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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Frank's Wild Years - Big Time (film) [162]

As we dive into the first of the Big Time film-only tracks, Martin and Sam look at the imagery in the film as well as the looser feel of the lyrics in this later interpretation of the life of Frank O'Brien.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Frank's Wild Years, Big Time (film), Tom Waits (1988)
Unfortunately, we cannot find either video or audio recordings of this song to embed.
Frank's Wild Years, 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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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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Rainbirds - Swordfishtrombones [106]

It's the end of season nine, let's all get down and funky with some mid-20th-century experimental piano sonatas to celebrate! Købi returns for one more track to wrap up Swordfishtrombones . With some Lynchian ideas of art as well as a brief dip into John Cage's theory of musical indeterminacy, plus the ever-present question of finishing moves in Mortal Combat, Sam and Martin say goodbye to another album - we'll see you for Rain Dogs in a few weeks!

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

Sonata No. 6, Sonatas And Interludes For Prepared Piano, John Cage/Boris Berman (1946-48/2001)

Sonata No. 6, Sonatas And Interludes For Prepared Piano, John Cage/Illya Filshtinskiy (1946-48/2015)

Composer William Zeitler plays a glass armonica, invented by Benjamin Franklin in 1761, courtesy of The Toronto Star / youtube.com, 2013

… and for silly fun, Street Glass Harp Artist plays Hallelujah, via youtube.com, 2013

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Trouble's Braids - Swordfishtrombones [105]

Still on the run from the music police, Købi and Sam pull on Martin's braids (he's the one with the follicles) and slam that mother******g drum as Swordfishtrombones heads into its final two tracks. With more of Martin's hatred of jazz in our interval track and an attempt to clarify exactly what a piano is, we continue to lay down this totally authoritative analysis of the entirety of music. No no, keep your seats, you're welcome. 

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Trouble's Braids, Swordfishtrombones, Tom Waits (1983)

Seven Steps To Heaven, Seven Steps To Heaven, Miles Davis/Victor Feldman (1963)

Kofo the Wonderman performs a traditional tune at the Zinc Bar, via congahead.com / youtube.com, 2012

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Gin Soaked Boy - Swordfishtrombones [104]

Waits returns to another style we haven't heard for a few albums to fool around with the blues for a couple of minutes. As Købi, Martin and Sam discuss the guitar stylings of Fred Tackett as well as some of the technical recording choices, we head into the final few tracks of Swordfishtrombones on this week's Song by Song. 

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

In A Town Like This, In A Town Like This, Fred Tackett (2003)

In A Town Like This, Kickin' It At The Barn, Little Feat (2003)

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Soldier's Things - Swordfishtrombones [103]

Sam and Martin welcome Købi Omenaka of the Flixwatcher podcast to listen to another story of the broken-hearted side of military service. We discuss Paul Young's cover of this track, the details within the lyrics and possibly even its function as a microcosm of Waits's songwriting style and ideology... yeah, that's right, digging deep this week on Song by Song!

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Soldier's Things, Swordfishtrombones, Tom Waits (1983)

Soldier's Things, The Secret Of Association, Paul Young, (1985)

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Down, Down, Down - Swordfishtrombones [102]

Martin and Sam return for another slice of Swordfishtrombones, as Waits grabs his bible and gives it a good thump. Links to blues performers of the 20s and how seriously we should take Tom's threats of fire and brimstone all feature, plus... the return of the grand unified egg theory of musical accessibility.

