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4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 92.85
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SMALL CHANGE + Heart of Saturday Night + Closing Time
Price For All Three: CDN$ 118.03

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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars classic classic classic Oct. 7 2002
By B-Track
Format:Audio CD
Loved my first Tom Waits album "The Heart of Saturday Night" for its jazzed-up late-night-ramblings feel to it. This was before owning "Small Change," however, and here the ante is upped and Waits delves even deeper into the heart of the diners and back alleys of urban America.
All my favorite songs on this album are a testament to Waits's tremendous versatility. There is the silvertongue scat "Step Right Up..." the jazz dive "The One that Got Away..." the atmospheric "Small Change..." the weep-into-your-beer "Invitation to the Blues." "Invitation" and "Tom Traubert's Blues" (Waltzing Mathilda) are accompanied by heartbreaking strings and piano. The sax and string bass on some of the more jazzed-up tracks are pretty tight.
BTW I completely agree with the reviewer below that "I Can't Wait to Get off Work" would have been better middle-album filler, its slot as the final track of the album is somewhat bewildering. Of all the songs of the album that he could have ended on, this one is mediocre at best. The title track would have been the better choice - he used this to close a live performance on "Austin City Limits" in the late 70s and it was incredible. I'm insanely jealous of anyone who managed to be in the audience that night. For the rest of us, PBS still sometimes airs the reruns, so try and catch it sometime - really is something to see and as far as I know, no recordings of it are commercially available.
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Format:Audio CD
While much hoopla has been made of Tom Waits' early 80's "Frank's Wild Years" trilogy,let's not forget the brilliant work of "Small Change,"Foreign Affair" and "Blue Valentine" from the mid to late 70's.I've long maintained that Waits'career could be divided into three categories:The early,folksy troubadorism of "Closing Time" and "The Heart of Saturday Night",
the "street poet at the piano" of the aforementioned trilogy,and the sonic,avante-gard expressionist of the 80's and 90's.
"Small Change" is a brilliant,essential work that both documents and celebrates the late night barfly lifestyle our hero had come to lovingly embrace at the time.From the first sung lyrics of the impossibly beautiful "Tom Traubert's Blues"- "Wasted and wounded,it ain't what the moon did,got what I paid for now" the mood is set for a joyride in a broken down jalopy through trash-strewn streets at 4am,past the hookers,transients,all-night diner's and strip joints that
haunt Waits' work from this era.His voice,ravaged by alcohol,cigarettes,and God know what else (remember this a guy who lived in a 9 dollar a night motel writing songs for the better part of a decade)maintains a beautiful quality and annotates these tales confidently.There's "Jitterbug Boy",the story of a drunk "holding up a lamp post",bragging of how he's done it all,from sleeping with Marilyn Monroe to having breakfast in the eye of a hurricane,all the while burning hundred dollar bills.On the classic "Invitation to the Blues",
we get the best song Springsteen never wrote.A business man just about to leave town falls for a waitress at a greasy spoon,
gives up his seat on the next bus out of town,and accepts her "invitation".
