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The Early Years Vol. 1

Tom WaitsAudio CD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

Price: $13.85 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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MP3 Music, 13 Songs, 1991 $8.99  
Audio CD, 2010 $13.85  
Vinyl, 2010 --  
Audio Cassette, 1991 --  

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Tom Waits, according to the esteemed American critic Robert Hilburn, is “clearly one of the most important figures of the modern pop era.” Such sentiments are not mere hyperbole; in a career that now spans four decades and over 20 albums, Tom Waits has emerged as an extraordinary innovative force, a singular voice whose music remains determinedly—and even ... Read more in Amazon's Tom Waits Store

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The Early Years Vol. 1 + The Early Years, Vol. 2 + Closing Time
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 13, 2010)
  • Original Release Date: 1991
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • ASIN: B000005DDY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,508 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Goin' Down Slow
2. Poncho's Lament
3. I'm Your Late Night Evening Prostitute
4. Had Me A Girl
5. Ice Cream Man
6. Rockin' Chair
7. Virginia Ave.
8. Midnight Lullabye
9. When You Ain't Got Nobody
10. Little Trip To Heaven
11. Frank's Song
12. Looks Like I'm Up Shit Creek Again
13. So Long I'll See Ya

Editorial Reviews

Tom Waits wasn't always the intense, even bizarre pop expressionist he'd become by the '80s. Before the brilliant dementia of his later work, Waits was just another soft-spoken troubadour with a wicked sense of humor and a special fondness for jazz, blues, and the Beat generation. The roots of his music are revealed within the 13 tracks of The Early Years, a collection of previously unreleased 1971 demo tapes. Waits never intended these recordings for public consumption. But the wise guy pathos of "I'm Your Late Night Evening Prostitute" and the intentionally bad puns of "Had Me a Girl" hold up well as intelligent, charming, early snapshots of an important artist. --Steve Appleford

Product Description

Early versions of the Closing Time tunes Ice Cream Man; Virginia Avenue; Midnight Lullaby , and Little Trip to Heaven join Goin' Down Slow; Rockin' Chair; Had Me a Girl , and more!

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Candid Capture Of Soapbox Blues November 17, 1998
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
I must praise this album for all that it is worth. Perhaps some hard-core Waits fans may disagree with me, but I'll go out on a limb and say it: this could be the most important piece of your collection. What it promises to do on the CD cover, and delivers upon, is to bring the authentic, rich, small room tightly-packed with close friends and diverse faces atmosphere of a stop along the smoke-filled-bar room tour of a very promising young bluesman. Waits challenges his captivated audience to recall an era in early American music when each sentence was written with integrity and personality controlled beautifully by a gritty, aged voice. Although the album has a few "soft-spots" in its playlist, the first several songs are filled with bountiful memorable tunes and melodies which shall certainly swim around in your mind for hours, and days, even. If you've ever been transported into comfortable company in some imaginary wooden rocking chair overlooking a dusty road of puddles and pebbles while listening to the likes of John Hurt, Leadbelly, or Dylan's rare work ("Rock Me Mama", "I Love You But You're Strange (title?)", the Cash recordings, etc.), you're sure in for a treat. It's worth the trip to another time and place, one of borderline blues/folk feel, and where authenticity creeps out from the floorboards' cracks. I can hear the whispers now, the crackling transistor radio, the tall grasses blowing against the backside of the house, and a wail and a yelp and a moan from Tom Waits as his tapping foot sends vibrations across the kitchen's wooden dance floor. Come on now, pull up a chair and relax. Melt in the atmosphere.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some of Waits' earliest recordings pay off April 2, 2000
Format:Audio CD
From the skimpy "liner notes" it seems these tracks were recorded in Los Angeles in December, 1971, and not intended for release. All thirteen titles are Waits' compositions as well. Other than that, and not possessing a complete Waits catalog, I can't tell which of these are unavailable in any other form, and which, if any, were later rerecorded.
All tracks produced by Robert Duffey. My guess is that these are early demo tapes... not from the sound quality (which is excellent throughout), but from the performances. Unlike Waits middle-period recordings, in which he played a highly stylized bum/loungelizard/minstrel, and unlike his more recent work that's stretched much farther out, these recording sound much more raw.
A few of the tracks have Waits' late-night jazz sound, but it's less contained, less scripted for a particular image than it became later. The guitar-bass-drum trio of "Goin' Down Slow" gives way to a slide guitar that seems to alternate between C/W and Blues licks. There's an uncharacteristic electric piano mixed in as well. "I'm Your Late Night Evening Prostitute" is one of Waits' characteristic first-person broken-down cabaret lounge-lizard pieces, sung to a piano accompaniment. (You can almost hear people dropping dollars into the tip jar).
Even more of the tracks have a very spare folk sound. "Poncho's Lament" features Waits' plaintive vocal accompanied only by an acoustic guitar. At moments reminiscent of Woody Guthrie (or perhaps the Dylan or Springsteen variations thereof). "Had Me a Girl" has a country-blues sound to it, with Waits' riffing on the line " doctor says I'll be alright, but I'm feeling blue...
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fans only July 11, 2002
Format:Audio CD
Tom Waits's The Early Years, though it should by no means be considered a regular album, and certainly not a compilation, is a nice disc to have for hard-core fans of the artist. Consisting of demos (mostly Tom solo on acoustic guitar, occasionally using the piano that would become his trademark) recorded before the release of his debut album, Closing Time, this disc gives fans the wonderful opportunity to hear early versions of songs that would appear on his first three albums, as well as quite a few that never made the cut. Several of these previously unreleased songs are quite good (Goin' Down Slow, Poncho's Lament), and some of the demos are notable for their differences from the eventual released versions. Fans will appreciate these. A great many of the songs are just Tom accompanying himself on acoustic guitar - something that we almost never see on any of his released albums, and a nice treat. Perhaps surprisingly, several of these songs have an almost country-ish vibe to them. There are several gems for hard-core fans to uncover. Granted, these are demos - early ones, at that - and they do pale in comparison to the songs that Tom chose to release; and some of them (Had Me A Girl) are quite immature: you'll be able to see why they were kept in the vaults. Still, if you approach this collection the way it's supposed to be approached - as a fan's only collection of early, unformed Tom Waits songs - then you will get the most out of it. I don't recommend that you get this album until you have every one of Tom Waits's normal released albums (all of which are at least 4 star efforts); but, if you have all of that stuff already, then this is a nice way to further your collection.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Tom Waits album ever.
This is a great album that I have loved for a long time. I was happy with Amazon for providing the instant gratification of getting the album instantly as an mp3.
Published 12 months ago by Kitti Homme
5.0 out of 5 stars Very, Very Good :)
I've recently been introduced to his music!!! I find it very relaxing and intriguing!!!

