Album #339 – Nighthawks At The Diner

Album #339

Tom Waits has always been a favorite of mine. That gravely voice sets him apart from everyone else and he is as funny as he is musically talented. Nighthawks from the Diner is actually a live album, recorded over two nights in July 1975 at the Record Plant in California. The studio was turned into a bar, complete with tables and beer. Waits performs with a four person band including the father of Wendy, Susannha and the late Jonathan Melvoin, Mike Melvoin. The album has that vibe that is present on some of the live jazz records I listened to already on the list. Waits’ songs are well written and display a side of music that was not present during this time. He hearkens back to an earlier time, when crooners like Bing and Frank ruled the roost. But, Waits does not take himself too seriously. He pokes fun at Los Angeles and Southern California and also his own personal life. Nighthawks at the Diner is also very laid back and intimate. I can picture what the room was like just by listening. I love when albums do that, especially live albums. Waits is also a master of words. His songs use them effectively and he creates amazing visuals. I cannot think of too many other songwriters who do this. Waits is more storyteller, than songwriter. This is evident on the intro sections that precede almost each song on this album. All of which are hilarious and entertaining. Luckilly, Waits is still around and occasionally surprises us once again. It’s not too often that you can say that The Eagles, Rod Stewart and Bruce Springsteen have all covered your songs. Not bad for a guy who was disinterested in psychedelic rock and traded it in for standards. Overall, I give Nighthawks at the Diner, 5 out of 5.

Next: Shalimar Soundtrack by Various Artists, with Music by R.D. Burman

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