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5.0 out of 5 stars Tom Terrific... Jan. 7 2002
Format:Audio CD
How much do I love this recording? Well, let's go back to the 70's. There was always someone at a party who would troll through the hosts' record collection and select some atmosphere killing LP by Steely Dan, or Zappa, or Todd Rundgren, and, get this, they'd want you to love it too.I always left for the kitchen when this happened, but one party I guess I was a little slow afoot and I got hooked into hearing a couple of cuts from this wonderful album.So I went out and got it for myself. The first and last time a party troll ever influenced any record purchase of mine. On this ,Tom's fourth release, he completely succeeds in melding the Barfly-Bukowsky-Boho-meets The Beats influences into a cohesive and focused (if a barfly's eyes can focus)piece of work that is unmistakably Tom's own. It's hilarious (The Piano Has Been Drinking), sentimental in a good way (Tom Traubert's Blues, a song so good even disco era Rod Stewart couldn't ruin it)and hip,or hep as the case may be (Step Right Up). Everything on here is wonderful and the small authentic bopster/cool combo headed by L.A. jazz drummer Shelly Manne keeps everything swinging madly.Tom Waits is by no means an idiot and he realized he couldn't keep going to this same well.He handed the keys to his Caddy to Rickie Lee Jones and set out to make "serious" music that certain of my egghead friends assure me is a wonderful mix of Kurt Weill, musique concrete and a whole bunch of modern classical composers.Hmm...okay. Me, I'd rather be rained on with my own .38 .So I'll stick to old fashioned Tom Waits straight up with a twist. That's how much I love this record.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An invitation to the blues Dec 12 2001
Format:Audio CD
This album is nothing short of astonishing. It is a sort of culmination of Tom Waits's early work, his archetypal 70's album. He remains lyrically "chained to the same bowl of vomit" (as Nick Cave once put it so eloquently), which in his case is the seedy, late night, underworld of bars with beer-stained carpets and smoke-filled air. This does focus less on scene-setting and more on character sketches and narratives, but the lyrics are pure Waits: full of the off-color imagery and crazy internal rhyming that is distinctly his. The album is divided between jazzy, piano-based songs (with occasional orchestral backing), and a few more musically mundane pieces, featuring something along the line of spoken-word pieces. The first song is the excellent Tom Traubert's Blues (God only knows where some of Waits's song titles come from) - this is the first Waits song that I ever heard, and, when I heard it, the voice almost knocked me out. It's just yet another signature element. Step Right Up is a hilarous scat piece. Other highlights include Invitation To The Blues, The One That Got Away, and the surreal title track. This album also includes two of Waits's all-time classic songs, The Piano Has Been Drinking and Bad Liver And A Broken Heart (possibly one of my favorite songs of his.) This is certainly an essential Waits album, and it's not a bad place for a new fan to start.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Tom at his best! Review of import from Japan
This is the Waits album I heard first it also my favorite of his albums (well this and Bone Machine). This album is where Tom found his voice. Both singing and writing wise. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Stephen Bieth
5.0 out of 5 stars What more can be said
Hmm... from the opening stretches of piano & strings in "Tom Trauberts Blues" to the wrap-up of "I Can't Wait to Get Off Work" this cd is a masterful... Read more
Published on April 21 2004 by Josh A McCormack
5.0 out of 5 stars Takes me to another place
On this album Tom takes the listener to the same place "Notes from the Underground" takes the reader. Read more
Published on March 8 2004 by Rollie Anderson
5.0 out of 5 stars The man can do no wrong
Another superb offering from the poet laureate of Skid Row. This album from the bluesy vagrant phase of Waits's career features more brilliant storytelling ("Small... Read more
Published on Dec 31 2003 by David Bonesteel
3.0 out of 5 stars For die-hard fans only
As far as music is concerned this record is very weak. For most of the time Tom Waits just mumbles his poetry pretending to play piano. Read more
Published on Nov. 4 2003 by Nihlus
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpieces Hold Up
I first heard this album when it came out in 1977 and listened to it until the grooves turned white. Read more
Published on Sept. 17 2003 by A. T. Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Tom Waits is the patron saint of everything small
Tom Waits is a great American poet, a genius who has created an entire lyric world where somehow wasted life is full of value. Read more
Published on July 1 2003 by mark twain
5.0 out of 5 stars Step right up. Buy this right now.
I started my Tom Waits collection late in life - I picked up "Alice" when it came out. Until then, I was only vaguely familiar with his work. Read more
Published on April 22 2003 by Clay Davis
4.0 out of 5 stars Better
Solid. 'New Orleans,' 'Jitterbug Boy'--complete filler. 'Get Off Work,' astoundingly mediocre. Should've closed with title track (sureal, great). Read more
Published on March 22 2002 by GeoX
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece
This was the very first Tom Waits album I bought and my God...I was speechless after hearing it. When the album opened with Tom Traubert's Blues, I was instantly addicted to it. Read more
Published on Feb. 25 2002 by Marcus Kristiansson
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