Saturday, December 5, 2015

TOM WAITS – Nighthawks At The Diner (2LP-1975)




Label: Asylum Records – 7E-2008
Format: 2 × Vinyl, LP, Album, Gatefold
Country: Canada/US / Released: 1975
Style: Jazz, Blues, Cabaret
Recorded live at the Record Plant and Wally Heider Recording, Hollywood on 30 and 31 July, 1975.
Design – Cal Schenkel
Engineer [Assistant], Recorded By [Assistant] – Kelly Kotera, "Big Norm" Dlugatch, Rick Smith, Ron Marks, Steve Smith
Engineer, Producer – Bones Howe
Mastered By – Terry Dunavan
Other [Instance] – Herb Cohen
Photography By [Back Cover] – Matt Kramer
Photography By [Cover, Liner] – Norman Seeff
Recorded By – Bones Howe

A1- (Opening Intro) .............................................................................................. 2:59
A2 - Emotional Weather Report ........................................................................... 3:44
A3 - (Intro) ............................................................................................................ 2:14
A4 - On A Foggy Night ........................................................................................ 3:52
A5 - (Intro) ............................................................................................................ 1:54
A6 - Eggs And Sausage (In A Cadillac With Susan Michelson) .......................... 4:16
B1 - (Intro) ............................................................................................................ 3:14
B2 - Better Off Without A Wife ............................................................................. 4:00
B3 - Nighthawk Postcards (From Easy Street) ................................................... 11:31
C1 - (Intro) ............................................................................................................ 0:56
C2 - Warm Beer And Cold Women ...................................................................... 5:21
C3 - (Intro) ............................................................................................................ 0:47
C4 - Putnam County ............................................................................................ 7:35
C5 - Spare Parts I (A Nocturnal Emission) .......................................................... 6:25
        Written-By – Chuck E. Weiss
D1 - Nobody ......................................................................................................... 2:51
D2 - (Intro) ............................................................................................................ 0:38
D3 - Big Joe And Phantom 309 ............................................................................ 6:33
        Written-By – Tommy Faile
D4 - Spare Parts II And Closing ........................................................................... 5:18

All songs written-by – Tom Waits, except C5 and D3.

Personnel:
Tom Waits – vocals, guitar, piano(tracks: A6, B2, C2, C4, D1)
Pete Christlieb – tenor saxophone
Mike Melvoin – piano, electric piano
Jim Hughart – upright bass
Bill Goodwin – drums, percussion

The title was inspired by Edward Hopper's 1942 painting Nighthawks. The album's working title had been "Nighthawk Postcards from Easy Street," but was shortened to Nighthawks at the Diner, which is the opening line to "Eggs and Sausage (In a Cadillac with Susan Michelson)". The cover, designed by Cal Schenkel, is also inspired by the painting.

Nighthawks at the Diner is the first live album by Tom Waits and his third overall. It was released on Asylum Records in October 1975. It was recorded live in the Los Angeles Record Plant Studios on July 30 and 31, 1975, in front of a small invited audience. Waits opens the album by calling the venue Raphael's Silver Cloud Lounge...

 Nighthawks by Edward Hopper (painting, oil on canvas, 1942)

Bones Howe, the album's producer, on the recording of the album:
We did it as a live recording, which was unusual for an artist so new. Herb Cohen and I both had a sense that we needed to bring out the jazz in Waits more clearly. Tom was a great performer on stage, so we started talking about where we could do an album that would have a live feel to it. We thought about clubs, but the well-known ones like The Troubadour were toilets in those days. Then I remembered that Barbra Streisand had made a record at the old Record Plant Studios, when they were on 3rd Street near Cahuenga Boulevard. There was a room there that she got an entire orchestra into. Back in those days they would just roll the consoles around to where they needed them. So Herb and I said let's see if we can put tables and chairs in there and get an audience in and record a show.

Howe was mostly responsible for organizing the band for the "live show", and creating the right atmosphere for the record:
I got Michael Melvoin on piano, and he was one of the greatest jazz arrangers ever; I had Jim Hughart on bass, Bill Goodwin on drums and Pete Christlieb on sax. It was a totally jazz rhythm section. Herb gave out tickets to all his friends, we set up a bar, put potato chips on the tables and we had a sell-out, two nights, two shows a night, July 30 and 31, 1975. I remember that the opening act was a stripper. Her name was Dewana and her husband was a taxi driver. So for her the band played bump-and-grind music - and there's no jazz player who has never played a strip joint, so they knew exactly what to do. But it put the room in exactly the right mood. Then Waits came out and sang "Emotional Weather Report." Then he turned around to face the band and read the classified section of the paper while they played. It was like Allen Ginsberg with a really, really good band.

Dewana was an old-time burlesque queen whom Tom had met on one of his jaunts to the Hollywood underworld.

Jim Hughart, who played upright bass on the recordings recalled the experience of preparing for and recording the album:
Preparing for this thing, we had to memorize all this stuff, 'cause Waits had nothing on paper. So ultimately, we spent four or five days in a rehearsal studio going over this stuff. And that was drudgery. But when we did actually get it all prepared and go and record, that was the fastest two days of recording I've ever spent in my life. It was so fun. Some of the tunes were not what you'd call jazz tunes, but for the most part that was like a jazz record. This was a jazz band. Bill Goodwin was a drummer who was associated with Phil Woods for years. Pete Christlieb is one of the best jazz tenor players who ever lived. And my old friend, Mike Melvoin, played piano. There's a good reason why it was accepted as a jazz record.


