Night On Earth (film, dir. Jarmusch, 1991) [F09]

Song by Song welcomes back Helen Zaltzman to talk through the film that launched a podcasting power-couple, Jim Jarmusch’s 1991 taxi-based anthology Night On Earth. With some mixed feelings about the various segments, along with overall admiration for the ambition of the piece, Helen, Martin & Sam pick through the emotional connections (or lack thereof) between the characters, the sense of space, time and tone found in the chapters, and the contribution of whichever random guy wrote the music.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Good Old World (Gypsy), Night On Earth, Tom Waits (1991)

Night On Earth Trailer, via YouTube (dir. Jim Jarmusch, 1991)

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Night on Earth OST, Tom Waits [172-187]

It’s back to the megamix format for the second Original Soundtrack of the Waits discography, as Martin and Sam spend a minute (or so) on each of the 16 tracks from his 1991 score to Jim Jarmusch’s film Night On Earth. This time with 100% less bell.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Night On Earth (album), Tom Waits (1991)

Share And Enjoy, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (via YouTube), Douglas Adams/Peter Jones/BBC (1978)

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Helsinki.JPG

Helsinki is a nice place to start a cult

Photo taken in Helsinki city centre by Sam Pay, circa 12 September 2012 while on tour.

Season 13 Teaser [171a]

Lucky for some, season 13 brings us to another structural shift in the format of the podcast, as we take the opportunity to bounce off of the Night On Earth soundtrack into Waits's film appearances. Season 13 will continue to expand over the coming months and years as we add more films to this semi-complete catalogue, but for now look forward to the soundtrack, the film itself as well as a couple of other movie discussions through the beginning of 2019.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Good Old World (Gypsy), Night On Earth, Tom Waits (1991)

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Mailbag Episode #2

Happy New Year! 2019 brings Song by Song back to take another look through the listener mail we've received over the last year or so. Check out the show notes below for more links and details of the songs discussed.

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

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, Pieces of a Man, Gil Scott-Heron (1971)

Don't Get Around Much Anymore, The Duke: The Columbia Years, Duke Ellington (1927-1962?)

Click here for the text of the play Frank's Wild Years, courtesy of The Tom Waits Library
Beulah Land, Complete Studio Recordings, Mississippi John Hurt (2000)

Beulah Land, Avalon Blues: A Tribute to Mississippi John Hurt, Gillian Welch (2001)

Click here for the ABC network 'Take 5' interview with Tom Waits promoting Bad As Me.
Bella Ciao, Songs of Resistance 1942-2018, Marc Ribot/Tom Waits (2018)

On The Nickel, via YouTube, Puddles Pity Party (2017)

Hang On St. Christopher (demo) via YouTube

Temptation (demo) via YouTube

Please Wake Me Up (demo) via YouTube

More Than Rain (demo) via YouTube

Train Song (demo) via YouTube

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Big Time (film) - Big Time [171]

Having spent the last 28 episodes and 4 months looking at Big Time as a collection of songs, both on the album and in the concert film, Sam and Martin spend a little time thinking about both the film as an object in itself, and discuss the feel of this entire era of Waits's songwriting. We take a look at the interplay of ideology and narrative, the strengths and weaknesses of the reinterpretations of these songs, and ask the fundamental question of this era: How 'bout that band?

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Big Black Mariah, Big Time (film), Tom Waits (1988)
Unfortunately, we cannot find either video or audio recordings of this song to embed.

Innocent When You Dream - Big Time (film) [170]

Jeremy Warmsley returns for everyone's favourite, Tom Waits In A Bath. With discussion of the fusion of embodied and distanced performance, the post-modern nature of telling a story about stolen memories, and the slightly repetitious nature of the verses, we pick over our final track from Big Time.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Innocent When You Dream, Big Time (film), Tom Waits (1988)

Innocent When You Dream (Barroom), Franks Wild Years, Tom Waits (1987)

Innocent When You Dream (78), Franks Wild Years, Tom Waits (1987)

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More Than Rain - Big Time (film) [169]

Lily Sloane returns to give a more nuanced and informed assessment of Waits's repression of feelings, as we revisit the heartbreak, loss and loneliness of this song. With some discussion of his singing technique as well as the lyrical changes, we head towards the final tracks of this extended season of Song by Song.

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

More Than Rain, Franks Wild Years, Tom Waits (1987)

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I'll Take New York - Big Time (film) [168]

Gabriel Ebulue of The Three Track Podcast is back for more explorations into the crazed narrative of this film, as Waits's breakdown is mirrored by the breakdown of the world of the film.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
I'll Take New York, Big Time (film), Tom Waits (1988)
Unfortunately, we cannot find video of the Big Time Film version of this song, but starting at 4:47 this video includes audio of a very similar live version, but without Auld Lang Syne.

I'll Take New York, Franks Wild Years, Tom Waits (1987)

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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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Straight To The Top - Big Time (film) [166]

Martin and Sam welcome back Gabriel Ebulue of The Three Track podcast to take another look at the horrific wedding-singer persona expressed in the live Vegas version of Straight To The Top. With cameos from other figures from the Tom Waits Players and theories about the cut-and-paste writing style in these songs, we take a fourth (and final) look at this tune.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Straight To The Top, Big Time (film), Tom Waits (1988)
Unfortunately, we cannot find video of the Big Time Film version of this song, but the first 4.40 of this video includes audio of a very similar live version, albeit without the voice-detuning.

Straight To The Top (Vegas), Franks Wild Years, Tom Waits (1987)

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Old Favourites - Big Time (film) [165]

Taking a deep cut into Tom Waits's back catalogue, Sam and Martin discuss his beautiful reworking of the songs we all knew and grew to love as children. C'mon.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Old Favourites, Big Time (film), Tom Waits (1988)
Unfortunately, we cannot find either video or audio recordings of this song to embed. But you'll all remember them from your childhoods, so that's fine. C'mon.

Hang On St. Christopher - Big Time (film) [164]

Back on the road with Tom Waits, Martin and Sam struggle with the sound effects breaking into the music, embrace the driving bass line in this live version and note how awful it is celebrating a birthday around actors.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Hang On St. Christopher, Big Time (film), Tom Waits (1988)

Hang On St. Christopher, Franks Wild Years, Tom Waits (1987)

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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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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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Telephone Call From Istanbul - Big Time [158]

Having already cited it as a strong reinterpretation several times throughout this season, Martin and Sam celebrate this party version of Waits’s weird telephone call.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Telephone Call From Istanbul, Big Time, Tom Waits (1988)

Telephone Call From Istanbul, Franks Wild Years, Tom Waits (1987)

Chantilly Lace, Chantilly Lace, The Big Bopper (1958)

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Ruby's Arms - Big Time [157]

Returning from Heartattack & Vine, Vera Chok delivers her report for this live version of Ruby’s arms, angry at the recapitulation of the disconnected dismissive attitude Waits has towards Ruby. Meanwhile Martin struggles with the cognitive dissonance of critical analysis and Sam disses Ribot’s horn.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Ruby's Arms, Big Time, Tom Waits (1988)

Ruby's Arms, Heartattack & Vine, Tom Waits (1980)

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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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