Tom Waits – Frank’s Wild Years (1987)

I’ve heard the name Tom Waits tossed around for absolutely yonks, but I never got around to actually hearing the guy properly until I really got into HBO’s The Wire, where his song “Way Down In The Hole” was used as the theme song for every single season. The song appeared in five different guises by five different artists, one for each season, with the Waits version itself oddly appearing second on season two. Logically, that would have been first, but hey, it’s not my fuckin’ show haha

Since then I’ve looked for an in-road into Tom Waits’ music, which was provided to me in the form of a recommendation of the Frank’s Wild Years album. It’s pretty nice stuff, material of such a type that I rarely partake in listening to, but harking back to a time that no longer exists and conjuring all sorts of fantastic imagery of culture and emotion.

It’s bluesy as fark, as was a really nice break for me from a world of grindcore and hip hop (and that one Type O Negative record I keep playing over and over these days). My favourite tracks were probably the gravelier-sounding ones, like “Telephone Call From Istanbul”, “Way Down In The Hole” and “Straight To The Top”. The opening track, “Hang On St. Christopher” also has a wicked, wicked groove, which I’m sure I’ve heard somewhere else already.

You gotta keep the devil… down in the hole.