Tom Waits – Bridges, Mules And Orphans (Apocalypse Sound AS 149)

Bridges, Mules And Orphans (Apocalypse Sound AS 149)

“13th Bridge School Benefit” October 30, 1999:  1. Gun Street Girl 2. Jockey Full of Bourbon 3. Hold On
4. Chocolate Jesus 5. 16 Shells from a Thirty-Ought six 6. Tango Till They’re Sore 7. Tom Traubert’s Blues
“Late Night With Dave Letterman” September 27, 1999:  1. Chocolate Jesus 2. Interview

“Late Night With Dave Letterman” September 28, 2004:  1. Interview 2. Make it Rain

“Late Night With Dave Letterman” November 27, 2006:  1. Interview 2. Lie to Me

“The Today Show” November 28, 2006:  1. Day After Tomorrow

“Late Night with Conan O’Brien” May 4, 2007:  1. Interview 

Sitting down and talking with an artist like Grammy award-winner Tom Waits would be a wondrous experience. I’m sure anybody even remotely aware of his greatness will love the tidbits of wisdom gleaned by David Letterman and Conan O’Brien in Bridges, Mules and Orphans.

Tom Waits has a personal flavour of music that borrows from umpteen styles and movements ranging from blues to jazz to traditional ballads. The music coupled with his gruff voice creates an environment that feels nostalgic, pensive and introspective. Though his music isn’t the most complicated, the poetic aspect is the priority, with thick layers of meaning and ambiguity embedded within his lyrics.

I felt the live performances were standard, essentially his most popular songs recorded with excellent sound and video quality. I especially enjoyed his doleful rendition of “Waltzing Matilda” a traditional Australian folk song written in 1985. For those less acquainted with his music, the presentation is an accurate representation of his past and present work. However, in terms of added value, the interviews with the talk show hosts truly give a new perpective of Waits, adding to his persona and gracing fans with personal anecdotes and well spoken retorts.

I think his eccentric views on simpler things and learning experiences are refreshing and somewhat eye-opening. One particular story stuck to my mind where he described a horse that had scraped an image on its wooden door. He thought the scraping looked much like a horse escaping its stable, and had photographs to prove it! To say the least, Waits upstages his hosts instantly, becoming the focus of attention, making the jokes and captivating the audience which contrasts with other interviews by Letterman and O’Brien.

Bridges, Mules and Orphans is the perfect addition to any Tom Waits collection because it brings reassurance to Waits’ reputation as a thought provoking fountain of perspicacious knowledge and oracular whimsicality. It is perfect for fans and alluring for those who are keen to learn more about one of Americas greatest songwriters and personalities of today.

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