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Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards (3 CDs) [Best of, Box set]

Tom Waits Audio CD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 40.21 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards (3 CDs) + Small Change + Closing Time
Price For All Three: CDN$ 61.86

  • Small Change CDN$ 12.62
  • Closing Time CDN$ 9.03

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Product Details


Disc: 1
1. Lie To Me
2. LowDown
3. 2:19
4. Fish In The Jailhouse
5. Bottom Of The World
6. Lucinda
See all 16 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Bend Down The Branches
2. You Can Never Hold Back Spring
3. Long Way Home
4. Widow's Grove
5. Little Drop Of Poison
6. Shiny Things
See all 20 tracks on this disc
Disc: 3
1. What Keeps Mankind Alive
2. Children's Story
3. Heigh Ho
4. Army Ants
5. Books Of Moses
6. Bone Chain
See all 18 tracks on this disc

Product Description

Amazon.ca

With these astounding 54 songs (plus two bonus tracks) Tom Waits has added a vital new work to his catalog. The title, Orphans, refers to the songs either being from a range of outside projects, various impulses, and whims, or simply not having found a place on the albums for which they were intended. While that scenario has constituted a stopgap measure for lesser artists, this set stands alongside Waits's finest work. He has shaped it into three separate discs, each one separately titled after the prevailing character of its tracks and playing with its own mood and dramatic arc. Brawlers favors raucousness and uptempo grinds and grooves, while Bawlers showcases balladry and the more overtly poetic. Bastards is a funhouse of angular characters, spiky anecdotes, shaggy dogs, and even a Kurt Weill cover. The set offers everything from the amped-up rockabilly hiccuping of "Lie to Me" to the breathtaking perfection of "Shiny Things," and from the outraged political reporting of "Road to Peace" to the closing-time lament of "Little Man." --David Greenberger

More from Tom Waits


Rain Dogs


Swordfishtrombones


Closing Time


Franks Wild Years


The Heart of Saturday Night


Small Change


Mule Variations


Nighthawks at the Diner


Bone Machine


Real Gone



Product Description

"A lot of songs that fell behind the stove while making dinner" is how Tom Waits describes his new three-disc set, Orphans. The collection goes far beyond a simple career retrospective, with over 30 newly recorded songs - from Wait's own versions of songs he gave to other artist to some "things I recorded in the garage with the kids" - while over two thirds of the material has never been heard before now. In addition to the new work, Orphans features a number of tracks finding a home on a Waits album for the first time. The first disc, called Brawlers, is chock full of raucous blues and full-throated juke-joint stomp; second disc Bawlers contains Celtic and country ballads, waltzes, lullabies, piano and classic lyrical Wait's songs, while third disc Bastards is filled with experimental music, stories and jokes.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
By Stephen Bieth TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
First off I am a huge Tom Waits fan. This guy can literally make garbage can lids sound musical. Not only that but his works has been nothing but consistent his whole career. This like the Dylan box set will have you scratching your head as to why a lot of these songs were left off the records. Of course every one is not a gem but there are more good to great songs then duds. The version of the box set I picked up also has the lyrics. I don't know if the digi pack version does. The songs are not just chronological listed like they are in most box sets but (like the Zeppelin box set) they are divided by style of music. It gives a much nicer flow to each of the three discs.
This is not for first time buyers but people who know Wait's music but you don't need to be a completes to enjoy it. But if you want to check him out your better off with "Small Change" or "Bone Machine" to start. If you have any of his records and like what you have heard you should check this out. The music is from a long period of time so you do get a taste of all the styles he has gone through.
I love that artists are doing this now instead of letting some record company put a sub par collection out after their death. Like Neil Young said about his huge retrospectives (that are out or coming out) that he wants to do it right and then burn the rest.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow Nov. 23 2006
Format:Audio CD
This collection of Waits' scattered "orphans" actually makes for his most unified album since Bone Machine. It's a triple concept album knockout. Classic thumping what's-that-sound Waits, beautiful piano-bound melancholies and fish. And rain. Always the rain... Tom! Please tour!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mainly for the completist June 16 2012
Format:Audio CD
I've been a fan of Tom Waits since the 80s, beginning with albums such as "The Heart of Saturday Night," "Small Change," and of course "Nighthawks at the Diner." Virtually all of his releases have been great since then, right up to "Glitter and Doom" and "Bad as Me."

This collection, "Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards" is something else. It is easy for me to see why most of these songs were left off previous albums. Compared to Waits' output over the years, these songs just don't measure up. If you MUST have everything available from Waits, then by all means get hold of this collection, but most of these tracks do not hold up to repeated listing.

