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)

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Johnsburg, Illinois - Big Time [156]

Cub reporter Philippa Spanos returns to revisit another Swordfishtrombones track, the tender ballad for his wife Kathleen, now with added concluding harmony! Back at the SbS ranch, Martin and Sam think about Waits's vocal shift upwards, theorise about Brennan's attitude to his sentimentality, and again consider the space between the performer and a silent (and attentive) live audience.

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

Johnsburg, Illinois, Swordfishtrombones, Tom Waits (1983)

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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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Johnsburg, Illinois - Swordfishtrombones [095]

Back one more time with Philippa Spanos, we delve again into Waits directly writing about Kathleen Brennan, as well as the way that this track reaches back to the songwriting techniques of his earlier albums. With a sense of loss pervading both this track as well as our interval, Song by Song continues its journey through Swordfishtrombones.

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

Chelsea Hotel #2, New Skin For The Old Ceremony, Leonard Cohen (1974)

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Dave The Butcher - Swordfishtrombones [094]

Three tracks in and we're already deep in the weeds with season 9 of Song by Song, picking through the nature of this odd intense instrumental both in terms of the meaning of the title as well as the musical choices Waits makes. We get into industrial music as well as musique concrète, as well as some of the politics of the humble bacon sandwich on this latest track from Swordfishtrombones.

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

December, One Pig, Matthew Herbert (2011)

Matthew Herbert discusses the process of creating One Pig (video link)
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Shore Leave - Swordfishtrombones [093]

As their unmanageable egos run rampant, Sam and Martin return with Philippa to discuss the musical soundscape created in this second track from Swordfishtrombones. There are some strange choices in terms of instruments (and furniture) on this song, as well as a direct comparison not only of the song and a later cover, but of Waits's own opinion of the song as well.

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

Shore Leave, Wicked Grin, John Hammond (2001)


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Underground - Swordfishtrombones [092]

After taking a more cursory approach last season for One From The Heart, Song by Song rolls up its sleeves (between four and eight sleeves usually, six this week) to return to a more in-depth analysis of the music of Tom Waits, beginning season 9 with the opening track of Swordfishtrombones, Underground. Philippa Spanos joins Sam and Martin to debate the instrumentation and lyrical content of the song, as well as David Bowie's ball-manipulation technique and goblins. All the goblins.

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

Subbacultcha, Trompe Le Monde, The Pixies (1991)

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