Time - Rain Dogs [115]

More discussions this week with Jon Ronson around the writing style of both Waits as well as Jon himself in his feature film Frank. With music that Waits influenced as well as plenty of discussion around the musical presences in Frank, we dig into more perspectives on our interaction with music as identity, political as well as personal.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Time, Rain Dogs, Tom Waits (1985)

If I Should Fall From Grace With God, If I Should Fall From Grace With God, The Pogues (1988)

Official trailer for Frank, dir. Lenny Abrahamson, wri. Jon Ronson (2016)

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Hang Down Your Head - Rain Dogs [114]

Song by Song is pleased to welcome Jon Ronson to the show to discuss the next few tracks from Waits's tenth studio album, Rain Dogs. With a certain amount of biographical discussion around the origins of Jon's love for Waits, his experiences listening to him in Cardiff and seeing him in London, we also discuss the relationship between Waits and Bruce Springsteen, and the way that two performers can be so alike as well as so different.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Hang Down Your Head, Rain Dogs, Tom Waits (1985)

Thundercrack, Live Version (via YouTube), Bruce Springsteen (1973)

Jersey Girl, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band Live 1975-85, Bruce Springsteen/Tom Waits (1986)

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Diamonds & Gold - Rain Dogs [113]

For this very material song about the riches of the world, we delve into the metaphysical as Eric, Sam and Martin debate some of the semi-hallucinatory worlds that Waits creates in his music, or perhaps that a warm studio makes its occupants feel. With the intersection of real and Imaginary Worlds (plugplugplug), Rain Dogs continues it’s meander through the urban landscapes of America.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Diamonds & Gold, Rain Dogs, Tom Waits (1985)

Deep Blue Sea, The Complete Bowdoin College Concert, Traditional/Pete Seeger (1960)

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Big Black Mariah - Rain Dogs [112]

Whoop-whoop! That’s the sound of the critique, as Eric, Martin and Sam revisit the criminal underbelly of Waits’s version of America through this latest track from Rain Dogs. With the demonization (and possibly supernaturalisation) of the police in both this as well as our much more political interval track, we discuss the interaction between authority figures and minorities in the US, as well as the idea of Waits role as “guide” through some of the semi-unreal worlds found in his songs.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Big Black Mariah, Rain Dogs, Tom Waits (1985)

Sound of da Police, Return of the Boom Bap, KRS-One (1993)

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Tango Till They're Sore - Rain Dogs [111]

Song by Song extends a warm welcome to Eric Molinsky of the Imaginary Worlds Podcast, joining us for the latest track from Rain Dogs. As we pick through how Waits presents himself in both the songs as well as his PR appearances, we get to look at the humour in his writing, and more of the ideas of how to represent worlds through music and lyrics. Also spider-venom dancing.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Tango Till They're Sore, Rain Dogs, Tom Waits (1985)

The Masochism Tango, An Evening Wasted With Tom Lehrer, Tom Lehrer (1959)

Tom Waits on Late Night With David Letterman 2/6/86, via YouTube (1986)

A playlist of Rain Dogs promo videos, via YouTube

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Jockey Full of Bourbon - Rain Dogs [110]

Our conversation leaves the public space of Kings Place, returning to the seclusion of our normal recording environs (albeit separated by the North Atlantic Ocean) for another twofer with Martin and Sam. Talking through the lyrics and music found in this fourth song from Rain Dogs, we again visit some of the question of style vs substance, as well as spending some time discussing the unique musical stylings of Marc Ribot.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Jockey Full of Bourbon, Rain Dogs, Tom Waits (1985)

Fat Man Blues, Silent Movies/Live Version, Marc Ribot (2010)


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Cemetery Polka - Rain Dogs [109]

It’s one more week of traumatic noise-endurance music torture, as Helen Zaltzman, John Hodgkin and the audience from the London Podcast Festival are finally released from their purgatorial fortnight at King’s Place. With some suspicion over the veracity of the stories surrounding Waits’s family, the welcome calming influence of Jake Thackray and outlandish promises of future guests for the podcast, Song by Song concludes its series of live shows with this third track from Rain Dogs. Next year we’ll have fewer human sacrifices, promise…

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Cemetery Polka, Rain Dogs, Tom Waits (1985)

Lah-Di-Dah, Jake In The Box, Jake Thackray (2006/1967)


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Clap Hands - Rain Dogs [108]

The discussion continues at the London Podcast Festival, as our guests Helen Zaltzman and John Hodgman return to talk through the second track from Rain Dogs. John’s stories about his London-cheese-based glory days give way to anecdotes from Helen concerning the secret burial of her grandmother, but the vibe is pretty much the same - a lot of hand-clapping games, riffs on host’s names, the condemnation of this show’s topic as "a big phoney" - the usual stuff.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Clap Hands, Rain Dogs, Tom Waits (1985)

The Clapping Song, The Clapping Song… and more, Shirley Ellis (2016/1965)

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Singapore - Rain Dogs [107]

We are back! And in an effort to change the format slightly without really having to think of anything too new or original, we've roped some podcasting luminaries into kicking off season 10 of... what's the name of the show again?

