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The Black Rider (1993 Studio Cast) Cast Recording

56 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Cast Recording, November 2, 1993
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The Black Rider (1993 Studio Cast) + Bone Machine + Frank's Wild Years
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

20 tracks from the barfly poet including Lucky Day, Flash Pan Hunter; Crossroads; Gospel Train; Oily Night; The Last Rose of Summer; Carnival , and more.

Summoned to Hamburg, Germany, to write music for a live stage production of Robert Wilson's The Black Rider, musical mastermind Waits took to the task at hand with gusto, assembling an eclectic crew of musicians to become "the pit band [he'd] always dreamed of." Several years later Waits assembled another "orchestra" in San Francisco to record many of the songs he'd written for the live production. Those tracks are found here, alongside a few rough gems from sessions in Hamburg. You'll find some musical matter familiar to Waits fans: accordions, carnivals, violas, banjos, the devil (a key figure in The Black Rider), a singing saw, bassoons, and trombones. Waits's many voices tell the rather disjointed story with a variety of musical styling, and the assembled whole is pretty much a sum of its parts (but at least they're interesting parts): a touch of Day of the Dead, a whiff of carny, a nod to Brecht, a dash of film noir, and the scent of narcosis (William Burroughs makes an appearance here). Not easy listening, by any means, but a feast for the ears. --Lorry Fleming

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
  1. Lucky Day Overture 2:27$0.99  Buy MP3 
  2. The Black Rider 3:21$0.99  Buy MP3 
  3. November 2:53$0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. Just The Right Bullets 3:35$0.99  Buy MP3 
  5. Black Box Theme 2:42$0.99  Buy MP3 
  6. 'Tain't No Sin 2:25$0.99  Buy MP3 
  7. Flash Pan Hunter/Intro 1:10$0.99  Buy MP3 
  8. That's The Way 1:07$0.99  Buy MP3 
  9. The Briar And The Rose 3:50$0.99  Buy MP3 
10. Russian Dance 3:12$0.99  Buy MP3 
11. Gospel Train/Orchestra 2:33$0.99  Buy MP3 
12. I'll Shoot The Moon 3:51$0.99  Buy MP3 
13. Flash Pan Hunter 3:10$0.99  Buy MP3 
14. Crossroads 2:43$0.99  Buy MP3 
15. Gospel Train 4:43$0.99  Buy MP3 
16. Interlude0:18$0.99  Buy MP3 
17. Oily Night 4:23$0.99  Buy MP3 
18. Lucky Day 3:42$0.99  Buy MP3 
19. The Last Rose Of The Summer 2:07$0.99  Buy MP3 
20. Carnival 1:16$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 2, 1993)
  • Original Release Date: November 2, 1993
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Cast Recording
  • Label: Island
  • ASIN: B000001E29
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,721 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By C. Helton on September 30, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I was always of the opinion that Tom's years at Island Records were his most ingenius (though this year's double release of "Alice" and "Blood Money" quite possibly changed all that), and I have always disagreed with the folks (well-intentioned though they may be) that say "Bone Machine" was the last "true" Tom Waits album before the release of "Mule Variations." I personally see Tom all over this album. Granted, I did not have the privelege of actually seeing a stage production of "The Black Rider," and the only things I know about the plot I got from the liner notes. Still, I think something in this play must have touched Tom's soul in a profound way. To chart this album on the Waits map, I'd put it about halfway between his wild and ambitious late-80s project "Franks Wild Years" and his just-released tearfully touching opus "Alice." It is, of course, no coincidence that those two albums were also the results of theatric endeavours. Still, "The Black Rider" is unique in that the story itself was not a product of Waits's imagination, yet he seems to relate to it almost as if it were. "November," "That's the Way," and "Briar and the Rose" lend touches of real beauty to this album. "Briar and the Rose" especially would not seem out of place on "Alice," while "Just the Right Bullets" and "Crossroads" seem to let you in on what Tom really thinks about the whole mess. The instrumentals on this are cacophonous even for Waits, which may or may not turn you on, depending on taste. Of course, no Waits album would be complete without the glitz of the carnival scene making an appearance in some form. We get this on the opening track, with Tom giving his own rendition of barker patter.Read more ›
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By M. E Mattson on October 15, 1999
Format: Audio CD
The song "November" is a kind of microcosm for this album, which evokes skeletal trees, looming clouds, piles of dead leaves, and harrowing winds. A post-halloween, pre-dead of winter atmosphere pervades this record. While Tom Waits is a great original talent, with piles and piles of brilliant songs, he tends to "show his hand" too much, so that his act is revealed as just that--an act. And since most of his material depends on you buying into his persona(e), sometimes you come away unconvinced.
Not here; and ironically, this is music for a stage production. But I don't think I've ever heard Waits quite this confident in his powers and so at home with his considerable gifts for settings, lyrics, and performance. In the instrumental "Russian Theme," when he "counts off," you can see him flailing his arms at the musicians to keep the music going. The recurrent themes of impending death are perfectly complimented by gleeful black humor; lyrically and sonically, The Black Rider holds together perfectly as a unified work.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Reba on October 13, 2004
Format: Audio CD
it makes this album amazing and make sense. The show has only played in the US once (this past fall in San Francisco)-- so it is hard to see, but if you ever get the chance you should. It is really an amazing collaboration of three brilliant artists. Like any musical cast recording, the record is hard to understand the full story or make perfect sense of why the songs sound the way they do when you can't see the visual or hear the rest of the text. Because I did, I love the album. I can understand why you might not get into it if you haven't seen it, but I think approaching it like you would a sountrack to a musical is helpful.

And just an FYI -- it's the story of Faust told in a crazy freak show kind of world. The hunting and the bullets comes in because the devil can give you 12 magic bullets that will always hit their target if you sell your soul. Plus it ties in in a creepy way to heroine and Burrough's (who wrote the text) shooting his wife.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Robert C. Hamilton on June 12, 2004
Format: Audio CD
It's not always easy to discern the logic behind the organization of a Tom Waits album; fortunately the man is a good enough musician to get away with juxtaposing music of widely differing themes and styles all on the same disc. It's even harder to follow the soundtracks to the multiple stage-productions for which he has written music, since there is no way to tell where each song and instrumental number fits in the universal scheme of the plot.
When dealing with Tom Waits, again, it doesn't really matter. Few of us were lucky enough to be hanging around the Thalia theatre when The Black Rider had its run ... I wasn't even ten years old at the time! Even fewer of us could recite the Black Rider story on call; it's an old German folk tale that was also set to music by Carl Maria von Weber in the 19th century. Consequently, I know little more about the illustrious old tale than I could gather from the liner notes here. But I still love the album dearly.
The more releases we see from living legend Waits, the more it seems that he can't make a CD without the stamp of brilliance on it. Some of these songs easily rank with the best of his career. "Just the Right Bullets" is mind-blowing, and the instrumental backing has a sound I haven't found in any of Waits' other work. "The Briar and the Rose," with its allusions to Waits' wife, Kathleen Brennan, is among the very best of his ballads. Nor is there any way to beat the carnival-barking announcement of the opening track, announcing an exhibition of "human oddities." Indeed.
What makes The Black Rider unusual, perhaps, is the presense of a large number of instrumentals.
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