Repeat Prescriptions....The Top 100 Classic Albums Of All Time that you keep coming back to!
Like doing a university course as a mature student, I am returning to my musical education and filling in the gaps. I intend to revisit The 100 Best Albums Of All Time (see them all here) as recommended by Q Magazine back when the poll was last done in 2006. Some I will know and love, some I will have skimmed and some I will not even have given time of day. This will all change when I listen to every album in full as it was intended, from 100 to 1, and choose my favourite song from each.
I have to admit I was dubious about listening to Tom Waits. It's all Old Pa's fault really, I was traumatised at a young age with the wailing and painful to listen to, Waltzing Matilda. Basically it is because of those memories that I wrote off Tom Waits completely. This is where I really appreciate this project. Having to play something I would never otherwise bother with, already happy with the opinion I set at probably aged 10, means I have to listen to it objectively and make an educated opinion. I compare it to saying you don't like mushrooms when you are a kid and find out you actually love them as an adult. Okay, maybe its going a bit too far to say I love Tom Waits, but I will certainly listen to more. What I do love about him is his talent for imagery and story telling. If he sticks to his raspy, whispery prose and leaves the wailing slow ballads behind, he has a fan in Shell Hunter for sure.
When I first put on Rain Dogs, I laughed out loud. Was this guy for real? Who bought this sort of weird music? I warmed to it quickly though as it took me far away to the back streets of New Orleans, into smokey dimly lit bars with sordid characters at every turn. The track 9th & Hennepin is the perfect example and I would have chosen this as my favourite but didn't fully consider it an actual song. Its like film noir or even like one of my favourite films Sin City with its narration and descriptions.
Jockey Full Of Bourbon was a clear highlight early on as it ticked lots of boxes for me. It showcases Tom in the way I think he is best, no wailing here! It may not sound like a circus like some of the random songs on the album but it's got a great gritty feel to it. Add to that a Calexico sounding guitar riff and I could be in the streets of Havana or Mexico City!
Shell Hunter's Seal Of Approval
Tom Waits - 'Jockey Full Of Bourbon'
4/ 5Oleh Shell Hunter