Tom Waits – This Is My America (Godfather G.R. 313/314)

This Is My America (Godfather G.R. 313/314)

Fox Theater, Atlanta, GA – July 5, 2008

CD 1 [65:22]:  01. Lucinda / Ain’t Going Down To The Well, 02. Down in The Hole, 03. Falling Down, 04. Chocolate Jesus, 05. All The World Is Green, 06. Cemetery Polka, 07. Cause Of it All / ‘Til The Money Runs Out (w/Larry Taylor on guitar), 08. Such A Scream (w/Larry taylor on guitar), 09. November, 10. Hold On, 11. Black Market Baby, 12. 9th And Hennepin, 13. Lie To Me

CD 2 [76:24]:  01. Lucky Day, 02. On The Nickel, 03. Lost In The Harbour, 04. Innocent When You Dream, 05. Hoist That Rag, 06. Make It Rain, 07. Dirt In The Ground, 08. Get Behind The Mule (w/Larry Taylor on guitar), 09. Hang Down Your Head, 10. Jesus Gonna Be Here, 11. Singapore, 12. Eyeball Kid, 13. Anywhere I Lay My Head

Godfatherecords has released this impeccable pristine sounding gem of a soundboard source to cap off the last night of the Tom Waits 2008 tour  before a wildly enthusiastic and boisterous sold-out crowd of 4000+.

The Columbus Ohio Dispatch described Tom Waits in the following revealing article which pretty much sums it up: 

“Waits may be one of the country’s best accidental musicologists. He rummages through an assortment of genres – blues, gospel, jazz, folk, Latin, beat-box and cabaret, to name some – and weaves them together into something new. Hearing one of his songs for the first time, one is almost positive that it’s an old favorite. Yet everything he does is remarkably original and fresh.

Add to that his unmistakable lyrics – inspired in part by the Beat Generation and refined by his partnership with his wife, writer Kathleen Brennan – and it’s easy to see why he is one of the most important singer-songwriters of this age.

The showmanship is always a direct relation to the music. He opened in the guise of a revivalist preacher, booming out Lucinda, Way Down In The Hole and Falling Down.

His antics reached a peak later in The Eyeball Kid, an oddity of a song in which, for one verse, he donned a a mirror-ball hat. As he revolved slowly in the interlude, his head became a makeshift light show.

When the songs slowed down and the thoughts grew deeper, though, he stilled his physical energy and flowed into such profound moments which held the audience absolutely still until their final chords.

In a sense, Waits is a medium, channeling the spirits of long-dead bluesmen, pioneers of rock and traveling minstrels. His voice, while aging, still can travel from a growl to a wail to a whisper in a split second.

Waits doesn’t create new worlds; he makes people rethink  the past, present, and future. His song Time, sums it up: “…their memory’s like a train/You can see it getting smaller as it pulls away/And the things you can’t remember tell the things you can’t forget/That history puts a saint in every dream.”

This reviewer has never, the operative word being,  “sustained” a complete listen to any Tom Waits concert in the past. I would venture to say that this, then, would present itself as quite a daunting task to properly review this release. I’ve always maintained that listening to Tom Waits sing is an acquired taste. His raspy voice resembles that of Ray Charles for lack of any obvious comparison although Dylan’s voice of late isn’t far off. Once getting used to his unusual vocal delivery and/or style; getting over the hump so to speak, one can reap the rewards of listening to and taking in this gifted artist and stellar band.

His performance at the Fox Theater in Atlanta on July 5th was solid and embraced wholeheartedly by the ever appreciative fans and this reviewer. The musicianship was top notch all around. Keyboardist, Larry Taylor, switched to guitar on a good number of tracks especially on tracks 9 through 13 on disc 2. I thoroughly enjoyed this extraordinary concert performance and will give it repeated listen(s) in the future.

Godfatherecords has issued this release in their customary and exquisite tri-fold tasteful packaging with gorgeous pictures and informative liner notes. The sound quality is about as perfect as one can expect without exception. This is a momentous release in particular for any Tom Waits fans but I do encourage other risk takers to give Mr. Waits a shot here and feel confident that he will not disappoint.

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