This week we kick off Rain Dogs with contributions from our latest guest hosts Helen Zaltzman and John Hodgman, as they tell us about some of their personal histories with this album, talk about inter-Pacific cultural appropriation, and pin down some of the subtleties of Bay Area geography.

(seriously though, what is the name of the show?)

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Singapore, Rain Dogs, Tom Waits (1985)

Sausolito, Western Union Band, Western Union Band (2003/1972)

Town With No Cheer, Anywhere I Lay My Head, Scarlett Johansson/Tom Waits (2008)

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Rainbirds - Swordfishtrombones [106]

It's the end of season nine, let's all get down and funky with some mid-20th-century experimental piano sonatas to celebrate! Købi returns for one more track to wrap up Swordfishtrombones . With some Lynchian ideas of art as well as a brief dip into John Cage's theory of musical indeterminacy, plus the ever-present question of finishing moves in Mortal Combat, Sam and Martin say goodbye to another album - we'll see you for Rain Dogs in a few weeks!

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Rainbirds, Swordfishtrombones, Tom Waits (1983)

Sonata No. 6, Sonatas And Interludes For Prepared Piano, John Cage/Boris Berman (1946-48/2001)

Sonata No. 6, Sonatas And Interludes For Prepared Piano, John Cage/Illya Filshtinskiy (1946-48/2015)

Composer William Zeitler plays a glass armonica, invented by Benjamin Franklin in 1761, courtesy of The Toronto Star / youtube.com, 2013

… and for silly fun, Street Glass Harp Artist plays Hallelujah, via youtube.com, 2013

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Trouble's Braids - Swordfishtrombones [105]

Still on the run from the music police, Købi and Sam pull on Martin's braids (he's the one with the follicles) and slam that mother******g drum as Swordfishtrombones heads into its final two tracks. With more of Martin's hatred of jazz in our interval track and an attempt to clarify exactly what a piano is, we continue to lay down this totally authoritative analysis of the entirety of music. No no, keep your seats, you're welcome. 

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Trouble's Braids, Swordfishtrombones, Tom Waits (1983)

Seven Steps To Heaven, Seven Steps To Heaven, Miles Davis/Victor Feldman (1963)

Kofo the Wonderman performs a traditional tune at the Zinc Bar, via congahead.com / youtube.com, 2012

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Gin Soaked Boy - Swordfishtrombones [104]

Waits returns to another style we haven't heard for a few albums to fool around with the blues for a couple of minutes. As Købi, Martin and Sam discuss the guitar stylings of Fred Tackett as well as some of the technical recording choices, we head into the final few tracks of Swordfishtrombones on this week's Song by Song. 

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Gin Soaked Boy, Swordfishtrombones, Tom Waits (1983)

In A Town Like This, In A Town Like This, Fred Tackett (2003)

In A Town Like This, Kickin' It At The Barn, Little Feat (2003)

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Soldier's Things - Swordfishtrombones [103]

Sam and Martin welcome Købi Omenaka of the Flixwatcher podcast to listen to another story of the broken-hearted side of military service. We discuss Paul Young's cover of this track, the details within the lyrics and possibly even its function as a microcosm of Waits's songwriting style and ideology... yeah, that's right, digging deep this week on Song by Song!

