The Cotton Club (film, dir. Coppola, 1984) [F03]

Martin & Sam welcome back friends of the show Simon Renshaw and Sam Clements to have a little chat about Coppola's jazz-odyssey The Cotton Club. There's some real difficulties for all four hosts with this one, although there are some standout scenes which seem to generate a little more enthusiasm; from the dancing of Gregory Hines, the crosscutting of dance-numbers and train stations, and the horse-drawing of Bob Hoskins.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
The Cotton Club trailer, via YouTube (dir. Coppola, 1984)

Ill Wind, from The Cotton Club, Lonette McKee (1984)

"This is the Hoofers Club", from The Cotton Club via YouTube (1984)

Gregory Hines talks about The Huggies from Muppets Take Manhattan, via YouTube (1984)

Nicolas Cage breaks down his most iconic characters | GQ, via YouTube (2018)

Rumble Fish (film, dir. Coppola, 1983) [F02]

Kevin Smokler rejoins Martin & Sam for another dip into a teen-drama Hinton/Coppola/Dillon collaboration, as Song by Song takes a look at 1983's Rumble Fish. There's some discussion about the acting styles of the Dillon/Rourke/Hopper family, the symbolism of elements like colour and sound (as well as the relationship between Rusty James and his brother), as well as the theatrical/dream-like quality of the film in general.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Rumble Fish trailer, via YouTube (dir. Coppola, 1983)

Don't Box Me In, Rumble Fish OST, Stan Ridgway/Stewart Copeland (1983)

… and check out Kevin's book Brat Pack America: A Love Letter to '80s Teen Movies at Amazon or Amazon UK, or perhaps at your local brick-and-mortar bookseller.

The Outsiders (film, dir. Coppola, 1983) [F01]

To educate us all on the history of the Brat Pack, Sam & Martin welcome Kevin Smokler to take a look at Coppola's adaptation of S.E Hinton's coming of age novel, The Outsiders. While Kevin educates us as to the historical and social context of this story, we also debate the success of the scoring choices, try to chart Coppola's creative/commercial rise and fall, and get confused about fires in schoolhouses or churches.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
The Outsiders trailer, via YouTube (dir. Coppola, 1983)

Stay Gold, The Complete Stevie Wonder, Stevie Wonder (1983/2005)

… and check out Kevin's book Brat Pack America: A Love Letter to '80s Teen Movies at Amazon or Amazon UK, or perhaps at your local brick-and-mortar bookseller.

Mystery Train (film, dir. Jarmusch, 1989) [F07]

Back for a second week, Matthew Crosby joins Martin and Sam to take a look at Jim Jarmusch's 1989 multiple-narrative movie Mystery Train. While we're all full of love and excitement for the quirks and details of the film, there's some debate as to the strength of some of the acting performances, the narrative coherence, as well as whether it's Elvis or Carl Perkins.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Mystery Train Trailer, via YouTube (dir. Jim Jarmusch, 1989)

Jiffy Squid trailer, Mystery Train feat. Tom Waits, Screamin' Jay Hawkins & Cinqué Lee, via YouTube (1989)

Elvis or Carl Perkins, Mystery Train feat. Masatoshi Nagase & Yûki Kudô, via YouTube (1989) - no subtitles but you get the idea, right?

Down By Law (film, dir. Jarmusch, 1986) [F04]

Sam and Martin welcome friend of the show Matthew Crosby to dig into one of Waits's most sizeable film roles, the 1986 Jim Jarmusch classic Down By Law. Immediately proving their analytic credentials by remembering at least two of the main characters' names, Matthew, Sam and Martin discuss the acting strengths (and weaknesses…?) of the three protagonists, the improvisational elements in the scripting, as well as Jarmusch's ability and willingness to film actors listening.

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

Tango Til They're Sore, Rain Dogs, Tom Waits (1985)

Down By Law trailer, via YouTube (dir. Jim Jarmusch, 1986)

Down By Law & Variety (album), John Lurie (1987/1999)

Fishing With John - Episode 2 - Tom Waits, via YouTube (1991)

Log into the Spotify web player to hear these tracks.

