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