's not to say that these 5 are necessarily the best on the album. Rain Dogs is a sturdy bridge between the 'old' Waits and his post-Swordfishtrombones more experimental stuff.'Downtown Train' sticks out like a tuxedo at a tramps' ball but it's still a great song. 'Time' can still exercise my tear ducts at the right moment, even on the umpteenth listen. I have to concede that the album would be no poorer without a few of the 19 tracks, but there is so much quality here that it's inconceivable that anyone even remotely seduced by the across-the-board excellent reviews wouldn't take a punt at £3.99.
5.0 out of 5 stars Blown Away!!!,
Downtown Train was my first introduction to Tom Waits as is so many other people, it was on the strength of this one song i bought the album, "Bloody Hell, what an album". The song writing, arrangements and Tom's voice entangle together to possibly make the most beautiful album i have ever had the joy of listening to.
My personal faves on the album Clap Hands, Rain Dogs and of course Downtown Train. I can not speak highly enough of this album, its definately in my top 10 maybe even top 5 fave all time albums.
So if you havent gathered i strongly advise you buy this superb album.
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