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Leftfield Media (LFMCD511)

Emotional Weather Report, Eggs And Sausage, Better Off Without A Wife, Semi Suite, Spare Parts, The Ghosts Of Saturday/The Heart Of Saturday Night, New Coat Of Pain, Warm Beer And Cold Women, Virginia Avenue, San Diego Serenade, Putnam County, Ol' 55, Mr Siegal, Tango Til They're Sore, Time.

There's a lot of these old radio broadcasts knocking about these days - not that I'm complaining, especially when it comes to this live Tom Waits solo show for KQRS, Minneapolis recorded in perfect stereo on 16 December 1975 - just a few months after the release of his classic LP ‘Nighthawks At The Diner'.

The sleeve notes say that this particular recording is the ‘holy grail' for Waits fans and I can't disagree when I hear him somewhat nervously improvising and extending his vocal riffs on a hip finger-snapping Emotional Weather Report and then settling down at the piano to spice up his intro to Eggs And Sausage with an hilarious story about how his mother stole his first piano. He gets into his groove then, cruising through jazzed up and refurbished versions of Spare Parts, Warm Beer and Cold Women and Putnam County which, despite the tape glitch, has all the charm and humour of the LP version in this touching description of night life in small town America. It's a marvellous version which will bring a smile to everyone who loves the song.

The fact is, if you're a fan of the ‘Nighthawks' album, you're going to be delighted with this CD as it captures a time when Waits was at the top of his game, mixing an intimate club jazzy feel with riotous humour and poetry, spittin' out neat asides to the enthralled audience and reeling off anecdotes and tall stories in a voice that sounds like it's gone though an industrial strength sanding machine - twice. Plus, there's a couple of bonus cuts - a great 1981 take of Mr Siegal from the Don Lane Show and a low-fi Tango Til They're Sore and Time from a 1986 Letterman special.

Buy this. Remember- it's the Holy Grail!


Review Date: March 2012

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