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

It's Nobody's Fault But Mine, It's Nobody's Fault But Mine - The Best Of, Blind Willie Johnson (1925/2010)

Nobody's Fault But Mine, Nina Simone & Piano, Nina Simone (1969)

Nobody's Fault But Mine, Presence, Led Zeppelin (1976)

The Soul Of A Man, God Don't Never Change: The Songs Of Blind Willie Johnson, Tom Waits/Blind Willie Johnson (2016)

John The RevelatorGod Don't Never Change: The Songs Of Blind Willie Johnson, Tom Waits/Blind Willie Johnson (2016)

Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground, God Don't Never Change: The Songs Of Blind Willie Johnson, Rickie Lee Jones/Blind Willie Johnson (2016)

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Swordfishtrombone - Swordfishtrombones [101]

With nary a George Orwell reference in sight, Martin and Sam delve deep into textual interpretation of both this Waits track as well as a classic Dylan protest song. Whether Waits is writing about the personal or the political, as well as the variety of vocal styles at his disposal, all this and more makes up the discussion on this week's Song by Song. 

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

A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, Bob Dylan (1963)

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Frank's Wild Years - Swordfishtrombones [100]

Welcome back to Song by Song for this, our 87th episode! 

(Except we did one episode for the film One From The Heart, and one more for all the songs on that soundtrack, and I think there's 4 teaser episodes, but they don't count, but the other two do, and it's our show so we're calling it 100, that's some large-print/small-print shit right there, get away from me kid, you bother me...)

Anyway... we're talking about Frank's Wild Years. Thanks for listening. 

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Frank's Wild Years, Swordfishtrombones, Tom Waits (1983)

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Just Another Sucker On The Vine - Swordfishtrombones [099]

For their last discussion with Jo Neary, Martin and Sam try to untangle some of the questions that arise from this latest track. With debate relating to its placement on the album, Waits's interest in keyboard sounds and technology of the past and some comparison with the much more forward-looking Herbie Hancock, Song by Song continues through Swordfishtrombones. 

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Just Another Sucker On The Vine, Swordfishtrombones, Tom Waits (1983)

Rocket, Future Shock, Herbie Hancock (1983)

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In The Neighbourhood - Swordfishtrombones [098]

As Song by Song continues through Swordfishtrombones, we encounter one of the strange outliers in Waits's writing career in this celebration of small-town mundanity. As the tangents to our conversations come thick and fast, we discuss the parochial outlook of Colin Moulding, the heartwarming perspective of Mr Rogers, the bleak opinions of Cyril Connolly (who is the real writer of the "There is no more sombre enemy of good art than the pram in the hall" quote) and everything in-between. Variety. You're welcome.

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

Bungalow, Nonsuch, XTC (1992)

In The Neighbourhood, Music video via Vimeo, Tom Waits/Haskell Wexler (1983)

Mr Roger's Neighbourhood Theme Song, via YouTube

Mr Rogers Explained to Modern Kids, Buzzfeed Celeb, via YouTube (2014)

Fred Rogers Emmy Acceptance Speech, via YouTube (1997)

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Town With No Cheer - Swordfishtrombones [097]

This week sees us head across to Australasia/Oceanica to discuss outsider and insider perspectives of small-town Australia. Jo Neary is back to talk about gigs she's attended, paintings of photos she's seen and the outfits of Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg. Meanwhile, Martin's continues his sub-project to infuriate all of our listeners this week by (gently) suggesting that Nick Cave is overrated. Fury all around this week on Song by Song!

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Town With No Cheer, Swordfishtrombones, Tom Waits (1983)

There Is A Town, Nocturama, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds (2003)

A Pub With No Beer, Single, Slim Dusty (1979/2007)

Tom Waits on David Letterman, The Late Show (2013)

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16 Shells From A Thirty-Ought-Six - Swordfishtrombones [096]

We go into this week's track mob-handed and ready to rumble; Waits has his rifle, Martin has his (musical) axe, Jo Neary has Excalibur and Sam… has a trapped nerve in his neck, might sit this one out actually… We spend this week talking about the weirdness of the world created in this song, the much stranger world of Captain Beefheart, improvisation in comedy and music, and what Waits might be shooting at with those 16 shells.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
16 Shells From A Thirty-Ought Six, Swordfishtrombones, Tom Waits (1983)

Ice Cream For Crow, Ice Cream For Crow, Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band (1982)

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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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