Waits’ third album is arguably the pinnacle of his early beatnik barfly persona. Taking a different approach to his more mannered previous albums, the 1975 LP was recorded live in a pseudo small club setup. It’s jazzy and deceptively loose and boozy, though Tom knows exactly what he’s doing, whether delivering jokey banter or vividly narrative songs like Spare Parts and Putnam County.
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10/10 Jack Customer review, 26th January 2018
Waits' sense of humour shines on this album, delivered almost as a stand-up comedy act (with jazz quartet, of course). His hilarious commentary and recitations provoke some genuine belly-laughs. Yet his lyrics retain the beautiful artistry that he has become known for. The songs vary from the hilarious ("Better Off Without a Wife") to the mysterious (his rendition of Red Sovine's "Phantom 309") to the beautifully tragic ("Putnam County"). The result is a comedy album that isn't comedy, a jazz album that isn't jazz...but whatever it is, it's absolutely brilliant.
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