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Music Review: Tom Waits – Orphans; Brawlers, Bawlers, and Bastards

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With Tom Waits you have to either love his music or… well, you get the point. For a man that may be better known for his acting roles (like his unforgettable portrayal of R.M. Renfield in Bram Stoker’s Dracula), the music he produces is prolific and artistically rich.

His latest disc, Orphans; Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards, is a collection of never before released music that is both stunning and thought provoking. Waits intelligence is evident in the lyrics of his songs. “Along The Road to Peace” illustrates this with his take on Middle East violence. Waits’ raspy method of delivery is as unique as the man himself and in the cut “Bottom of the World” you might actually think that a hobo is singing the song.

Waits has long been known for his outstanding creativity and his alchemical use of sounds as was evident on his 2004 release, Real Gone. The Orphans track “Lucinda” is a daring mix of a field holler and a funeral dirge that reminds us of his ingenuity. I was surprised to hear some interesting story telling on the album that made for a great ambiance.

Included in this three disc set is a 94-page booklet that gives lyrics and some interesting photos that you have to make up stories for. It is one of the most original recordings I have heard lately.

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