Home Read Classic Album Review: Tom Waits | The Dime Store Novels Vol. 1

Classic Album Review: Tom Waits | The Dime Store Novels Vol. 1

The gravel-throated troubadour is in fine form on this live album from his early days.

This came out in 2001 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


THE ARTIST: Tom Waits is one of the finest songwriters since Bob Dylan, and certainly one of the most eclectic and fearless. Over his 30-year career, the gravel-throated troubadour has excelled at tearful balladry, jazzbo hipsterism and, more recently, avant-garde blues-skronk.

THE ALBUM: A live radio broadcast from Denver’s Ebbets Field club in 1974, during the rumpled, wandering-minstrel glory of his early years. THE MUSIC: Falling between his first two studio efforts and his official 1975 live masterpiece Nighthawks at the Diner, this 13-song set has tunes from all three, including road songs (Ol’ 55, Diamonds on My Windshield), grand weepers (I Hope That I Don’t Fall in Love With You) and rakish ditties (Better Off Without a Wife). THE QUALITY: The recording is OK, but the unique, idiosyncratic performances — Waits seldom plays songs the same way twice — are the selling point here. THE LAST WORD: For Tom fans, indispensable.