For those who want to get some of Tom Wait's finest work, one can recommend the best-of collection "Beautiful Maladies: The Island Years." One would also not want to miss "Mule Variations," "Blood Money," or "Alice"--CDs that do indeed hold up to repeated listening and time. To me, "Orphans" represents the discernment Tom Waits and his producers have shown over the years by previously rejecting these songs.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  131 reviews
124 of 129 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spectcular Music Journey Visiting Every Genre Nov. 22 2006
By prisrob - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
"What's Orphans? I don't know. Orphans is a dead end kid driving a coffin with big tires across the Ohio River wearing welding goggles and a wife beater with a lit firecracker in his ear." Tom Waits

A 54 song masterpiece is what I call this new Tom Waits 3 CD rumble. A phalanx of songs from every period of life and every genre of American music. He has separated these 3 CD's into a concise set of marvelously named originals called 'Orphans"- 'Brawlers, Bawlers, and Bastards'. His wife Kathleen collaborated with Tom, and they have done his fine whiskey voice justice.

Brawler, disc one, was my least favorite, but I have listened 4 times and this set has grown close to my heart. The 16 songs on this disc are a mix of juke box, Muddy Waters blues and honky tonk, clangy tunes. 'Sea of Love' is done with a clever twist.

'Bawlers', disc two, is my favorite full of ballads of gone wrong. 20 songs a mixture of saloon songs , Celtic songs and torch songs. 'Tell It To Me' is a country song full of yearning and the rest of the group is as lovely and sad as you would want. They all give a message of the end of the road and hope is strong.

'Bastards' is an amalgamation of songs that don't fit elsewhere. 20 songs, some experimental, from Army Ants to King Kong and a poem by Bukowski. Tom Waits has some strange stories to tell on disc 3- 'night, night'. This is the perfect ending to a three series set that frames the art written and sung by Tom Waits.

Tom Waits was named as one of VH-1's Most Influential Artists of All Time, and it is no surprise that Waits' body of work has long been covered by other musicians. "There is also a long list of artists who have cited Waits as an inspiration, including Bob Dylan who named Tom as one of his "secret heroes". Boston Phoenix

As Tom Wait said in an interview "The center of this record is my voice. I try my best to chug, stomp, weep, whisper, moan, wheeze, scat, blurt, rage, whine, and seduce. With my voice, I can sound like a girl, the boogieman, a Theremin, a cherry bomb, a clown, a doctor, a murderer...I can be tribal. Ironic. Or disturbed. My voice is really my instrument". And Tom Waits has given us his best instrument wrapped up in gold. A truly special series of songs for all of us Tom Waits fans. Bravo.

Highly Recommended. prisrob 11/22/06
60 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unearthed Dec 17 2006
By K. H. Orton - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Well, Waits has finally emptied out the orphange. Then burnt it to the ground. Torched it. Holding court like a manic Fagin, Waits sets loose enough Oliver Twists & Artful Dodgers to live up to it's title.

Thoughtfully sequenced over 3 discs, Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards says it all. Starting off with the demented Rockabilly of "Lie To Me", Brawlers lies somewhere between 1999's Mule Variations & 2004's "Real Gone". Highlights include the take-no-prisoners, "Fish In The Jailhouse" & a cover of Leadbelly's "Ain't Goin' Down To The Well" that defies easy categorization. Also notable is the gutter Gospel of "Lord I've Been Changed" & the rousing hobo ballad, "Bottom Of The World". While the heart of "Road To Peace" is certainly in the right place, this overtly political treatise quickly wears out its welcome after 1 listen. But despite the monotony of "Peace", things like "Rains On Me" & his barnstorming turn with The Ramones' "Jackie & Judy" are guaranteed to have you coming back for more.

If the unholy onslaught of "Real Gone" alienated any fans of Waits' softer side, Bawlers more than makes up for any ruffled feathers. "You Can Never Hold Back Spring" beautifully harks back to Waits' earlier work while rousing ballads like "Never Let Go Of Your Hand" rank as some of his best. No one spikes a dirge with bittersweet heartbreak like Waits & the likes of "Little Drop OF Poison" & "It's Over" are classics, pure & simple. For those who've heard Johnny Cash's version of "Down There By The Train", fans can finally hear the song in it's entirety. Perhaps Cash felt silly singing "Humptry Jackson" or "Gyp The Blood" but it comes at the expense of, "and Charlie Whitman is holding on to Dillinger's wings". Along with the aformentioned, the world weary "Goodnight Irene" & "If I Have To Go" are sure to make Bawlers the disc that gets the most play in the collection.

