Way Down In The Hole - Big Time [150]

Episode 150! We made it! … if by "it", you mean a round number of episodes, and if by "we" you mean Sam, Martin and returning guest Lily Sloane. In this landmark episode we go back to talk about Way Down In The Hole for the 7th (8th?) and final time, discussing again question of the appropriation of black culture, the use of money in the language of Waits's preacher character, and Lily's random Tom Waits sightings.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Way Down In The Hole, Big Time, Tom Waits (1988)

Way Down In The Hole, Franks Wild Years, Tom Waits (1987)

Way Down In The Hole, Spirit Of The Century, Blind Boys Of Alabama (2002)

Way Down In The Hole, "...and all the pieces matter..." - The Music of The Wire, The Neville Brothers (2008)

Way Down In The Hole, "...and all the pieces matter..." - The Music of The Wire, DoMaJe (2008)

Way Down In The Hole, Washington Square Serenade, Steve Earle (2007)

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Yesterday Is Here - Big Time [149]

Live and in-person, Martin and Sam welcome back Helen Sadler to discuss the general feel of live albums vs studio equivalents, and the presentation of music to different audiences simultaneously.

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

Yesterday Is Here, Franks Wild Years, Tom Waits (1987)

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Straight To The Top - Big Time [148]

Looking back to the Rhumba version of this track from Franks Wild Years, Sam and Martin feel their way through an excellent version of a song that has little appeal for either of them. We also discuss some of the physicality of Waits's live performance, and how that informs the performance.

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

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

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Cold Cold Ground - Big Time [147]

Lacking a guest this episode, Martin and Sam debate similarities and differences between the live and studio versions, including some of the musical effects of changing counts, back-singing of phrases, and how these techniques help reinterpret songs.

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

Cold Cold Ground, Franks Wild Years, Tom Waits (1987)

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Underground - Big Time [146]

Philippa Spanos, our first guest from Swordfishtrombones, takes another look at Underground on Big Time, which seems to be her preferred upbeat bouncy party version. Back in the Song by Song bunker, Sam and Martin compare Disney animated corollaries, note the disparity of material and the similarity of tone on this live album, and how meaning is retained slightly better on this third track.

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

Underground, Swordfishtrombones, Tom Waits (1983)

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Red Shoes - Big Time [145]

From her discussion with us back on Blue Valentine, we welcome back special correspondent Elizabeth Sankey to discuss the process of reinterpretation and translation of songs from studio-to-live settings. Meanwhile, elsewhere in Song by Song Towers, Martin and Sam talk about the textural shift in performances, more loss of meaning in the storytelling, as well as the brilliance of the Big Time band.

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

Red Shoes by the Drugstore, Blue Valentine, Tom Waits (1978)

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16 Shells From A Thirty-Ought-Six - Big Time [144]

Roving reporter Jo Neary returns to Song by Song to revisit this track from Swordfishtrombones… and to apologise for her own presence. Meanwhile back in the studio Sam and Martin look at the similarities between this live performance and the original, the lack of priority given to the lyrics, and the shift in recording quality in this album.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
16 Shells From A Thirty-Ought-Six, Big Time, Tom Waits (1988)

16 Shells From A Thirty-Ought-Six, Swordfishtrombones, Tom Waits (1983)

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Big Time Introduction - Big Time [143a]

Thanks for coming everyone - you all got a coffee, great, there's plenty more chairs up here at the front, don't be shy. Ok, welcome to Song by Song season twelve, Big Time album and film, parish notices first I think… As we embark on another (slightly) contracted season covering this 1988 live release, there are a few details to explain about how we're going about things this time around, so if you could all pay attention we'll get out of here nice and quick.

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

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Innocent When You Dream (78) - Franks Wild Years [143]

After seventeen tracks, we reach the end of Franks Wild Years with this scratchy demo-style version of Innocent When You Dream. We discuss the album as a whole, some of the recording techniques used here, as well as the narrative of the show in relation to the drama of American identity as well as his own life. And Sam gets a bit emotional about 1980s Scottish cinema.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Innocent When You Dream (78), Franks Wild Years, Tom Waits (1987)

(and to make Sam cry again…)
Final scene of Local Hero, w/dir. Bill Forsythe (1983)

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Train Song - Franks Wild Years [142]

Sam and Martin return for the penultimate track of Franks Wild Years, to debate the refining of the Tom-Waits-Saying-Goodbye-And-Catching-A-Train song. We talk about the sense of conclusion to Frank's story (or stories), the departure and the collapse of the dream he's seeking throughout this album, and Waits reaching again for older traditions of songwriting.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Train Song, Franks Wild Years, Tom Waits (1987)

The Cold Icy Floor, Archive Recording, The Bogtrotter Band (1937)

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Cold Cold Ground - Franks Wild Years [141]

Waits begins to step away from Frank and the relationship of the songs to the play, as Martin and Sam discuss the tense nature of the music on this album, the simplicity of this song compared to the arrangement of others on Franks Wild Years, and the political and social charge that land (and what lurks beneath) can have.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Cold Cold Ground, Franks Wild Years, Tom Waits (1987)

Down Under, Mining, Rivona, Dear Reader (2013)

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Telephone Call From Istanbul - Franks Wild Years [140]

Heading into the closing tracks of Franks Wild Years, Sam and Martin debate the change of locations in Waits's songwriting from this era, scrunchy chords in relation to atonality, and the relationship of intention & accident in art. Also, a small dog finding the World Cup.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Telephone Call From Istanbul, Franks Wild Years, Tom Waits (1987)

Istanbul (Not Constantinople), 16 Most Requested Songs, The Four Lads (1953)

Istanbul (Not Constantinople), Flood, They Might Be Giants (1991)

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I’ll Take New York - Franks Wild Years [139]

Gabriel Ebulue returns for a second portion of Tom Waits doing his crazy lounge singer schtick. This week’s discussion includes atonal organ arrangements, the trajectory of depression in pop songs, and the lonely death of Frank O’Brien. 

