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Tom Waits:: Real Gone (Album Review)

It use to be a plunger, a washboard, a hammer, a toy whistle, clothespins and some Dodge product lug nuts, were things found in your shed, not the basic backing tracks of a new TOM WAITS CD. But Tom has kinda taken a liking to these “instruments” over the last ten to fifteen years, and left such conventional means as a guitar, bass, keyboards, drums, horns, and vocals behind. His latest, “Real Gone,” picks up where 1992’s clankfest “Bone Machine” left off. Is that a good thing? Not so sure. Don’t get me wrong, I love Waits! And “Mule Variations” had some incredible bits on it. But, it’s getting real difficult to listen to any of his recent releases. When you need an electron microscope to detect any actual tunes amidst the wheezing and grinding, that’s not necessarily a good thing. At this point a Waits record is no more enjoyable than a traffic jam or eating lunch next to a contruction site. From his debut, “Closing Time,” up until his masterpiece “Rain Dogs,” (the last record to perfectly mix the Tom of old with the Tom of new) a Waits record was something that needed repeated listenings to savor every story and heartfelt melody. Now, one listen to any of his last five or six releases does little more than hurt your fillings. I’m sure he still has it in him to make some great songs, and for all we know he did it on “Real Gone.” It’s just hard to tell when he’s playing them on a carburetor. Come back, Tom.(Buy it anyway, I ordered a lot of them!) Sal- NYCD

(Sal owns the amazing NYCD in NYC. Ray Davis buys his records there and so should you!)