By & large Bastards consists of Waits' signature spoken word pieces & some truely ecclectic covers. Brecht/Weill's "What Keeps Mankind Alive" seems tailor made & his take on "Heigh Ho" is the stuff of legend. Here Snow White's cute little friends come off more like pissed off trolls ominously digging their way into hell. Jack Kerouac has always been an acknowledged influence & with "Home I'll Never Be " & "On The Road" Waits presents 2 dramatically different renditions of the same song. Both are indispensible. As is his turn on Skip Spence's apocalyptic, "Books Of Moses". Only Daniel Johnson's "King Kong" is the least welcome. Along with "Road To Peace" it ranks as the most monotonous number on the collection. And if the instrumental "Redrum" sounds like a bunch of kids messing around in Waits' garage---well, that's exactly what it is. As for the spoken word pieces, "First Kiss" is sure to keep you coming back for more. Among the few original songs on this disc, "Altar Boy" gloriously harks back to the drunken heydays of "Piano Has Been Drinking". Elsewhere, "Dog Door" & Spidey's Wild Ride" could've has easily slipped off of "Real Gone". If that weren't enough, Waits has a few hidden surprises in store, sure to appease fans of Nighthawks At The Diner.

All in all, this is the Waits equivalent of Johnny Cash's Unearthed. The motherlode. Move over Teddy Roosevelt, time to chisle Tom's craggy mug up next to the Man In Black on Mt. Rushmore.
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's Tom Waits, and therefore excellent April 6 2007
By Wheelchair Assassin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Nobody does grizzled and world-weary quite like Tom Waits, and coming off 2004's incredible Real Gone, the mammoth three-disc collection Orphans is yet more proof of his bizarre genius. Even putting aside the abundance of great music it contains, it is, if nothing else, a fitting tribute to Waits's persistently uncommercial, marketing-be-damned approach to his music. Comprised of a whopping 54 songs (both Waits originals and covers) and clocking in at about three hours, Orphans is vintage Waits from beginning to end-unvarnished, unconventional, and uncompromising. Given the enormous amount of variety to be found here, everyone's going to have their personal favorites, but whichever tracks one prefers there's no denying that Orphans makes the perfect testament to Waits's endless creativity, stinging wit and gritty, PhD-in-life sensibility.

Waits has long been a a man of many personas-demented carnival barker, old testament prophet, Jesus freak, depression-era bluesman-and even more than his more traditional albums Orphans shows off his chameleonic nature to the fullest extent. With its ample available space, Orphans allows Waits to induldge in genre exercises ranging from rockabilly (Lie To Me); to baroque pop (Little Drop of Poison); to swamp blues (Buzz Fledderjohn); to gospel (Lord I've been changed) without ever sounding like just an imitator of his varied influences. That said, Waits is still at his best when he dwells in a musical territory all his own, be it noisy, free-form experimentation or more reflective, sparsely instrumented balladry.

Each disc brings with its own unique feel, with the first one feeling the most like a proper Waits album in the vein of such all-encompassing classics as Rain Dogs and Bone Machine. Waits gets his classic-rock fix taken are of early with the scorching Low Down, whose big, brash guitar riffs wouldn't sound out of place in the '60's. The clamorous percussion and dizzying time signatures of Fish in the Jailhouse should please fans of Waits's more eccentric side, or just those like this writer who crave something abrasive and weird. Providing a sharp contrast to these tunes, but still very much in line with Waits's overall approach, are the downcast resignation of the bluesy, guitar-driven Road to Piece (a seven-minute examination of the conflict in Israel) and the closing lament of Rains on Me.

The ballad-heavy second disc, while occasionally a tad forgettable, is still home to some of the most brilliant material of Waits's career. The triumphant Take Care of All of My Children is driven by a stirring, martial drum beat, while the following Down There by the Train manages to expertly combine sadness, regret, and hope through Waits's singularly poetic lyrical imagery ("There's no eye for an eye/There's no tooth for a tooth/I saw Judas Iscariot carryin' John Wilkes Booth"-brilliant). In somewhat of a curveball for Waits, Never Let Go is inspiring and poignant in its straightforward message of devotion. There's also a great, booze-sodden lament in Goodnight Irene, which finds Waits's nicotine-stained voice at its most raw and unhinged.

