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Small Change

Small Change

9 Jul 2008
4.6 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Small Change
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Audio Cassette, Import, 17 Oct 1990
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
"I was sick through that whole period. It was starting to wear on me, all the touring. I'd been traveling quite a bit, living in hotels, eating bad food, drinking a lot - too much. There's a lifestyle that's there before you arrive and you're introduced to it. It's unavoidable."

Tom Waits said this about the time the album was recorded, and these are exactly the feelings reflected on the album. Inebriated tales of drunks and hard-luck people trying to to cope with life. Disillusionment with the commercial and success. All wrapped up in drunken piano ballads and voice weary with extensive cigarette smoking and too much whiskey.

So, the atmosphere and themes are great; it's really what makes this album. But Waits doesn't just settle with this, no, he goes on to write some of the greatest tunes of his career, the most wonderful lyrics he ever wrote and delivers some of his finest vocals ever.

From the very moment the string section of "Tom Traubert's Blues" fades in, the album grips you by the heart. It gives you everything; grand weepers such as "Tom Traubert's Blues", up-beat, jazzy and groovy pieces such as "Step Right Up", bittersweet ballads like "I Wish I Was In New Orleans", funny drunk ramblings in "The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me) and some darker material such as "The One That Got Away" and "Invitation To The Blues".

Every song on here has its own life, and stirs your emotions in different ways. The album is an amazing listen from both a musical and emotional point of view. Do yourself a favor and don't miss out on this one.
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Format: Audio CD
I have listened to tom waits since I was a kid, (which I have my dad to thank for), and only really recently bought some of his stuff my self. However I believe that it is not too naïve of me to say that this really is one of the finest albums there is. From the opening tracks of “Tom Traubert’s Blues” and “Step Right Up” (my dads favourite), the album is decorated with melody and blues. However my favourites are the slightly insane: “The piano has been drinking (not me)” and “Pasties and a G-String” where I think his genius is most evident. Now don’t get me wrong I am by no means of the imagination any “Tom Waits” expert (hey I am only 20), though I do know great music when I hear it, and there are very, very few albums that I would give 5 stars in any kind or rating. However this has always been one of my favourites and is easily worthy of a 5 star rating. There isn’t really a great deal else that can be said without listening to the album for your self, but worth mentioning is that Waits is one of the few artist out there who has been (and still is) recognised for his talent rather than his “commercial appeal”, and for which reason, in my mind, has never sold out.
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Format: Audio CD
"Small Change", in my opinion, is the finest addition to the Tom Waits cannon, and the best example I can think of of an album that consistently showcases brilliant songwriting. The quality never wavers, and the tone is more personal than on many other Waits albums. The result is a bar-stool confessional, life as seen through the whisky glass; hard luck stories told for anybody who cares to listen...all to a soundtrack that is both bluesy, jazzy, and beatnik-funky. Wait's pre-eminence as a writer has long earned him kudos from more prominent artists, and the classic opener on this album ("Tom Traubert's Blues") gave Rod Stewart (a confirmed Waits fan) an unlikely chart hit a few years back. This is a sorry, booze-soaked tale of unrequited love, underpinned by a lush, stringed arrangement that lends it a festive air, which wouldn't seem out of place on Heart Attack and Vine. Next up is the beat-poet satire on the mania of commerce that is "Step Right Up"...here Waits adopts the voice of a "closing down, everything must go" salesperson of irrelevant specificity - the song's all-embracing intentions are brilliantly inscribed with a wonderfully timed bit of scat singing as Waits recites "that's right you too can be the proud owner of this quality hoosay boosing boosong..!!" Classic. Waits wouldn't look out of place in the company of the contemporary literati. "Jitterbug Boy" is another boozy confessional, with Waits's down-on-his-luck narrator sounding as though he'd had a few too many before collaring a bar neighbour to spew out some unlikely stories to ("once upon a time I was in showbiz too..")...Read more ›
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By KaleHawkwood TOP 100 REVIEWER on 24 Sept. 2011
Format: Audio CD
A splendidly-named movement teacher, Jo Jelly, had the honour of introducing me to the magisterial Tom Waits. At drama college in `76, the year of the release of Small Change, she would put on Tom Traubert`s Blues, the opener of this now-classic album, first thing every session while we did our warm-up exercises - unlikely as that sounds. I couldn`t believe my ears, and very soon asked Jo who the guy was with the improbable voice singing such a unique song, with its Walzing Matilda refrain. (What endeared me to her forever was that she would then play Bonnie Raitt, whom I hadn`t then heard either. I have a lot to thank Jo for.)
Those reviewers who complain that TW seemed to be creating a self-myth on the back of his influences - well of course he was, and to some extent still is. Let`s say it loud & clear: Tom is a Romantic, a dirt-literate roughhouse ring-master who wears his Howlin` Wolf/Cap`n Beefheart influences on his worn sleeve, a breath of unfresh air in the wonderful wacky world of pop back in the faraway 70s, and still going strong, having discovered sobriety, family life, more things to hit and bash on than a piano - a drinking one or not - and a way with words almost unequalled by any of his peers.
After the lush, exquisite Tom Traubert`s Blues comes a parodic cascade of ad-man exhortations in the form of Step Right Up, which tries to sell you the ultimate gizmo that`ll do it all & more:

"It makes excuses for unwanted lipstick on your collar
and it`s only a dollar..."

This is the wittiest, wildest rap you`ll ever hear:

"It entertains visiting relatives"

Not only that:

"It walks your dog, and it doubles on sax...
Read more ›
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