[Epub] ↠ Swordfishtrombones Author David Smay – Thomashillier.co.uk



10 thoughts on “Swordfishtrombones

  1. says:

    Like Captain Beefheart and at various times Bob Dylan, Tom Waits invented himself a character as deliberate as anything you find in a Broadway production and stuck to it, both onstage, in his songs and patter, and offstage, in his interviews It was a radical idea In the 70s he was the Last of the Holy Beat Barroom Singers, and if there was genuine melancholy in his art there was also a thick air of affectation hanging like Los Angeles smog over the whole enterprise, from the Edward Hopper al Like Captain Beefheart and at various times Bob Dylan, Tom Waits invented himself a character as deliberate as anything you find in a Broadway production and stuck to it, both onstage, in his songs and patter, and offstage, in his interviews It was a radical idea In the 70s he was the Last of the Holy Beat Barroom Singers, and if there was genuine melancholy in his art there was also a thick air of affectation hanging like Los Angeles smog over the whole enterprise, from the Edward Hopper album covers to the Bukowski and Lord Buckley jive talk Me, I couldn t take him seriously for a second I d had enough with Captain Beefheart s Mr Natural nonsense, which all the journos lapped up like it was mother s milk laced with bourbon Beefheart s music is sublime, of course, anyone can see that, he was the guy who could hit targets no one else knew were there, but we didn t have to buy the whole cutesy folk sayings and the tree surgery and the never went to school and the seven and a half octaves Enough So anyway, Tom Waits met Kathleen Brennan who wasn t in the music biz and wham, he reinvented his whole thing right on the spot NoBukowski And for three albums everything was better than wonderful Swordfishtrombones, Rain Dogs and Franks Wild Years 1983 87 Inbenevolent times these three albums would be issued to every child on reaching the age of fifteen by the school authorities Before 15 they couldn t take it So anyway, beginning with Bone Machine in 93, Tom Waits changed again, and whilst I salute him in refusing to rewrite the same stuff, like many others can only do, I couldn t follow him He appeared to want to make records he thought Captain Beefheart himself should have been making if Beefheart hadn t have been crippled with MS, and if Beefheart had been seized with a mania for Karlheinz Stockhausen, Einst rzende Neubauten and Bang on a Can It was difficult terrain, the musical equivalent of dragging the carcass of an elk across ploughed fields It sounded like tuneless noise, like experiments in found sound It was the parting of the ways for me and Tom Waits But two of his Frank trilogy albums are in my all time top 20 and will forever be so This book is an okay celebration of a great, mad, original, serendipidous dance of delight called Swordfishtrombones.SHORE LEAVEWell, with buck shot eyes and a purple heartI rolled down the national strollAnd with a big fat paycheck strapped to my hip sackAnd a shore leave wristwatch underneath my sleeveIn a Hong Kong drizzle on Cuban heelsI rowed down the gutter to the Blood BankAnd I d left all my papers on the TiconderogaAnd I was in bad need of a shaveI slopped at the corner on cold chow meinAnd shot billiards with a midget until the rain stoppedAnd I bought a long sleeved shirt with horses on the frontAnd some gum and a lighter and a knifeAnd a new deck of cards with girls on the backAnd I sat down and wrote a letter to my wifeAnd I said, baby, I m so far away from homeAnd I miss my baby soI can t make it by myselfI love you soAnd I was pacing myself, trying to make it all lastSqueezing all the life out of a lousy two day passAnd I had a cold one at the Dragon with some Filipino floor showAnd I talked baseball with a lieutenant over a Singapore SlingAnd I wondered how the same moon outside over this Chinatown fairCould look down on Illinois and find you there


  2. says:

    Good addition to the 33 1 3 series examining Tom Waits classic album Swordfishtrombones as a turning point in his career The author, David Smay, dissembles and plays with facts as much as Tom Waits does, both in his songs and in his interviews, meaning that the story of the album that Smay tells takes on the same sort of rambling, mythic quality that the album does It s not reportage, there aren t many interviews, and he can t actually back up anything that he says except that Tom Waits wear Good addition to the 33 1 3 series examining Tom Waits classic album Swordfishtrombones as a turning point in his career The author, David Smay, dissembles and plays with facts as much as Tom Waits does, both in his songs and in his interviews, meaning that the story of the album that Smay tells takes on the same sort of rambling, mythic quality that the album does It s not reportage, there aren t many interviews, and he can t actually back up anything that he says except that Tom Waits wears plows on his feet it sa collection of personal reflections, inferences, and wild lies Which is as it should be Some might not like this approach, complaining that they bought a book to learn about an album only to discover that the book was at least 50% bullshit Personally, I kind of liked that about it.I always think that I want to learnabout FACTS Tom Waits know precisely how he made some sound on an album, or what his influences are, or what he was thinking when he wrote some song When I start looking for those answers and findof Tom s tall tales, I realize that I never wanted the answers in the first place, and that the mystery is muchsatisfying I m glad that Smay realizes this too


