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Tom Waits|Franks Wild Years

Franks Wild Years

Tom Waits

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Tom Waits wrote a song called "Frank's Wild Years" for his 1983 Swordfishtrombones album, then used the title (minus its apostrophe) for a musical play he wrote with his wife, Kathleen Brennan, and toured with in 1986. The Franks Wild Years album, drawn from the show, is subtitled, "un operachi romantico in two acts," though the songs themselves do not carry the plot. Rather, this is just the third installment in Waits' eccentric series of Island Records albums in which he seems most inspired by German art song and carnival music, presenting songs in spare, stripped-down arrangements consisting of instruments like marimba, baritone horn, and pump organ and singing in a strained voice that has been artificially compressed and distorted. The songs themselves often are conventional romantic vignettes, or would be minus the oddities of instrumentation, arrangement, and performance. For example, "Innocent When You Dream," a song of disappointment in love and friendship, has a winning melody, but it is played in a seesaw arrangement of pump organ, bass, violin, and piano, and Waits sings it like an enraged drunk. (He points out the arbitrary nature of the arrangements by repeating "Straight to the Top," done as a demented rhumba in act one, as a Vegas-style Frank Sinatra swing tune in act two.) The result on record may not be theatrical, exactly, but it certainly is affected. It also has the quality of an inside joke that listeners are not being let in on.
© William Ruhlmann /TiVo

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Franks Wild Years

Tom Waits

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1
Hang On St. Christopher
00:02:44

Tom Waits, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1987 UMG Recordings, Inc.

2
Straight To The Top (Rhumba)
00:02:28

Greg Cohen, ComposerLyricist - Tom Waits, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1987 UMG Recordings, Inc.

3
Blow Wind Blow
00:03:35

Tom Waits, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1987 UMG Recordings, Inc.

4
Temptation
00:03:53

Tom Waits, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1987 UMG Recordings, Inc.

5
Innocent When You Dream (Barroom)
00:04:16

Tom Waits, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1987 UMG Recordings, Inc.

6
I'll Be Gone
00:03:12

Tom Waits, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Kathleen Brennan, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1987 UMG Recordings, Inc.

7
Yesterday Is Here
00:02:28

Tom Waits, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Kathleen Brennan, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1987 UMG Recordings, Inc.

8
Please Wake Me Up
00:03:33

Tom Waits, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Kathleen Brennan, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1987 UMG Recordings, Inc.

9
Franks Theme
00:01:47

Tom Waits, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1987 UMG Recordings, Inc.

10
More Than Rain
00:03:51

Tom Waits, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1987 UMG Recordings, Inc.

11
Way Down In The Hole
00:03:30

Tom Waits, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1987 UMG Recordings, Inc.

12
Straight To The Top (Vegas)
00:03:26

Greg Cohen, ComposerLyricist - Tom Waits, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1987 UMG Recordings, Inc.

13
I'll Take New York
00:03:56

Tom Waits, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1987 UMG Recordings, Inc.

14
Telephone Call From Istanbul
00:03:11

Tom Waits, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1987 UMG Recordings, Inc.

15
Cold Cold Ground
00:04:07

Tom Waits, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1987 UMG Recordings, Inc.

16
Train Song
00:03:18

Tom Waits, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1987 UMG Recordings, Inc.

17
Innocent When You Dream (78)
00:03:09

Tom Waits, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1987 UMG Recordings, Inc.

Album Description

Tom Waits wrote a song called "Frank's Wild Years" for his 1983 Swordfishtrombones album, then used the title (minus its apostrophe) for a musical play he wrote with his wife, Kathleen Brennan, and toured with in 1986. The Franks Wild Years album, drawn from the show, is subtitled, "un operachi romantico in two acts," though the songs themselves do not carry the plot. Rather, this is just the third installment in Waits' eccentric series of Island Records albums in which he seems most inspired by German art song and carnival music, presenting songs in spare, stripped-down arrangements consisting of instruments like marimba, baritone horn, and pump organ and singing in a strained voice that has been artificially compressed and distorted. The songs themselves often are conventional romantic vignettes, or would be minus the oddities of instrumentation, arrangement, and performance. For example, "Innocent When You Dream," a song of disappointment in love and friendship, has a winning melody, but it is played in a seesaw arrangement of pump organ, bass, violin, and piano, and Waits sings it like an enraged drunk. (He points out the arbitrary nature of the arrangements by repeating "Straight to the Top," done as a demented rhumba in act one, as a Vegas-style Frank Sinatra swing tune in act two.) The result on record may not be theatrical, exactly, but it certainly is affected. It also has the quality of an inside joke that listeners are not being let in on.
© William Ruhlmann /TiVo

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