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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Season's end for Blue Valentine

For those who prefer to binge-listen to their content, a final summing-up of our latest season of Song by Song on Tom Waits. With Caspar Salmon, Elizabeth Sankey, Jen Adamthwaite, Dave Pickering and Kit Lovelace in tow, Sam and Martin have ploughed their way through not just the 10 tracks from Blue Valentine, but also two contemporaneous(ish) Waits songs: Annie's Back In Town & Rainbow Sleeves.

We're at a turning point, arguably the first or second of Waits's career, but over the last couple of albums we've seen the writing on the wall. Waits is beginning to experiment more boldly with style, arrangement and theme, as well as in his own vocal performance. Many fans will anticipate the beginning of the 80s with Heartattack and Vine as being a major shift in his style and outlook, and we're looking forward to considering this in the coming episodes.

So, for those who want to prepare fully, find below a full playlist of all of our season six episodes, as well as Spotify and YouTube links to all the songs we're discussing. And, if you've missed out on any episodes or tracks from previous series, everything is ready and waiting to play at the bottom of the Closing Time, The Heart of Saturday Night, Nighthawks at the Diner, Small Change and Foreign Affairs pages at songbysongpodcast.com

Thanks for listening, we'll see you very soon for season seven.



St. James Hospital, Traditional, Benjamin Luxon (via YouTube)

Annie’s Back In Town, Paradise Alley OST, Tom Waits (1978)

(Meet Me In) Paradise Alley, Paradise Alley OST, Tom Waits (1978)

Paradise Alley, dir. Sylvester Stallone (1978)

Romeo Is Bleeding - Blue Valentine [059]

For the final week of Elizabeth and Caspar's hosting of Song by Song, we hear Tom Waits describe the blood-soaked story of Romeo's death as well as Johnny Cash's  version of a cowboy's funeral march through the Streets of Laredo. As Blue Valentine reaches its mid-point, echoes and resonances start to make themselves known through the album, and the variety of musical styles becomes more and more evident. So... y'know, that's what we talk about.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Romeo Is Bleeding, Blue Valentine, Tom Waits (1978)

The Streets Of Laredo, American IV: The Man Comes Around, Johnny Cash (2002)

St. James Hospital, Traditional, Benjamin Luxon (via YouTube)

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Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis - Blue Valentine [058]

This week in Song by Song, Martin, Sam, Elizabeth and Caspar take another trip down memory lane, hearing the life and times of a lady from Minneapolis laid out, difficulties and all. While there may be some debate over the efficacy of the twist at the end of the story, the discussion ranges from the elegance of the music, the need for structure in songwriting and the value of language as communication compared to texture.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis, Blue Valentine, Tom Waits (1978)

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Red Shoes by the Drugstore - Blue Valentine [057]

And the conversation started so well... this week on Song by Song, Martin, Sam, Caspar and Elizabeth begin by debating the new musical arrangement that arrives in Red Shoes By The Drugstore, the second track from Blue Valentine, before swiftly getting derailed by rants about David Bowie, the loss of religion, Harrison Ford's sexiest screen performances (in or out of a bathroom) and Elizabeth's sax addiction. I think we broke the format on this one guys...

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Red Shoes by the Drugstore, Blue Valentine, Tom Waits (1978)

Love Theme - from Blade Runner, Blade Runner, Vangelis (1982/1994)

Let’s Dance, Let’s Dance, David Bowie (1983)

The Ballet of the Red Shoes, from The Red Shoes (Powell and Pressburger, 1948)

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Somewhere (from West Side Story) - Blue Valentine [056]

We're back! Sam and Martin return for another album from the Tom Waits back-catalogue, this season listening to and discussing his sixth release Blue Valentine. Joining us for the first tracks are Elizabeth Sankey and Caspar Salmon from the Highbrow Lowbrow podcast, discussing the many different levels of the song Somewhere (from West Side Story), the performance styles of both Waits and the original productions, and... potatoes. Another classic metaphor for music, only available from Song by Song.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Somewhere (from West Side Story), Blue Valentine, Tom Waits (1978)

Somewhere, West Side Story Motion Picture Soundtrack, Jim Bryant & Marni Nixon [w. Leonard Bernstein & Stephen Sondheim] (1961)

Somewhere (Ballet), West Side Story (Original Broadway Production), Max Goberman & West Side Story Ensemble [w. Leonard Bernstein & Stephen Sondheim] (1957)

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