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
I’ll Take New York, Franks Wild Years, Tom Waits (1987)

Here, Working For The Man, Tindersticks (2004)

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Straight To The Top (Vegas) - Franks Wild Years [138]

Song by Song welcomes fellow music enthusiast Gabriel Ebulue from The Three Track Podcast to discuss the second version of this track, as it relates to Sinatra, Jaques Brel, and your crazy uncle at a wedding. 

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Straight To The Top (Vegas), Franks Wild Years, Tom Waits (1987)

Jacky, Tenement Symphony, Marc Almond (1991)

La chanson de Jacky, Ces Gens-Là, Jacques Brel (1966)

La chanson de Jacky, Book Of Souls: Folio A, Secret Chiefs 3/The Traditionalists/Mike Patton (2013)

Tainted Love (Single), Gloria Jones (1965)

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Wire Stripped Special on Way Down In The Hole - Franks Wild Years [137 - rebroadcast]

We re-present (this time in the correct context) our special episode with Kobi Omenaka, discussing the use of Way Down In The Hole in the opening credits of the TV show The Wire. Kobi and his co-host Dave Corkery have launched their new show The Wire Stripped, so conversation ranges from the musical styles and influences of the covers into the content of the seasons themselves, and how the credits music informs and echoes that content.
 

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Way Down In The Hole, Frank's Wild Years, Tom Waits (1987)

Way Down In The Hole, Spirit Of The Century, Blind Boys Of Alabama (2002)

Way Down In The Hole, "...and all the pieces matter..." - The Music of The Wire, The Neville Brothers (2008)

Way Down In The Hole, "...and all the pieces matter..." - The Music of The Wire, DoMaJe (2008)

Way Down In The Hole, Washington Square Serenade, Steve Earle (2007)

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Way Down In The Hole - Franks Wild Years [136]

Lily Sloane returns for one more Franks Wild Years track, debating Waits’s attitude towards religion, how the track relates to the rest of the album, and the presence of joy in music. 

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Way Down In The Hole, Franks Wild Years, Tom Waits (1987)

Oh Happy Day, The Best of the Edwin Hawkins Singers, The Edwin Hawkins Singers (1967/2001)

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More Than Rain - Franks Wild Years [135]

Existential crises galore, or just a really bad hangover, as Lily, Sam and Martin attempt to catch the bouquet of Waits's mournful gallic ditty. Accordion tuning, a keyboard called Leslie and a slightly unfair comparison to one of the great Jazz numbers of the 20th Century all feature this week on Song by Song.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
More Than Rain, Franks Wild Years, Tom Waits (1987)

Alabama, Live At Birdland, John Coltrane (1964)

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Franks Theme - Franks Wild Years [134]

Song by Song reaches the halfway point of Franks Wild Years with Frank's Theme (apostrophe intact), as Martin and Sam are joined by the host of A Therapist Walks Into A Bar Lily Sloane for discussions of the fantasy and reality surrounding this track. Through some (slightly tangential) discussions of the nostalgia-tinged bleakness of Ivor Cutler, we debate the interactions of dreams and grey skies, the imaginative and the mundane, as well as the sale of root vegetables.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Franks Theme, Franks Wild Years, Tom Waits (1987)

Life In A Scotch Sittingroom #2 Episode 11, Jammy Smears, Ivor Cutler (1976)

Frank's Theme, Temptation, Holly Cole (1995)

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Please Wake Me Up - Franks Wild Years [133]

More dream talk with Helen, Sam and Martin, as Waits constructs an unsettled and dislocated musical world to capture the sense of space between waking and sleeping. We also discuss the impact of sound (and film) on big systems vs headphones, as well as terrifying clown music and the vocal brilliance of Mike Patton.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Please Wake Me Up, Franks Wild Years, Tom Waits (1987)

Carousel, Mr. Bungle, Mr. Bungle (1991)

Please Wake Me Up (demo), Franks Wild Years outtake, Tom Waits (1987?)

Mulligan and O'Hare - Tittybiscuits, The Smell Of Reeves & Mortimer, (1993/1994/1995)

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Yesterday Is Here - Franks Wild Years [132]

More from Franks Wild Years, as Helen, Martin and Sam explore some of the sad history evoked by Waits in this echoey guitar-led ballad. Connecting this track to one of the touchstones of 20th Century pop music as well as the hosts' personal connection to our interval track, Song by Song engages not just with our two tracks this week, but also with how the context of the past colours how we view music today.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Yesterday Is Here, Franks Wild Years, Tom Waits (1987)

Yesterday, Help, The Beatles (1965)

The Grand Massacre, Once Upon A Time In The West Soundtrack, Ennio Morricone (1968)

Rebel Rouser, The Best of Duane Eddy, Duane Eddy (1965)

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