Geoff and I added this song to our list today for a new project we’re cooking up. I love the underlying train rhythm that keeps it gently moving while the lyrics conjure up images of everyday life. It’s a beautiful film clip too, worth watching right to the end for two hands that meet.
Tom Waits is an incredible songwriter and I’ve been really enjoying digging into his songs of late. One of the things I love is discovering over and over that a song I know from an album I have, or a movie I’ve seen, or just because it’s being playing on the radio for years, is a Waits tune. Here’s another I unearthed tonight – I’ve been listening to it for years on a Norah Jones album but never realised Waits wrote it.
Rehearsals are wonderful. Time and space to work things out, experiment and polish. They are also a lovely opportunity to wallow in the sounds and stretch things out in a way that you can’t do in front of an audience. I just had one of the most enjoyable rehearsals I’ve had for a long time, with Geoff for Wednesday’s Tom Waits gig. I just want to keep playing all night, but will have to be content with taking those songs out in a couple of days.
Shiver Me Timbers is such a beautiful song. Digging deep into a song to learn it properly is always a fascinating process, but some songs are like medicine for my heart too. This is one of those and I’m very much looking forward to playing it at my Tom Waits gig on the 4th December.
I can’t remember how I first heard Spanish Is The Loving Tongue, but it’s one of those songs that I loved instantly. I find it intriguing that there are two versions with different opening melodies – one starts with an ascending arpeggio, the other descending; the same notes in the opposite order. My preference is for the latter, and my favourite version is this live recording of Tom Waits at Folk Arts Rare Records, San Diego in 1974. The lyrics were originally published as a poem – A Border Affair – in 1907 by Charles Badger Clark, cowboy poet, and set to music in 1925 by Billy Simon.
The funkiest bass line you’ve ever heard, keeping your ears on their toes.
A relentless drum groove, like a train heading west in the dark.
Word pictures of ordinary life in dirty parts of the country, with the unmistakeable, rhythmic delivery of Tom Waits.