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The Early Years, Vol. 1 Best of


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The Early Years, Vol. 1 + The Early Years, Vol. 2
Price For Both: CDN$ 29.88


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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Sept. 15 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Best of
  • Label: MANIFESTO RECORDS
  • ASIN: B000005DDY
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #8,058 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Goin' Down Slow
2. Poncho's Lament
3. I'm Your Late Night Evening Prostitute
4. Had Me A Girl
5. Ice Cream Man
6. Rockin' Chair
7. Virginia Ave.
8. Midnight Lullabye
9. When You Ain't Got Nobody
10. Little Trip To Heaven
11. Frank's Song
12. Looks Like I'm Up Shit Creek Again
13. So Long I'll See Ya

Product Description

Product Description

Early versions of the Closing Time tunes Ice Cream Man; Virginia Avenue; Midnight Lullaby , and Little Trip to Heaven join Goin' Down Slow; Rockin' Chair; Had Me a Girl , and more!

Amazon.ca

Tom Waits wasn't always the intense, even bizarre pop expressionist he'd become by the 1980s. Before the brilliant dementia of his later work, Waits was just another soft-spoken troubadour with a wicked sense of humour and a special fondness for jazz, blues, and the Beat generation. The roots of his music are revealed within the 13 tracks of The Early Years, a collection of previously unreleased 1971 demo tapes. Waits never intended these recordings for public consumption. But the wise guy pathos of "I'm Your Late Night Evening Prostitute" and the intentionally bad puns of "Had Me a Girl" hold up well as intelligent, charming, early snapshots of an important artist. --Steve Appleford

