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)

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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)

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Gun Street Girl - Big Time [160]

Sam and Martin head into the final tracks of the Big Time album struggling with the energy of this version of Gun Street Girl, as well as questioning the purpose of a narrative song that seems to be uninterested in its own narrative. 

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

Gun Street Girl, Rain Dogs, Tom Waits (1985)

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Clap Hands - Big Time [159]

Helen Zaltzman returns to take another listen to this track from Rain Dogs, now with 100% more terrifying childcatcher. More deprioritised lyrics here, and as Waits works more to enhance the sinister feel of the song, we discuss some of its limitations as a piece of writing.

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

Clap Hands, Rain Dogs, Tom Waits (1985)

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Rain Dogs - Big Time [154]

Slightly blown away by this reinterpretation of Waits's mid-80s classic, Martin and Sam join in by celebrating this eastern-Europe/klezmer dance number. We also take some more time to discuss sticking to or pulling away from the strict rhythm of the lyrics, and the shape and meaning of words vs the aesthetic of vocal sound.

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

Rain Dogs, Rain Dogs, Tom Waits (1985)

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Big Black Mariah - Big Time [153]

Our man-on-the-street Eric Molinsky returns to revisit Big Black Mariah, talking about lyric comprehension and the quality of Waits's voice in relation to bed frames and animated characters.

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

Big Black Mariah, Rain Dogs, Tom Waits (1985)

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Anywhere I Lay My Head - Rain Dogs [125]

Rounding the post and finishing off season 10, Sam and Martin take stock of how we've spent the last 20-odd weeks, where Waits has taken us on this meandering journey through Rain Dogs, as well as some of the more personal resonances that Anywhere I Lay My Head has. Plus, in the wake of the passing of Ralph Carney, we pay tribute to some of his achievements.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Anywhere I Lay My Head, Rain Dogs, Tom Waits (1985)

BoJacks Theme, BoJack Horseman (Music from the Netflix Original Series), Patrick Carney/Ralph Carney (2017)

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Bride of Rain Dog (instrumental) - Rain Dogs [124]

We lean back into the strange this week, as Waits returns to another instrumental oddity, apparently designed to underscore Ross Sutherland's new career as an egg-disappearing clown. Is this piece designed as a counterpoint to Rain Dogs itself, or an allusion to the Bride of Frankenstein film, or just a bit of odd noise to make the album as strange as possible?

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

Downtown Train music video, Rain Dogs, Tom Waits (via YouTube) (1985)

Gevurah, Bar Kokhba, John Zorn (1996)

At 60, 'Challenges Are Opportunities' For John Zorn, Interview with Terry Gross for Fresh Air, NPR (2013)

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Downtown Train - Rain Dogs [123]

Back with Heath and Robert Sledge for Waits at his most earnest, in this pop ballad charmer. From the murderers row of musicians assembled, questions as to whether this is heartfelt or ironic and other “trainey” songs - it’s all here on this week’s Song by Song. 

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

Downtown Train music video, Rain Dogs, Tom Waits (via YouTube) (1985)

Night Mail, Poem from GPO Film Unit documentary “Night Mail”, W.H. Auden/Benjamin Britten (1936)

Night Mail, Anthology of English Verse vol 2, W.H. Auden/John Laurie (1936/1961)

Night Mail, GPO Film Unit documentary (via YouTube) (1936)

Downtown Train, If We Fall In Love Tonight, Rod Stewart (1996)

Downtown Train, The Language Of Life, Everything But The Girl (1990)

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Walking Spanish - Rain Dogs [122]

Our third track with Phoebe Judge and Lauren Spohrer on Rain Dogs brings us to Waits’s paean to death row and an examination of our attitudes towards the incarcerated. We get to cover some more heartfelt religious allusions by Waits, as well as our tattoo histories and the intersection of hip-hop/trip-hop/brit-pop.