I look forward to buying more of his albums!!!
Published 17 months ago by kimberly platts
4.0 out of 5 stars Really early
If you are Tom Waits fan (as I am) you will not be disappointed in this album, because it lets you know where he came from. Read more
Published on February 8, 2010 by Robert Knight
4.0 out of 5 stars Tom, Back In The Days
The inner lives of the denizens of that late night diner in the famous painting by the American realist artist Edward Hopper, "Nighthawks" (1942). Read more
Published on May 18, 2009 by Alfred Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars Very pleased
Ha! this is some singing. I discovered Tom Waits only accidentally. It happened so that I wanted to know the man who created "tom traubert's blues" after listning to Rod Stewart's... Read more
Published on November 4, 2008 by Sasanka Nanayakkara
5.0 out of 5 stars danggoodrecord!!
These barebones demos are far superior to other 'official' early albums. They thankfully lack the Eagles-esque polish of "Closing Time" and the formulaic LouisArmstrong-goes-hobo... Read more
Published on December 23, 2007 by P. Lizarraga
5.0 out of 5 stars Back in the day...
This album consists of demo songs, some of which have never previously seen the light of day, taken from Tom Waits's early years (duh), before he become the musical genius that... Read more
Published on January 1, 2007 by DanD
4.0 out of 5 stars More "Closing Time" please....
This compilation of early Tom Waits songs/demos, are very interesting to me. At first listen I enjoyed it, but thought that it's just a little more Closing Time material. Read more
Published on October 31, 2006 by Logan Seguin
4.0 out of 5 stars picked me from the crowd
i keep coming back to that thing someone said about woody allen (maybe woody allen) about how it's sad that ageing artists always have their current stuff compared to their old... Read more
Published on June 20, 2006 by space_antelope
5.0 out of 5 stars Ok, I'm a massive fan. A gotta have for us. For everyone else?...
It's a treat to hear his least gravely voice recordings. There's a whole world out there of tape/cdr traders (no money exchanged) who have, for decades, traded for live, demo and... Read more
Published on February 18, 2006 by Chris bct
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Tom Waits is Amazing
Is there really anything to discuss. If you have ears, you know he's amazing. A national treasure !
Mar 31, 2008 by Robert Burns |  See all 2 posts
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