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By Bill R. Moore on July 11 2002
Format: Audio CD
Tom Waits's The Early Years, though it should by no means be considered a regular album, and certainly not a compilation, is a nice disc to have for hard-core fans of the artist. Consisting of demos (mostly Tom solo on acoustic guitar, occasionally using the piano that would become his trademark) recorded before the release of his debut album, Closing Time, this disc gives fans the wonderful opportunity to hear early versions of songs that would appear on his first three albums, as well as quite a few that never made the cut. Several of these previously unreleased songs are quite good (Goin' Down Slow, Poncho's Lament), and some of the demos are notable for their differences from the eventual released versions. Fans will appreciate these. A great many of the songs are just Tom accompanying himself on acoustic guitar - something that we almost never see on any of his released albums, and a nice treat. Perhaps surprisingly, several of these songs have an almost country-ish vibe to them. There are several gems for hard-core fans to uncover. Granted, these are demos - early ones, at that - and they do pale in comparison to the songs that Tom chose to release; and some of them (Had Me A Girl) are quite immature: you'll be able to see why they were kept in the vaults. Still, if you approach this collection the way it's supposed to be approached - as a fan's only collection of early, unformed Tom Waits songs - then you will get the most out of it. I don't recommend that you get this album until you have every one of Tom Waits's normal released albums (all of which are at least 4 star efforts); but, if you have all of that stuff already, then this is a nice way to further your collection.
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Format: Audio CD
From the skimpy "liner notes" it seems these tracks were recorded in Los Angeles in December, 1971, and not intended for release. All thirteen titles are Waits' compositions as well. Other than that, and not possessing a complete Waits catalog, I can't tell which of these are unavailable in any other form, and which, if any, were later rerecorded.
All tracks produced by Robert Duffey. My guess is that these are early demo tapes... not from the sound quality (which is excellent throughout), but from the performances. Unlike Waits middle-period recordings, in which he played a highly stylized bum/loungelizard/minstrel, and unlike his more recent work that's stretched much farther out, these recording sound much more raw.
A few of the tracks have Waits' late-night jazz sound, but it's less contained, less scripted for a particular image than it became later. The guitar-bass-drum trio of "Goin' Down Slow" gives way to a slide guitar that seems to alternate between C/W and Blues licks. There's an uncharacteristic electric piano mixed in as well. "I'm Your Late Night Evening Prostitute" is one of Waits' characteristic first-person broken-down cabaret lounge-lizard pieces, sung to a piano accompaniment. (You can almost hear people dropping dollars into the tip jar).
Even more of the tracks have a very spare folk sound. "Poncho's Lament" features Waits' plaintive vocal accompanied only by an acoustic guitar. At moments reminiscent of Woody Guthrie (or perhaps the Dylan or Springsteen variations thereof). "Had Me a Girl" has a country-blues sound to it, with Waits' riffing on the line "...my doctor says I'll be alright, but I'm feeling blue...
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By A Customer on Nov. 17 1998
Format: Audio CD
I must praise this album for all that it is worth. Perhaps some hard-core Waits fans may disagree with me, but I'll go out on a limb and say it: this could be the most important piece of your collection. What it promises to do on the CD cover, and delivers upon, is to bring the authentic, rich, small room tightly-packed with close friends and diverse faces atmosphere of a stop along the smoke-filled-bar room tour of a very promising young bluesman. Waits challenges his captivated audience to recall an era in early American music when each sentence was written with integrity and personality controlled beautifully by a gritty, aged voice. Although the album has a few "soft-spots" in its playlist, the first several songs are filled with bountiful memorable tunes and melodies which shall certainly swim around in your mind for hours, and days, even. If you've ever been transported into comfortable company in some imaginary wooden rocking chair overlooking a dusty road of puddles and pebbles while listening to the likes of John Hurt, Leadbelly, or Dylan's rare work ("Rock Me Mama", "I Love You But You're Strange (title?)", the Cash recordings, etc.), you're sure in for a treat. It's worth the trip to another time and place, one of borderline blues/folk feel, and where authenticity creeps out from the floorboards' cracks. I can hear the whispers now, the crackling transistor radio, the tall grasses blowing against the backside of the house, and a wail and a yelp and a moan from Tom Waits as his tapping foot sends vibrations across the kitchen's wooden dance floor. Come on now, pull up a chair and relax. Melt in the atmosphere.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 20 reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
An Excellent Candid Capture Of Soapbox Blues Nov. 17 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I must praise this album for all that it is worth. Perhaps some hard-core Waits fans may disagree with me, but I'll go out on a limb and say it: this could be the most important piece of your collection. What it promises to do on the CD cover, and delivers upon, is to bring the authentic, rich, small room tightly-packed with close friends and diverse faces atmosphere of a stop along the smoke-filled-bar room tour of a very promising young bluesman. Waits challenges his captivated audience to recall an era in early American music when each sentence was written with integrity and personality controlled beautifully by a gritty, aged voice. Although the album has a few "soft-spots" in its playlist, the first several songs are filled with bountiful memorable tunes and melodies which shall certainly swim around in your mind for hours, and days, even. If you've ever been transported into comfortable company in some imaginary wooden rocking chair overlooking a dusty road of puddles and pebbles while listening to the likes of John Hurt, Leadbelly, or Dylan's rare work ("Rock Me Mama", "I Love You But You're Strange (title?)", the Cash recordings, etc.), you're sure in for a treat. It's worth the trip to another time and place, one of borderline blues/folk feel, and where authenticity creeps out from the floorboards' cracks. I can hear the whispers now, the crackling transistor radio, the tall grasses blowing against the backside of the house, and a wail and a yelp and a moan from Tom Waits as his tapping foot sends vibrations across the kitchen's wooden dance floor. Come on now, pull up a chair and relax. Melt in the atmosphere.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Some of Waits' earliest recordings pay off April 2 2000
By hyperbolium - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
From the skimpy "liner notes" it seems these tracks were recorded in Los Angeles in December, 1971, and not intended for release. All thirteen titles are Waits' compositions as well. Other than that, and not possessing a complete Waits catalog, I can't tell which of these are unavailable in any other form, and which, if any, were later rerecorded.
All tracks produced by Robert Duffey. My guess is that these are early demo tapes... not from the sound quality (which is excellent throughout), but from the performances. Unlike Waits middle-period recordings, in which he played a highly stylized bum/loungelizard/minstrel, and unlike his more recent work that's stretched much farther out, these recording sound much more raw.
A few of the tracks have Waits' late-night jazz sound, but it's less contained, less scripted for a particular image than it became later. The guitar-bass-drum trio of "Goin' Down Slow" gives way to a slide guitar that seems to alternate between C/W and Blues licks. There's an uncharacteristic electric piano mixed in as well. "I'm Your Late Night Evening Prostitute" is one of Waits' characteristic first-person broken-down cabaret lounge-lizard pieces, sung to a piano accompaniment. (You can almost hear people dropping dollars into the tip jar).
Even more of the tracks have a very spare folk sound. "Poncho's Lament" features Waits' plaintive vocal accompanied only by an acoustic guitar. At moments reminiscent of Woody Guthrie (or perhaps the Dylan or Springsteen variations thereof). "Had Me a Girl" has a country-blues sound to it, with Waits' riffing on the line "...my doctor says I'll be alright, but I'm feeling blue..."; the rest of the lyrics are fairly insipid rhymes, but the melody and singing are irresistible.
Overall I really like this disc a lot. There's a closeness between singer and listener that often seemed, for me, to be missing from some of Waits' later recordings. The variety of musical approaches is similar to his more recent recordings, but the styles are less extreme: some roots-folk, some quiet electric blues, some loungy jazz. This disc seems more the work of a struggling singer-songwriter than an artist crafting a record.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Fans only July 11 2002
By Bill R. Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Tom Waits's The Early Years, though it should by no means be considered a regular album, and certainly not a compilation, is a nice disc to have for hard-core fans of the artist. Consisting of demos (mostly Tom solo on acoustic guitar, occasionally using the piano that would become his trademark) recorded before the release of his debut album, Closing Time, this disc gives fans the wonderful opportunity to hear early versions of songs that would appear on his first three albums, as well as quite a few that never made the cut. Several of these previously unreleased songs are quite good (Goin' Down Slow, Poncho's Lament), and some of the demos are notable for their differences from the eventual released versions. Fans will appreciate these. A great many of the songs are just Tom accompanying himself on acoustic guitar - something that we almost never see on any of his released albums, and a nice treat. Perhaps surprisingly, several of these songs have an almost country-ish vibe to them. There are several gems for hard-core fans to uncover. Granted, these are demos - early ones, at that - and they do pale in comparison to the songs that Tom chose to release; and some of them (Had Me A Girl) are quite immature: you'll be able to see why they were kept in the vaults. Still, if you approach this collection the way it's supposed to be approached - as a fan's only collection of early, unformed Tom Waits songs - then you will get the most out of it. I don't recommend that you get this album until you have every one of Tom Waits's normal released albums (all of which are at least 4 star efforts); but, if you have all of that stuff already, then this is a nice way to further your collection.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
It's good but not sanctioned by Tom... Dec 28 2004
By dvdtrkr - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The famed "gravel voice" is not on these recordings, if you're a fan of the "Closing Time" and "Heart of Saturday Night" era, you'll love it. I don't think the "Rain Dogs" or "Mule Variation" fans (or even the ones who like the "Small Change" era material) will like it as much, but they'll be curious to at least hear it once. Most of the songs on vol. 1 and 2 are demos from that period. A lot of Dylan, country and folk influences are here more than they would be on later recordings, all the songs stripped down to the basics, probably the way he was performing the songs around that time.