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Soldier's Things, Swordfishtrombones, Tom Waits (1983)

Soldier's Things, The Secret Of Association, Paul Young, (1985)

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Down, Down, Down - Swordfishtrombones [102]

Martin and Sam return for another slice of Swordfishtrombones, as Waits grabs his bible and gives it a good thump. Links to blues performers of the 20s and how seriously we should take Tom's threats of fire and brimstone all feature, plus... the return of the grand unified egg theory of musical accessibility.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Down, Down, Down, Swordfishtrombones, Tom Waits (1983)

It's Nobody's Fault But Mine, It's Nobody's Fault But Mine - The Best Of, Blind Willie Johnson (1925/2010)

Nobody's Fault But Mine, Nina Simone & Piano, Nina Simone (1969)

Nobody's Fault But Mine, Presence, Led Zeppelin (1976)

The Soul Of A Man, God Don't Never Change: The Songs Of Blind Willie Johnson, Tom Waits/Blind Willie Johnson (2016)

John The RevelatorGod Don't Never Change: The Songs Of Blind Willie Johnson, Tom Waits/Blind Willie Johnson (2016)

Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground, God Don't Never Change: The Songs Of Blind Willie Johnson, Rickie Lee Jones/Blind Willie Johnson (2016)

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Swordfishtrombone - Swordfishtrombones [101]

With nary a George Orwell reference in sight, Martin and Sam delve deep into textual interpretation of both this Waits track as well as a classic Dylan protest song. Whether Waits is writing about the personal or the political, as well as the variety of vocal styles at his disposal, all this and more makes up the discussion on this week's Song by Song. 

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Swordfishtrombone, Swordfishtrombones, Tom Waits (1983)

A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, Bob Dylan (1963)

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Frank's Wild Years - Swordfishtrombones [100]

Welcome back to Song by Song for this, our 87th episode! 

(Except we did one episode for the film One From The Heart, and one more for all the songs on that soundtrack, and I think there's 4 teaser episodes, but they don't count, but the other two do, and it's our show so we're calling it 100, that's some large-print/small-print shit right there, get away from me kid, you bother me...)

Anyway... we're talking about Frank's Wild Years. Thanks for listening. 

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Frank's Wild Years, Swordfishtrombones, Tom Waits (1983)

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Just Another Sucker On The Vine - Swordfishtrombones [099]

For their last discussion with Jo Neary, Martin and Sam try to untangle some of the questions that arise from this latest track. With debate relating to its placement on the album, Waits's interest in keyboard sounds and technology of the past and some comparison with the much more forward-looking Herbie Hancock, Song by Song continues through Swordfishtrombones. 

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Just Another Sucker On The Vine, Swordfishtrombones, Tom Waits (1983)

Rocket, Future Shock, Herbie Hancock (1983)

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In The Neighbourhood - Swordfishtrombones [098]

As Song by Song continues through Swordfishtrombones, we encounter one of the strange outliers in Waits's writing career in this celebration of small-town mundanity. As the tangents to our conversations come thick and fast, we discuss the parochial outlook of Colin Moulding, the heartwarming perspective of Mr Rogers, the bleak opinions of Cyril Connolly (who is the real writer of the "There is no more sombre enemy of good art than the pram in the hall" quote) and everything in-between. Variety. You're welcome.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
In The Neighbourhood, Swordfishtrombones, Tom Waits (1983)

Bungalow, Nonsuch, XTC (1992)

In The Neighbourhood, Music video via Vimeo, Tom Waits/Haskell Wexler (1983)

Mr Roger's Neighbourhood Theme Song, via YouTube

Mr Rogers Explained to Modern Kids, Buzzfeed Celeb, via YouTube (2014)

Fred Rogers Emmy Acceptance Speech, via YouTube (1997)

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Town With No Cheer - Swordfishtrombones [097]

This week sees us head across to Australasia/Oceanica to discuss outsider and insider perspectives of small-town Australia. Jo Neary is back to talk about gigs she's attended, paintings of photos she's seen and the outfits of Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg. Meanwhile, Martin's continues his sub-project to infuriate all of our listeners this week by (gently) suggesting that Nick Cave is overrated. Fury all around this week on Song by Song!

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Town With No Cheer, Swordfishtrombones, Tom Waits (1983)

There Is A Town, Nocturama, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds (2003)

A Pub With No Beer, Single, Slim Dusty (1979/2007)

Tom Waits on David Letterman, The Late Show (2013)

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16 Shells From A Thirty-Ought-Six - Swordfishtrombones [096]

We go into this week's track mob-handed and ready to rumble; Waits has his rifle, Martin has his (musical) axe, Jo Neary has Excalibur and Sam… has a trapped nerve in his neck, might sit this one out actually… We spend this week talking about the weirdness of the world created in this song, the much stranger world of Captain Beefheart, improvisation in comedy and music, and what Waits might be shooting at with those 16 shells.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
16 Shells From A Thirty-Ought Six, Swordfishtrombones, Tom Waits (1983)

Ice Cream For Crow, Ice Cream For Crow, Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band (1982)

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