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

Black Steel, Maxinquaye, Tricky (1995)

Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos, It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back, Public Enemy (1988)

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Blind Love - Rain Dogs [121]

We welcome Heath and Robert Sledge to Song by Song for another Waits genre experiment, this time taking a detour from Rain Dogs’ New York location into a country and western style. This week we’re focussing on the influence of Keith Richards and the Rolling Stones on this album (and others), as well as some discussion around how far Waits is able to move into new musical and lyrical worlds.

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

I Just Want To See His Face, Exile On Main Street, The Rolling Stones (1972)

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Union Square - Rain Dogs [120]

Back with Ross Sutherland, Sam and Martin talk about one of the most New York-centric tracks on this NY-themed album, with conversation on the speed of music as compared to its drive and pace, the presentation of underground culture in mainstream(ish) music, as well as the eccentricities of Lou Reed's dealer's wardrobe.

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

I'm Waiting For The Man, The Velvet Underground and Nico, The Velvet Underground (1967)

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Gun Street Girl - Rain Dogs [119]

Waits wanders back into the world of the criminal with this cautionary tale of life on the run. And who better to talk about what is Criminal than our guests from a fortnight ago Phoebe and Lauren. Avoiding any more discussion of freeform jazz concertos, Song by Song discusses some of the history of the Murder Ballad, the educational/control value of these stories, as well as continuing to catalogue which of Tom Waits songs you can dance to. (Spoiler: the "can't" list is a lot longer than the "can"…) 

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

Stack O’Lee, American Epic: Mississippi John Hurt, Mississippi John Hurt (1928/2017)

Stagger Lee, Murder Ballads, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds (1996)

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9th & Hennepin - Rain Dogs [118]

Song by Song welcomes our latest guest host, Ross Sutherland of the Imaginary Advice podcast, to discuss some of the dense language in both this latest track from Rain Dogs as well as the very different Americana stylings of poet David Berman. Discussion ranges from the experience found in the process of creation, the distance that Waits creates in his writing perspectives and the value of a canned mojito on the night train back to Peterborough.

Please note that the text of the Berman poems can be found in the YouTube description linked below.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
9th & Hennepin, Rain Dogs, Tom Waits (1985)

"Governors On Sominex" & "My Life at Home During Banking Hours", Actual Air, David Berman (1999)

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Midtown (instrumental) - Rain Dogs [117]

Song by Song welcomes a rotating roster of guests for the second half of Rain Dogs, beginning this week with Lauren Spohrer and Phoebe Judge of the Criminal podcast. With some definite differences of opinion (or even ideology) on this instrumental track (as well as the whole genre of Jazz in general), Song by Song debates whether experiencing the process of the creation of art (and entertainment) is a valid or pleasurable thing, or whether we should all just get our teeth drilled instead.

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

Rhapsody In Blue, George Gershwin/dir. Michael Tilson Thomas (1985)

Rhapsody In Blue, George Gershwin/dir. Leonard Bernstein (1959)

Rhapsody In Blue, George Gershwin original recording (1924)

Rhapsody In Blue, George Gershwin from Fantasia 2000 (2000)

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Rain Dogs - Rain Dogs [116]

We’ve reached another of the standout moments in Waits’s chronology with the title track of Rain Dogs. Jon, Martin and Sam discuss some of the stylistic influences on Waits from older traditions, the reality and fantasy elements in this song (and others), and a return to the perennial debate around authenticity. Plus the usual diversions into the role of small people in dreams, beauty contests in Irish sitcoms and the always looming presence of David Lynch. Of course...

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

Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet - 5. Tramp and Tom Waits with full Orchestra, Bryars - Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet, Gavin Bryars/Tom Waits (1971/1993)

Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet - 1. Tramp with full Orchestra, Bryars - Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet, Gavin Bryars (1971/1993)

Notes on the recording of Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet - written for John Potter, from www.gavinbryars.com (retrieved 20/12/17)

Peter Dinklage's Dwarf Rant (Living in Oblivion, 1995)

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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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