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Heartattack and Vine

4.6 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Nov. 20 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Elektra Entertain.
  • ASIN: B000002GWR
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #12,973 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Heartattack And Vine
2. In Shades
3. Saving All My Love For You
4. Downtown
5. Jersey Girl
6. 'Til The Money Runs Out
7. On The Nickel
8. Mr. Siegal
9. Ruby's Arms

Product Description


Tom Waits's hipster persona began to evaporate at the beginning of the 1980s, but not before he released the transitional-- but eminently worthwhile--Heartattack and Vine, which contained "On the Nickel", a Dickensian tale of street life, and "Jersey Girl," a song Bruce Springsteen gave a far wider airing to on his Live 1975-1985 box set. You can hear hints of Waits's style growing more trenchant on songs like "Downtown" and the stark, bluesy title track, which contains the immortal line "Don't you know there ain't no devil / That's just God when he's drunk." Indeed. --Daniel Durchholz

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
No matter what style of music Tom Waits' experiments with, his strongest card is always his lyrics. Before this album, I always found "Closing Time" to be the album that best captures whimsical lyrics of romance, heartbreak, and past loves (no matter how coarse and cynical you may be, try getting through "Martha" or "Grapefruit Moon" without feeling a tug-of-a-heartstring).
Where "Closing Time" had a unique mix of jazz, country, and a smattering of blues, "Heartattack & Vine" plays a harder blues style throughout most of the CD. The songs that steal the show, however, steer away from that raw-blues style.
"Jersey Girl" is an acoustic piece that is an atypical Tom Waits love song. The surprise is that it is a love song by Tom Waits without sarcasm, pining or regret, yet it sounds very much like Tom Waits. And while not a sad song, it is still quite the tearjerker. Perhaps this is because of Waits' gutteral character singing all-out vulnerable worship for the blue-collar Jersey Girl he has fallen in love with. One of the greatest love songs ever written.
"On The Nickel" contains probably the most devastating and beautiful lyrics I have ever heard. "The Nickel" refers to a section of Fifth Street in Downtown Los Angeles that was gathering place for the homeless and down-&-out folks during the depression era. The song is the title score for the 1980 film by Ralph Waite. The music rings like a childrens' lullaby, with the words harking to the days when these now hapless "Nickel" characters were just little boys running amok and making mischief.
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Format: Audio CD
This album bleeds with lyrical genius...or maybe it's just the Satanist in me...Truly though, the lines are beautiful: "How do the angels get to sleep when the devil leaves his porch light on", and "Don't you know there ain't no devil, there's just god when he's drunk". I never thought I'd have a favorite album in my life, or a favorite song. There's just too much good stuff out there. But after swimmin' around in this one for awhile there wasn't any chance of escaping. I'll always find myself on Heartattack and Vine, with Mr. Siegal my best and only friend. It's passion, it's love, it's blues, it's vegas, it's being drunk, it's the ups and downs of life's great roller coaster all summed up in one album. When you find yourself at the bottom of bargain scotch you can crank these tunes out, and
trust me, you'll feel like Tom is right there with you. I used to play this album daily at a bar I worked at in Edinburgh Scotland. Those crazy drunkards really loved it to death, which says alot more than any review here can.
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Format: Audio CD
With the release of this very strong album in 1980, it became clear that Tom Waits was trying to sneak out of the artistic corner that he had put himself in. Though his first two albums were of a more conventional piano bar man/lounge lizard type, he had since released a series of albums that had set him typecast as a grizzled, drunken, madman bohemian poet/barstool philosopher who chronicled life's dark underbelly with sarcasm, wit, and cynical aplomb. Perhaps sensing that he was beginning to trap himself in a musical straight jacket, Waits was clearly beginning to break out of his own invented musical persona with this album, foreshadowing his totally unexpected and successful musical re-invention with Swordfishtrombones. This was the blusiest Tom Waits album up to this point, shying away from the jazzier influences that had dominated his last several releases. We have a basic, stripped-down musical combo - The "Tom Waits Band" - here that serves us well on most of the songs - which is not to say that the album is not interlaced with delicate piano work and shimmering strings. Waits crows more like a bluesman here as well. Lyrically, Waits had reached the apex of his humor with 1977's Foreign Affairs, and of his... ahem, strangeness with 1978's Blue Valentine. And here, certain of the songs certainly continue along in this vein - namely the title track, 'Till The Money Runs Out, and Mr. Siegel - songs in which Waits cackles and crows along to a bluesy, rhythmically-solid backing in an old "bloozy boozy" voice about topics so outrageous that they nearly defy belief - indeed, the lyrics here may well be Tom Waits at his most outrageous and racy.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
Tom Waits never matched this album's grungy, blues/funk tone, and although he is a master of heart break, few Waits ballads will tickle your tear ducts like the wistful "Jersey Girl" or the ethereally tender "On A Nickel," a song that marks Waits's most successful incorporation of strings, as well as an almost frightening resemblance to Louis Armstrong's raspy vocals.
Waits sequenced this album like a gourmet chef who knows the delicacy of the musical pallate. The songs will fluctuate effortlessly from swamps of electric guitar and funky drum beats, as on the unforgettable title track, to some of his most memorable piano ballads ever. If you like his more agressive music, get this album, if you like the softer side of Tom Waits, get this album too. Something for everyone.
The album's clear dividing line between rock and jazz foreshadows the more theatrical output to come, such as the baffling Swordfishtrombones of 1983 or the downright cryptic Bone Machine of 1992. Heartattack and Vine is the gem in between periods of Wait's career, and it is an absolute obligation for anyone who wants to know why this musical madman has one of the most loyal cult followings in the world.
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