365 Days of Album Recommendations – Nov 3

Tom Waits – One From The Heart

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Technically this isn’t REALLY a Tom Waits album. It’s the soundtrack to a Francis Ford Coppola film. But it’s Waits’ music, and he performs it, and I think it this point, we can just consider it a Waits creation.

It’s a fascinating album as much for what it represents as for what it sounds like.

It’s really the bridge moment of Waits’ career; the moment where he finally leaves the barfly balladeer schtick behind, and becomes his own next wave of visionary. Heartattack & Vine somewhat telegraphed the change, but One From The Heart made it official.

Sonically, the pairing of Waits and Crystal Gayle may seem unlikely, but they’re perfect together for the narrative.

On a personal level, I’m especially partial to Old Boyfriends. I was asked to contribute a song to a Waits tribute many years ago, and I was loathe to do it, as I assumed I’d been asked simply because of perceived vocal similarities. So to get around that, and to get one up on the producers of the tribute, I took on Old Boyfriends; a) because it’s a beautiful song, and b) because while Waits wrote it, he doesn’t actually sing it—Crystal Gayle does!

Along with that song, Broken Bicycles, Little Boy Blue, and You Can’t Unring A Bell are some of the other wonderful creations to be found here.

Students of the Waits story will do well to listen to this album. Students of high-craft songwriting will learn a thing or two. And appreciators of fantastic songs performed by disparately beguiling voices will revel in the complex beauty of this album.


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