  3. says:

    There were places in America before Johnson s Great Society that had fallen off the map It was beyond mere lawlessness it was a bizarre landscape.All of Tom Waits albums, but especially Swordfishtrombones by virtue of being such a wild departure from what he d done before, are set to some extent in what Greil Marcus called the Invisible Republic, the Old Weird America A world of people and places left behind or stepped off None of it remotely real, but all thereal because of it That There were places in America before Johnson s Great Society that had fallen off the map It was beyond mere lawlessness it was a bizarre landscape.All of Tom Waits albums, but especially Swordfishtrombones by virtue of being such a wild departure from what he d done before, are set to some extent in what Greil Marcus called the Invisible Republic, the Old Weird America A world of people and places left behind or stepped off None of it remotely real, but all thereal because of it That s why you can t trust anything Tom Waits will tell you, and also why the real actual facts around his life aren t nearly as interesting as the stories he tells It s like the question of who wrote Shakespeare s plays Shakespeare is the guy who wrote Shakespeare s plays.What I love about Smay s books is that he never tries to explain the songs, or tell The Truth about Waits Well, almost never As heartwarming a story as it is, and as respectful he is, his interest in Waits Brennan s marriage occasionally gets slightly too far into tabloid rock journalism But for the most part he uses those weird, noisy, somehow ever ancient songs as springboards to discuss Waits entire career, his influences, his fellow travellers, and his methods, all the while acknowledging that he s working with a story that s a Story In the end, all I know for sure is that Tom Waits was born in 1653 and that I need to go listen go Swordfishtrombones again


  4. says:

    This book presents an interesting historical perspective on Tom Waits, noting that at the beginning of his career he was classed in the same group as Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen According to Smay, nobody in 1974 would ve put money on Tom Waits s career being the one that would be producing vital work in the twenty first century He was too nostalgic, too sentimental, too hokey in his beatnickery, his voice too limited Even the most generous projection of Tom s career from 1974 would prob This book presents an interesting historical perspective on Tom Waits, noting that at the beginning of his career he was classed in the same group as Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen According to Smay, nobody in 1974 would ve put money on Tom Waits s career being the one that would be producing vital work in the twenty first century He was too nostalgic, too sentimental, too hokey in his beatnickery, his voice too limited Even the most generous projection of Tom s career from 1974 would probably include a hedge against a likely terminus in either cirrhosis or throat cancer Smay s account helps explain why it didn t turn out that way.This book proceeds song by song through the album Swordfishtrombones, which Smay rightly sees as the fulcrum in Waits s career It was this album on which he first collaborated heavily with his wife Kathleen Brennan, who encouraged him to expand his musical and lyrical range of reference and suppress some of the sentimentality in his work she apparently particularly hated his song Saving All My Love for You, from Heartattack and Vine It was on that album that Waits took chances and opened up new artistic space that he continues to mine up till the present Rain Dogs is a perfect album, every song both daring and fully realized There are a few places on Swordfishtrombones where Tom pulled back just a little from the risk Smay identifies Frank s Wild Years, Down, Down, Down, and Gin Soaked Boy as examples However, he asserts, Being imperfect doesn t diminish Swordfishtrombonesgreatness though Rain Dogs had a place to land its predecessor had been well received It had a net Swordfishtrombones juggled live ammo on the high wire and there was no net at all


  5. says:

    Eh I enjoyed reading it to some extent it s about Tom Waits, after all but this book is exactly what you d expect from some hack writing about Tom Waits Not that Smay is a hack, but this book makes him sound like he s trying too hard to emulate Waits style as prose, and trying to hard to paint a picture of Waits based on his lyrical imagery There isn t really much insight to Swordfishtrombones here either Smay manages to say a lot without really saying anything of value There is a paragr Eh I enjoyed reading it to some extent it s about Tom Waits, after all but this book is exactly what you d expect from some hack writing about Tom Waits Not that Smay is a hack, but this book makes him sound like he s trying too hard to emulate Waits style as prose, and trying to hard to paint a picture of Waits based on his lyrical imagery There isn t really much insight to Swordfishtrombones here either Smay manages to say a lot without really saying anything of value There is a paragraph or two describing the timeline around the time of the album that was interesting, and there were facts here and there I hadn t heard before, but the book as a whole isn t very good It isn t bad either, it s justeh reading the preface again after I finished it I couldn t help but think you really skipped your son s big championship game to write THIS Poor kid


  6. says:

    Swordfishtrombones isn t my favourite Tom Waits album, but it s the one that got a 33 1 3 book, and only the most crushingly canonical acts getthan one of those Turns out it isn t David Smay s favourite either, but it s the one that gives him the best opportunity to delve beneath the cliches and the largely self started myths of Tom Waits, because this was where Waits reinvented himself And it s the hook on which you can hang a consideration of Tom Waits personal and professional part Swordfishtrombones isn t my favourite Tom Waits album, but it s the one that got a 33 1 3 book, and only the most crushingly canonical acts getthan one of those Turns out it isn t David Smay s favourite either, but it s the one that gives him the best opportunity to delve beneath the cliches and the largely self started myths of Tom Waits, because this was where Waits reinvented himself And it s the hook on which you can hang a consideration of Tom Waits personal and professional partnership with the enigmatic Kathleen Brennan, because this was their first collaborative effort And it s the one where, when the analysis starts to pall, you can cut loose and let fancy fly because, well, that goes for all Tom Waits albums Like so many of the series, this is a fascinating little curio


  7. says:

    Have you ever read a book and thought This is a person who enjoys the sound of his her own voice Welcome to such a book.I receive the 33 1 3 books for review on most occasions and this has to be the worst of the bunch not because it s not informative on a primitive level or almost fun to read but due to the author trying desperately to turn phrases, to be witty, to be cute, to be poetic When describing songs, it s always hard to find new adjectives and phrases to explain to someone unfam Have you ever read a book and thought This is a person who enjoys the sound of his her own voice Welcome to such a book.I receive the 33 1 3 books for review on most occasions and this has to be the worst of the bunch not because it s not informative on a primitive level or almost fun to read but due to the author trying desperately to turn phrases, to be witty, to be cute, to be poetic When describing songs, it s always hard to find new adjectives and phrases to explain to someone unfamiliar with the work just how it sounds but Smay tries too hard and delivers too little


  8. says:

    This is a very good analysis of the album and how it fits in both with its times 1983 and its place in Tom Waits s albums The audio version is great, but I want to buy the print version so I can easily check out all of the other albums Smay mentions.


  9. says:

    Average book about an amazing album.Would ve likedinfo on the recording of the album.


  10. says:

    This has been the best of all the 331 3s so far It s a little Lawrence Weschler y, even.


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Swordfishtrombones Two Entwined Narratives Run Through The Creation Of Swordfishtrombones And Form The Backbone Of This Book As The S Ended, Waits Felt Increasingly Constrained And Trapped By His Persona And Career Bitter And Desperately Unhappy, He Moved To New York In To Change His Life It Wasn T Working But At His Low Point, He Got The Phone Call That Changed Everything Francis Ford Coppola Tapped Tom To Write The Score For One From The Heart Waits Moved Back To Los Angeles To Work At Zoetrope S Hollywood Studio For The Next Months He Cleaned Up, Disciplined Himself As A Songwriter And Musician, Collaborated Closely With Coppola, And Met A Script Analyst Named Kathleen Brennan His Only True Love They Married Within Months At The Always And Forever Yours Wedding Chapel At Am Swordfishtrombones Was The First Thing Waits Recorded After His Marriage, And It Was At Kathleen S Urging That He Made A Record That Conceded Exactly Nothing To His Record Label, Or The Critics, Or His Fans There Aren T Many Love Stories Where The Happy Ending Sounds Like A Paint Can Tumbling In An Empty Cement MixerKathleen Brennan Was Sorely Disappointed By Tom S Record Collection She Forced Him Out Of His Comfortable Jazzbo Pocket To Take In Foreign Film Scores, German Theatre, And Asian Percussion These Two Stories Of A Man Creating That Elusive American Second Act, And Also Finding The Perfect Collaborator In His Wife Give This Book A Natural Forward Drive