I Can't Wait to Get Off Work (And See My Baby on Montgomery Avenue) - Small Change [046]

Welcome to the conclusion of Season four! Martin, Sam and Callum conclude their observations on Tom Waits’s Small Change with a look at this quiet, calmer and more accepting song, discussing the opposition raised by this track between work and art, as well as the way it puts the feel of the album as a whole in context. Thanks to all our guests; Jeffrey Cranor, Lucy Dallas and Callum Hughes, and we hope you’ll join us later in August for season five of Song by Song!

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
I Can't Wait to Get Off Work (And See My Baby on Montgomery Avenue), Small Change, Tom Waits (1976)

Frankly, Mr. Shankly, The Queen Is Dead, The Smiths (1986)

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Small Change (Got Rained on with His Own .38) - Small Change [045]

Heading into the final tracks of Small Change, Song by Song joins the bystanders watching the death of Small Change, in the title track Small Change... gets his money's worth from a phrase, that Tom Waits... This week Martin, Sam and Callum discuss some of the pejorative impact of choice of language in lyrics, as well as the relationship between improvisational virtuoso and precision storyteller.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Small Change (Got Rained on with His Own .38), Small Change, Tom Waits (1976)

Be-Bop, The Rites of Pan, Lew Tabackin (1978/2009)

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The One That Got Away - Small Change [044]

As we approach the end of Small Change, Tom Waits shifts up a gear by telling not one but eight short stories in a single song, prompting Martin, Sam and Callum to discuss the dexterity and flair of his language, the push towards and against traditional images of loss, and the traumatic life and work of Judy Garland - all in a day's work for Song by Song. 

 

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
The One That Got Away, Small Change, Tom Waits (1976)

The Man That Got Away - Live at Great American Music Hall, Mystery White Boy, Jeff Buckley (2000)

The Man That Got Away, from A Star Is Born (via YouTube), Judy Garland (1954)

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Bad Liver and a Broken Heart (In Lowell) - Small Change [043]

Song by Song returns to the bar as Tom Waits examines the state of his own internal organs, telling the story of another lost woman and another endless spiral into drunken sorrow. New guest host Callum Hughes joins Sam and Martin to discuss the finer points of 1940s cinema, the genetic predisposition of men and women's eye colour and, naturally, Callum's ability to make a daiquiri.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Bad Liver and a Broken Heart (In Lowell), Small Change, Tom Waits (1976)

Old Red Eyes Is Back, 0898 Beautiful South, The Beautiful South (1992)

Play It Sam… Play "As Time Goes By", Casablanca Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, Ingrid Bergman/Dooley Wilson/Humphrey Bogart (1997/2013)

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Pasties and a G-String - Small Change [042]

Leaving the diner of Invitation To The Blues and following Waits to a much seedier location, Sam, Martin and Lucy all stare awkwardly at the floor, handing over their singles with polite thankyous and well-dones... but nonetheless go on to debate the levels of acceptance and condemnation in Waits's narratives, the relationship between voice and rhythm and most importantly... Eggs. Again. Always Eggs.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Pasties and a G-String (At the Two O'Clock Club), Small Change, Tom Waits (1976)

Artistry In Percussion, Early Masterpieces 1941-1946, Stan Kenton (1944/2011)

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Invitation To The Blues - Small Change [041]

Eggs. No matter how far into the discography of Tom Waits Song by Song gets, we can never get away from Martin Zaltz Austwick's obsession with Eggs. Whether they're smooth and marble, over-easy or scrambled, there they are, always lurking in the background. So that's what we're talking about today. (and songwriting and Sting and intimacy and truth in performance and various other things, sure, sometimes...)

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Invitation To The Blues, Small Change, Tom Waits (1976)

Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic, Ghost In The Machine, The Police (1981)

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The Piano Has Been Drinking - Small Change [040]

The episode has come out, and it's quintessential Waits, and Sam tries to play the piano, and Martin knows the background, and Lucy thinks we're idiots, and the structure is quite good, and the jokes are pretty funny, and Les Dawson is amazing, and the recording seemed to go well, and the blogpost has been written, and the listeners are forgiving, and it's Song by Song by Song... By Song... By Song... By Song...

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me) (An Evening with Pete King), Small Change, Tom Waits (1976)

Les Dawson plays The Entertainer, via YouTube, Les Dawson (1984)

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I Wish I Was in New Orleans - Small Change [039]

Sam and Martin continue their journey through Small Change, as our latest guest host Lucy Dallas challenges the notion that authenticity and honesty is a vital part of songwriting, and whether Waits manages to do more than recapitulate a tradition of yearning for another place and time. With comparisons to Ray Charles, Louis Armstrong and ninja dwarves, there's little doubt you'll wish you were in another episode of Song by Song.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
I Wish I Was In New Orleans (In the Ninth Ward), Small Change, Tom Waits (1976)

Georgia On My Mind, The Genius Hits The Road, Ray Charles (1960)

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Jitterbug Boy - Small Change [038]

For our last episode with the delightful Jeffrey Cranor, Song by Song takes on the truth-or-lie stories of this third track on Small Change, talking about the Jitterbug Boy lying his way through the night. The truth of a person as well as the truth of a performance emerges from the discussion, touching on Jeffrey's own experiences with performance, as well as the experiences of one of the surprising heroes of 20th Century America.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Jitterbug Boy, Small Change, Tom Waits (1976)

A Talk With George, JoCo Looks Back, Jonathan Coulton (2008)

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Step Right Up - Small Change [037]

Driving up the tempo and pulling back on the production, this second track from Small Change both imitates and satirises the tone of salesman patter. Alongside discussion of advertising and art in general, Song by Song delves into Waits's relationship with commercialism, both in terms of his music as well as his vocal identity, and features the most sympathetic description of a dog this side of Frank's Wild Years.

Further reading on Waits's attitude to commercials and advertising can be found here.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Step Right Up, Small Change, Tom Waits (1976)

Butcher’s Blend Purina Advert, Tom Waits (1981)

All Things Considered, Joel Rose, NPR, May 6 2005

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Tom Traubert's Blues (Four Sheets To The Wind In Copenhagen) - Small Change [036]

Sam and Martin returns for a victorious fourth season, joined by their latest guest host Jeffrey Cranor of Welcome to Night Vale. As Waits embarks on what we consider his most successful and exciting album to date, expanding his range and tone and truly cementing his voice both sonically and lyrically, we mirror the content of the album by doing... exactly the same as we've done for the last three seasons. Stability and continuity, the most Waitsian of values. Welcome back to Song by Song!

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Tom Traubert’s Blues (Four Sheets To The Wind In Copenhagen), Small Change, Tom Waits (1976)

Fyn Er Fin, Fyn Er Fin, Lasse & Mathilde (1995)

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