Monday, December 07, 2009


Yep, the Father of the Antique-Garde hits the big Six-Oh, and to celebrate, here's some rarities that actually rate among my fave recordings of his, and they've never even been released.

"On The Nickel" is a gorgeous, touching piano ballad about homeless kids on LA's Skid Row. I actually work on 5th Street ("The Nickel") not far from Skid Row. I think of this song often. This live-on-tv version completely blows away the overblown album
version from 1980's "Heartattack and Vine". Recorded off my old video.

"On The Nickel" - live on "Late Night With David Letterman" 12-21-83

"Table Top Joe" - This weird ode to a sideshow freak who becomes a Vegas star is in a totally different form here then the basic jazz band arrangement of
the album version (2002's "Alice"), a solo demo of Waits singing along with an experimental plucked thingie, kinda like an African mbira.

This solo acoustic guitar version of "Strange Weather" was a demo for Marianne Faithful, who did indeed cut it; Waits did a very different version on his 1988 live "Big Time" album; again, I prefer the stripped-down feel of the demo:

"Strange Weather" - taped off Wait's appearance on KCRW (late '80s)

"The White Knight" - beautful instrumental version of "Fish And Bird", from "Alice"

Waits has a brand-new album out now, "Glitter and Doom - Live."


Peter said...

What a fabulous selection of Waits songs. (Although I do still appreciate the syrupy studio strings of "On the Nickel.")

Thanks for sharing.

Mr Fab said...

I only heard the album version of "On The Nickel" years after I heard the tv version - so it's the version I'm used to.

But I can see how a wee bit of "syrupy" strings could be nice for this tune.