The third disc is a nod to every side of the schizophrenic last two decades of Waits's career, with unstructured noise explorations (the mutant jazz-blues-rock workout Heigh Ho is hard-edged and ominous even for Waits) to a slew of spoken-word pieces to some more tender ballads. Waits starts off the disc by breaking out his classic rasp on the delightfully malevolent What Keeps Mankind Alive, and backs himself up with some inspired vocal beat-boxing on the Spidey's Wild Ride and King Kong. The latter track is especially interesting, with Waits's pained wail augmented by some ear-piercing guitar squeals and a subterranean bass line as he declaims the tragic story of, well, King Kong, with all the gravity of a character delivering the closing monologue of a Shakespearean tragedy.
39 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing testimony to Tom Waits's genius -- a must own for fans Nov. 21 2006
By Robert Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This is simply a stunning collection of great music. The most amazing thing about it is that it doesn't contain much that can compare with his very, very best work. There is nothing to compare with the best cuts on RAIN DOGS, for instance. But imagine any Tom Waits album. Knock off the top one or two songs and then imagine the next two or three best songs. This three CD set pulls together some 50-odd songs of that quality, just a staggering number of very good songs. And weirdly enough, at some point sheer quantity does become quality. After RAIN DOGS and perhaps SWORDFISHTROMBONES, well maybe CLOSING TIME as well, this just might be the next most essential Tom Waits album. It provides an incredible overview to everything his music is about and provides examples of nearly every form at which he excels.

This is not a perfect collection. For instance, there are far too many spoken-word cuts, a form I've never been fond of with any artist, though I will add that Waits is better than most. One wonders if this would have been better as a two-CD collection. Still, even the filler is high quality filler. And although there is nothing on this album that will count among my very favorite songs ever, as do other Waits songs like "Downtown Train," "Time," "Yesterday is Here," or "Blind Love," there are a huge number of wonderfully compelling songs. As I write this, for instance, I've been listening to "World Keeps Turning" and "Tell It to Me." These are not among the very best cuts on the set, but they are nonetheless immensely satisfying to listen to.

The most astonishing thing about this set of what is basically a collection of rarities, many of them re-recorded for this album, is the sheer quantity. This much exceedingly good music makes you wonder if Waits, despite his already high acclaim, has been underrated. This is the kind of set that we are used to Dylan releasing, a set of occasional pieces, things that in one way might almost be considered "B" material, but that are superior to most performers' "A" stuff.

I personally like the first two discs more than the third, though even it has some great cuts. As I mentioned above, I'm just not a fan of spoken-word songs and most of them are on the final disc. Virtually every cut on the first two discs is at least decent and most are far more than that. I could list some of my favorites, but there wouldn't be much of a point; there are just too many fine songs. Let me just say this: if you are a fan of Tom Waits, you must -- and I really do mean you really, truly must -- own this album. In fact, it truly belongs on the short list of essential discs. It is an anthology, but an anthology of stuff that is more or less inaccessible. Many Waits fans were looking forward to this set, but the great news is that it exceeds expectations.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Tom Waits fan's must-buy Dec 4 2006
By S. Walsh - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This review is for people considering the seemingly steep $45 price tag--since I know that loyal Waits fans will pay any price. All three discs are worth the price of a normal disc, since each has 16 or 20 songs. This isn't a greatest hits album or updated old tunes but a collection of new songs that span what has to be the widest variety of musical genres that one artist has dared put into one release.

Tom Waits gets classified into "Folk" by many music services, but this appellation must equate to a musical wild card, the "thing" in a noun's "person, place, or thing" that covers everything you can't nail down as standard. Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan are probably the only qualified personnel who can set these gems into a particular category-- [...]. I would create a new genre called "Carnival Gothic" or "Barroom Classical," but they would still fall short.

Suffice it to say that each song takes you on a journey outside of your daily routine. That walk may cross into melancholy territory, but you emerge changed, and that's what great art does. In these 56 songs you will be introduced to characters who are desperate, nostalgic, and endearing--they tell the story of the old man in the corner of the bar, the crazy lady in the desert antique store, and the vagrant ex-con in the back of the boxcar--stories self-preservation and sanity kept you from hearing. It stands alone as an incredible addition to his vast 30+ year opus that I hope will continue to grow. Each of these three discs will be played as often as my other single Tom Waits albums. I'm so happy to have three hours of new Tom Waits to listen to you'd think it was Christmas Morning.

Well if you were on the fence about purchasing this album, hopefully I snuck up and pushed you off.
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