They do sound like polished demos although it also gives it an "honest" sound to it as well.

This is essential for completists who already have everything by him including "Tales From the Underground" (kept within the fan circles) although keep in mind that he fought not to have this released. It is good though....
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Just....Wow! Oct. 13 2005
By j eastman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I had looked up this album to see what others had to say about it, and I was surprised that nobody has given it 5 stars yet...so, let me be the first...

I bought this album way back in '92, when I first spied it in record store in San Francisco - at the time, I had no idea that it wasn't a "true" Tom album. I have to say, that I prefer this album over much of his overproduced 70's work.

As many have stated in other reviews, this album is a collection of demos that Tom did in the early 70's, and a handful of these songs ended up on his later albums. That being said, the fact that this album is a bit underproduced gives it more of an intimate feel...the music, words and Tom's voice pull you in and make you feel sort of warm a cozy - this collection also works well as a whole album - there is a definate continuity between the songs, and it flows together as smoothly as "Heart of a Saturday Night" does.

When it comes to the songs that ended up on studio albums, I prefer to hear the "Early Years" versions rather than the overproduced tracks....'Ice Cream Man' is far superior to the version on "Closing Time"...same can be said for 'Virginia Avenue"...

This is one of those rare early years/demo albums by your favorite artist that don't fall into the "for diehards only" - This is a solid collection of songs - do yourself a favor and pick it up, regardless of what era Waits fan you categorize yourself as..

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