Night On Earth (film, dir. Jarmusch, 1991) [F09]

Song by Song welcomes back Helen Zaltzman to talk through the film that launched a podcasting power-couple, Jim Jarmusch’s 1991 taxi-based anthology Night On Earth. With some mixed feelings about the various segments, along with overall admiration for the ambition of the piece, Helen, Martin & Sam pick through the emotional connections (or lack thereof) between the characters, the sense of space, time and tone found in the chapters, and the contribution of whichever random guy wrote the music.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Good Old World (Gypsy), Night On Earth, Tom Waits (1991)

Night On Earth Trailer, via YouTube (dir. Jim Jarmusch, 1991)

Log into the Spotify web player to hear these tracks.

Night on Earth OST, Tom Waits [172-187]

It’s back to the megamix format for the second Original Soundtrack of the Waits discography, as Martin and Sam spend a minute (or so) on each of the 16 tracks from his 1991 score to Jim Jarmusch’s film Night On Earth. This time with 100% less bell.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Night On Earth (album), Tom Waits (1991)

Share And Enjoy, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (via YouTube), Douglas Adams/Peter Jones/BBC (1978)

Log into the Spotify web player to hear these tracks.

Helsinki.JPG

Helsinki is a nice place to start a cult

Photo taken in Helsinki city centre by Sam Pay, circa 12 September 2012 while on tour.

Season 13 Teaser [171a]

Lucky for some, season 13 brings us to another structural shift in the format of the podcast, as we take the opportunity to bounce off of the Night On Earth soundtrack into Waits's film appearances. Season 13 will continue to expand over the coming months and years as we add more films to this semi-complete catalogue, but for now look forward to the soundtrack, the film itself as well as a couple of other movie discussions through the beginning of 2019.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Good Old World (Gypsy), Night On Earth, Tom Waits (1991)

Log into the Spotify web player to hear these tracks.

Mailbag Episode #2

Happy New Year! 2019 brings Song by Song back to take another look through the listener mail we've received over the last year or so. Check out the show notes below for more links and details of the songs discussed.

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

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, Pieces of a Man, Gil Scott-Heron (1971)

Don't Get Around Much Anymore, The Duke: The Columbia Years, Duke Ellington (1927-1962?)

Click here for the text of the play Frank's Wild Years, courtesy of The Tom Waits Library
Beulah Land, Complete Studio Recordings, Mississippi John Hurt (2000)

Beulah Land, Avalon Blues: A Tribute to Mississippi John Hurt, Gillian Welch (2001)

Click here for the ABC network 'Take 5' interview with Tom Waits promoting Bad As Me.
Bella Ciao, Songs of Resistance 1942-2018, Marc Ribot/Tom Waits (2018)

On The Nickel, via YouTube, Puddles Pity Party (2017)

Hang On St. Christopher (demo) via YouTube

Temptation (demo) via YouTube

Please Wake Me Up (demo) via YouTube

More Than Rain (demo) via YouTube

Train Song (demo) via YouTube

Log into the Spotify web player to hear these tracks.

Big Time (film) - Big Time [171]

Having spent the last 28 episodes and 4 months looking at Big Time as a collection of songs, both on the album and in the concert film, Sam and Martin spend a little time thinking about both the film as an object in itself, and discuss the feel of this entire era of Waits's songwriting. We take a look at the interplay of ideology and narrative, the strengths and weaknesses of the reinterpretations of these songs, and ask the fundamental question of this era: How 'bout that band?

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Big Black Mariah, Big Time (film), Tom Waits (1988)
Unfortunately, we cannot find either video or audio recordings of this song to embed.

Innocent When You Dream - Big Time (film) [170]

Jeremy Warmsley returns for everyone's favourite, Tom Waits In A Bath. With discussion of the fusion of embodied and distanced performance, the post-modern nature of telling a story about stolen memories, and the slightly repetitious nature of the verses, we pick over our final track from Big Time.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Innocent When You Dream, Big Time (film), Tom Waits (1988)

Innocent When You Dream (Barroom), Franks Wild Years, Tom Waits (1987)

Innocent When You Dream (78), Franks Wild Years, Tom Waits (1987)

Log into the Spotify web player to hear these tracks.

