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Heartattack & Vine Import

4.7 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews

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MP3 Music, July 9, 2008
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Audio CD, Import, October 16, 1990
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

1980 album includes "Ruby's Arms" and "On The Nickel".

Amazon.com

Tom Waits's hipster persona began to evaporate at the beginning of the '80s, but not before he released the transitional but eminently worthwhile Heartattack and Vine, which contained "On the Nickel," a Dickensian tale of street life, and "Jersey Girl," a song Bruce Springsteen gave a far wider airing to on his Live 1975-1985 box set. You can hear hints of Waits's style growing more trenchant on songs like "Downtown" and the stark, bluesy title track, which contains the immortal line "Don't you know there ain't no devil / That's just God when he's drunk." Indeed. --Daniel Durchholz

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Heartattack And Vine
  2. In Shades
  3. Saving All My Love For You
  4. Downtown
  5. Jersey Girl
  6. 'Til The Money Runs Out
  7. On The Nickel
  8. Mr. Siegal
  9. Ruby's Arms


Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 16, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Imports
  • ASIN: B000002GWR
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,890 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
No matter what style of music Tom Waits' experiments with, his strongest card is always his lyrics. Before this album, I always found "Closing Time" to be the album that best captures whimsical lyrics of romance, heartbreak, and past loves (no matter how coarse and cynical you may be, try getting through "Martha" or "Grapefruit Moon" without feeling a tug-of-a-heartstring).
Where "Closing Time" had a unique mix of jazz, country, and a smattering of blues, "Heartattack & Vine" plays a harder blues style throughout most of the CD. The songs that steal the show, however, steer away from that raw-blues style.
"Jersey Girl" is an acoustic piece that is an atypical Tom Waits love song. The surprise is that it is a love song by Tom Waits without sarcasm, pining or regret, yet it sounds very much like Tom Waits. And while not a sad song, it is still quite the tearjerker. Perhaps this is because of Waits' gutteral character singing all-out vulnerable worship for the blue-collar Jersey Girl he has fallen in love with. One of the greatest love songs ever written.
"On The Nickel" contains probably the most devastating and beautiful lyrics I have ever heard. "The Nickel" refers to a section of Fifth Street in Downtown Los Angeles that was gathering place for the homeless and down-&-out folks during the depression era. The song is the title score for the 1980 film by Ralph Waite. The music rings like a childrens' lullaby, with the words harking to the days when these now hapless "Nickel" characters were just little boys running amok and making mischief.
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1 Comment 33 of 33 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
HEARTATTACK AND VINE offers a preview of the Waits to come: the CLOSING TIME and BLUE VALENTINE Waits evolving into the SWORDFISHTROMBONES and RAIN DOGS Waits. It features the gritty, life on the street characters of his previous work (especially the elloquent "On the Nickel"), but starts to do so in a different fashion. The title track and "Mr. Siegal" are bluesy romps (the former declaring that "There ain't no Devil, there's just God when He's drunk"). "Jersey Girl" borders on pop balladry, while "Ruby's Arms" is simply a melodic stunner.

The Devil's in the details, though, and that's where HEARTATTACK truly shines. Listen, why don't you, to the "sha la la" chorus of "Jersey Girl." The passionate urgency Waits puts into his vocals borders on parody, yet rings with the angst of a man yearning for the woman he loves, the one bright point in an otherwise bleary day. The way he growls out the title track, and the tender way he croons the line "I'll prolly be arrested when I'm in my grave, but I'll be saving all my love for you", showcase his emerging talent for delivering lines with ironical perfection. HEARTATTACK is a transitional record, but it is definitely one worth owning. One of his best, actually.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Do it. Buy it! The only thing you'll regret is that you didn't do it before. This is not just one of HIS bests, it's one of THE bests-ever-in whatever genre you want to put Waits' music into. He goes from pulling tears out of you to making you tap your feet and snap your fingers to the most outrageous Waitsonian visions you have ever heard: "...When the b____ is wound up, And her parents are gone, Man you ought to hear her with the siren on." And the details!!! In Saving All My Love For You, he writes, "I spent $15.00 on a prostitute, With too much make-up and a broken shoe..." Even at his most tender, writing the sweetest lullabye, "On The Nickle," he throws in bits about being in jail and poker games. This is a MUST HAVE. Do it. I have to admit, I'm pretty new to Wait's music, I loved Closing Time and Nighthawks, but this one...this is beyond description! I have to agree with another reviewer, this is maybe the best album ever made.
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Format: Audio CD
This album bleeds with lyrical genius...or maybe it's just the Satanist in me...Truly though, the lines are beautiful: "How do the angels get to sleep when the devil leaves his porch light on", and "Don't you know there ain't no devil, there's just god when he's drunk". I never thought I'd have a favorite album in my life, or a favorite song. There's just too much good stuff out there. But after swimmin' around in this one for awhile there wasn't any chance of escaping. I'll always find myself on Heartattack and Vine, with Mr. Siegal my best and only friend. It's passion, it's love, it's blues, it's vegas, it's being drunk, it's the ups and downs of life's great roller coaster all summed up in one album. When you find yourself at the bottom of bargain scotch you can crank these tunes out, and
trust me, you'll feel like Tom is right there with you. I used to play this album daily at a bar I worked at in Edinburgh Scotland. Those crazy drunkards really loved it to death, which says alot more than any review here can.
1 Comment 6 of 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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By A Customer on December 31, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Waits is the greatest writer of ballads in America, maybe the world, and this album showcases four of his best. "On The Nickel" and "Jersey Girl" are both stunning and alone they are worth the price of purchase. But there is not a weak song in the lot. Really gritty blues and r&b on tracks 1, 2, 4, 6, and 8 interchanged with his ballads on 3, 5, 7, and 9. It's the culmination of his work of the seventies, before he started getting truly weird and experimental.
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