_1.     For his third album, Nighthawks at the Diner, Tom Waits set up a nightclub in the studio, invited an audience, and cut a 70-minute, two-LP set of new songs. It's an appropriate format for compositions that deal even more graphically and, for the first time, humorously with Waits' late-night world of bars and diners. The love lyrics of his debut album had long since given way to a comic lonely-guy stance glimpsed in "Emotional Weather Report" and "Better Off Without a Wife." But what really matters is the elaborate scene-setting of songs like the six-and-a-half-minute "Spare Parts," the seven-and-a-half-minute "Putnam County," and especially the 11-and-a-half-minute "Nighthawk Postcards" that are essentially poetry recitations with jazz backing. Waits is a colorful tour guide of midnight L.A., raving over a swinging rhythm section of Jim Hughart (bass) and Bill Goodwin (drums), with Pete Christlieb wailing away on tenor sax between paragraphs and Mike Melvoin trading off with Waits on piano runs. You could call it overdone, but then, this kind of material made its impact through an accumulation of miscellaneous detail, and who's to say how much is too much?




_2.     In 1975 Tom Waits was still fairly unknown, and there was a mutual feeling that a live album would capture the personality of the beatnik stageman. This plan was executed in the best way – a concert was recorded in a New York studio. A large room in the back of Record Plant Studios was set up with a stage and tables, drinks on the house. The best of four performances are mixed together on Nighthawks at the Diner, and create a world of smoky nightclubs on late foggy nights.

This kind of control allows for fantastic sound. Engineers could manipulate the environment to their liking, and the natural balance of audience to band is perfect. Tom's voice permeates the mix just enough to ensure his words are heard clearly.

Nighthawks At The Diner finds Waits backed by a quartet of seasoned jazz cats.
The band is spot-on, playing tight, dynamic, and smooth jazz. Tenor sax, piano, upright bass, and a kit create a combo well equipped for the job. These guys were on Heart of Saturday Night too, and their chops hold true on this live effort.

Tom greets the crowd:
Well, an inebriated good evening to you all.
Welcome to Rapheal's Silver Cloud Lounge.
Slip me a little crimson Jimson, give me the low down Brown,
I want some scoop Betty Boop. I'm on my way into town...

Playing the role of the Hollywood hobo to the hilt, Waits performs every song elegantly, daubing each sepia-toned number with canny one-liners and well-paced asides. Throughout, a jive-talking Waits works blue ("I'm so goddamn horny the crack of dawn better be careful around me"), banters of "coffee not strong enough to defend itself" and uses bebop jargon to construct some memorable and deeply profound poetry, with discussions of "pincushion skies" and "Velveeta-yellow cabs" and "the impending squint of first light" and such. Theatrical piano bar signifiers abound: Waits introduces the band and drops names of familiar Los Angeles locales and eating establishments, to the delight of the game and agreeable crowd, perhaps laying the tracks for some of Todd Snider's endless, stoned preambles. Waits occasionally gets serious, as on the saccharine "Nobody" and the uncharacteristically grave reading of Red Sovine's trucker ghost story "Big Joe and Phantom 309," as well the fantastic "Putnam County," a number that blends Waits' post-Beat patter ("And the Stratocasters slung over the burgermeister beer guts / swizzle stick legs jackknifed over Naugahyde stools") with a piano melody worthy of Bill Evans...

The atmosphere maintained on this album is witty, dark, and a little absurd – really the best qualities of Tom Waits. At around seventy minutes it's a lengthy listen, especially since paying attention to Wait's words is half the point, but well worth it. Maybe not the best place to start for new listeners, but this record gives an intimate picture of one of the most unique American songwriters of the century's live personality.



If you find it, buy this album!

11 comments:

  1. TOM WAITS – Nighthawks At The Diner (2LP-1975)
    Vinyl Rip/FLAC+Cover

    1fichier:
    https://1fichier.com/?ctopicelcb

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  2. Alright Vitko, great post.
    This wonderful album was my first Tom Waits album. I bought the LP way back in the 1980's and later on on the CD issue. It's sounds great today as it did back then.
    Highly recommended !

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  3. This album awaken in me special memories of my student days. We had our nightly hole, called the Ring, where we daily listened to jazz and blues. Yes, really great Waits.
    Cheers Uri.

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  4. Listen to Tom Waits is always a pleasure. Great album and for years one of favs. Nice difference to your other, much appreciated, stuff. Uwe

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  5. Sometimes I like to surprise.
    All the best Uwe.

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  6. One of my favorite artists. I own this album in vinyl, but i downloaded your rip, because i`m too lazy to digitized it. Thank you very much, Vitko. Another one great post!

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  7. As with Uri, this was my introduction to Tom Waits, after hearing "Better Off Without A Wife" one very late nite on Canadian FM the year it was released. I have both the original LP and the 1990 CD. Somehow the LP "artifacts" fit the evening perfectly. Many thanks!

    -Brian

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  8. I have this (and everything else Tom Waits has ever done), but still it's very nice to see it here.

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  9. To be honest, I was'nt hoped to Waits cause so much attention to my blog. Thank you all, because this album really means a lot to me.
    Hello everyone.
    V.

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  10. I saw Waits perform much of this material on a concert on public television almost forty years ago and since then have bought everything he has recorded. I have even replaced all of my my aged Waits vinyl albums with compact discs.

    I love the selection of jazz on this blog but this album is really special to me. Waits is one of my favorite songwriters and this double album captures his character and genius so well. Thank you so much for posting it and thank you, too, for the recent Dolphy posts.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for the nice comment. Enjoy!

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