More Than Rain - Big Time (film) [169]

Lily Sloane returns to give a more nuanced and informed assessment of Waits's repression of feelings, as we revisit the heartbreak, loss and loneliness of this song. With some discussion of his singing technique as well as the lyrical changes, we head towards the final tracks of this extended season of Song by Song.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
More Than Rain, Big Time (film), Tom Waits (1988)

More Than Rain, Franks Wild Years, Tom Waits (1987)

Log into the Spotify web player to hear these tracks.

I'll Take New York - Big Time (film) [168]

Gabriel Ebulue of The Three Track Podcast is back for more explorations into the crazed narrative of this film, as Waits's breakdown is mirrored by the breakdown of the world of the film.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
I'll Take New York, Big Time (film), Tom Waits (1988)
Unfortunately, we cannot find video of the Big Time Film version of this song, but starting at 4:47 this video includes audio of a very similar live version, but without Auld Lang Syne.

I'll Take New York, Franks Wild Years, Tom Waits (1987)

Log into the Spotify web player to hear these tracks.

9th & Hennepin - Big Time (film) [167]

Song by Song's roaming poet Ross Sutherland (of the Imaginary Advice podcast) returns to discuss the umbrella-based rooftop iteration of this terrifying dream poem. Looking at some of the logistical and emotional elements of the recording, we also embark on a soup-based metaphor for the film as a whole. It's great guys, another totally coherent bit of musical analysis.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
9th & Hennepin, Big Time (film), Tom Waits (1988)

9th & Hennepin, Rain Dogs, Tom Waits (1985)

Log into the Spotify web player to hear these tracks.

Straight To The Top - Big Time (film) [166]

Martin and Sam welcome back Gabriel Ebulue of The Three Track podcast to take another look at the horrific wedding-singer persona expressed in the live Vegas version of Straight To The Top. With cameos from other figures from the Tom Waits Players and theories about the cut-and-paste writing style in these songs, we take a fourth (and final) look at this tune.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Straight To The Top, Big Time (film), Tom Waits (1988)
Unfortunately, we cannot find video of the Big Time Film version of this song, but the first 4.40 of this video includes audio of a very similar live version, albeit without the voice-detuning.

Straight To The Top (Vegas), Franks Wild Years, Tom Waits (1987)

Log into the Spotify web player to hear these tracks.

Old Favourites - Big Time (film) [165]

Taking a deep cut into Tom Waits's back catalogue, Sam and Martin discuss his beautiful reworking of the songs we all knew and grew to love as children. C'mon.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Old Favourites, Big Time (film), Tom Waits (1988)
Unfortunately, we cannot find either video or audio recordings of this song to embed. But you'll all remember them from your childhoods, so that's fine. C'mon.

Hang On St. Christopher - Big Time (film) [164]

Back on the road with Tom Waits, Martin and Sam struggle with the sound effects breaking into the music, embrace the driving bass line in this live version and note how awful it is celebrating a birthday around actors.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Hang On St. Christopher, Big Time (film), Tom Waits (1988)

Hang On St. Christopher, Franks Wild Years, Tom Waits (1987)

Log into the Spotify web player to hear these tracks.

Shore Leave - Big Time (film) [163]

Regular Big Time contributor Philippa Spanos returns for her third visit, laying out the physical space described by Waits in the next film-only version of Shore Leave. Back "in the studio", Sam and Martin talk about the scale and strength of Waits's voice in this track, as both a singer and a screamer.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Shore Leave, Big Time (film), Tom Waits (1988)

Shore Leave, Swordfishtrombones, Tom Waits (1983)

Log into the Spotify web player to hear these tracks.

Frank's Wild Years - Big Time (film) [162]

As we dive into the first of the Big Time film-only tracks, Martin and Sam look at the imagery in the film as well as the looser feel of the lyrics in this later interpretation of the life of Frank O'Brien.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Frank's Wild Years, Big Time (film), Tom Waits (1988)
Unfortunately, we cannot find either video or audio recordings of this song to embed.
Frank's Wild Years, Swordfishtrombones, Tom Waits (1983)

Log into the Spotify web player to hear these tracks.

Time - Big Time [161]

As we reach the end of the album, Waits produces a great version of this quiet mournful tune, for once communicating the meaning and poetry of the lyrics in a clearer and more connected way. 

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Time, Big Time, Tom Waits (1988)

Time, Rain Dogs, Tom Waits (1985)

Log into the Spotify web player to hear these tracks.