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Nighthawks at the Diner AUS-Import

4.7 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 24 1989)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: AUS-Import
  • Label: Elektra Entertain.
  • ASIN: B000002GYG
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #6,377 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Opening Intro
2. Emotional Weather Report
3. Intro
4. On A Foggy Night
5. Intro
6. Eggs And Sausage (In A Cadillac With Susan ....)
7. Intro
8. Better Off Without A Wife
9. Nighthawk Postcards (From Easy Street)
10. Intro
11. Warm Beer And Cold Women
12. Intro
13. Putnam County
14. Spare Parts I (A Nocturnal Emission)
15. Nobody
16. Intro
17. Big Joe And Phantom 309
18. Spare Parts II And Closing

Product Description

Product Description

Tom recited his evocative jazz poetry (and fired off new rounds of wicked humor) for a live in-studio audience on this 1975 double-LP. He introduces the songs and digs into details of late-night life in LA as you hear Nighthawk Postcards; Putnam County; Emotional Weather Report; Better Off Without a Wife; On a Foggy Night; Warm Beer and Cold Women , and more. His first charting album, now available on CD or double-vinyl!


As tour guide on a trip through the midnight-to-dawn streets of Los Angeles that the beautiful people never see through the smoked- glass windows of their limos, Waits details the lives of hipsters, down-and-outers, and lost causes in latter-day beat poetry and small- jazz-combo arrangements. This live album from 1975 almost has the quality of standup comedy, but the routines are richer and more carefully drawn. Check out the vivid detail, low humor, and hooker- with-a-heart-of-gold emotionalism Waits brings to songs such as "Nighthawk Postcards", "Putnam County", and a memorable reading of trucker poet Red Sovine's "Big Joe and Phantom 309". --Daniel Durchholz

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Featuring a solid band, cool hooks, fantastic beat poetry, and the smokiest, gravelliest voice on record, this is probably Waits' finest work. Although not recorded "live" in the traditional sense, the presence of the studio audience generates plenty of ambience and gives Waits somebody to relate to - his spoken word introductions to most of the songs help draw us into his world, get us past his gruff exterior, and present us with that crucial everyman persona. Working on the darker side of the cocktail jazz strip, the ensemble is also one of the best Waits has ever had. The presence of pianist Mike Melvoin gives the band a strength and solidity that is sometimes lacking in Waits' own keyboard playing, and Pete Christlieb on tenor sax adds plenty of urban sensual warmth. Special mention goes to Jim Hughart's upright bass, which is appropriately striding during the "beat" numbers (the pun-filled "Emotional Weather Report" and "Spare Parts 1" in particular), and mournful during the booze ballads, even using the bow during the warmly nostalgic (almost Garrison Keillor-esque) "Putnam County". But of course the real standout is Waits and the provocative beat poetry that makes him the Charles Bukowski of modern music. Waits has an intense sound with a voice that immediately identifies him as an outsider - rough, gritty, not-quite-broken, but almost "more than a good man could bear". His natural milieu is the barroom wherever it can be found - urban nightclubs to rural roadhouses and any establishment in between where a man who's down on his luck can find a few hours of forgetfulness - but he can also sometimes be located in all-night diners, abandoned roads, and late-night cheap hotels.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
... the front door runs from floor to ceiling, and the doorknob is about 3 feet from the ground. The owner tells the story that back in the 1800s, they didn't want horses in the bar, therefore they placed the doorknobs low so the cowboys would have to get off their horses to open the doors. There's a 10-foot mirror that was built from diamond dust in Glasgow, that was shipped around South America and then brought from San Francisco to Genoa, NV by wagon. The bar and the floor are all original 1850's hardwood, and when it snows, sometimes it's so dark in there you can hardly see the folks at the other end of the bar. There's one pool table, a pot-bellied stove, about 13 bar stools, an old safe that always stands just a little bit open, pictures of people and places and the bar through the years, about 6 generations of dust, and a juke box. Ahhh ... the juke box. That magic box introduced me to Tom Waits over a game of pool with some characters that just stepped out of a Big Chill revival. Warm Beer and Cold Women ... that was the song that did it. This is my first Tom Waits album, the man who sounds to me like a white Louis Armstrong doin' bee-bop. It's the perfect kind of music for the mood of that bar, and it's the perfect kind of music for a night with friends, sharing some good merlot or shiraz and baked brie with blackberry-jalapeno sauce. If you can't experience the bar or the brie, at the very least, you should experience the music.
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Format: Audio CD
I would like to correct a couple of possible misconceptions about this album. A previous reviewer alluded to "manufactured atmosphere". Don't construe this comment in any kind of negative way. I saw Tom Waits perform LIVE in the fall of 1975 at Alex Cooley's Electric Ballroom in Atlanta, GA. Leon Redbone opened for him. I have been to hundreds of live music concerts since, of all types, and this one remains the most memorable. Notice that the album was released in October, 1975. What you hear on this disc is EXACTLY what I saw & heard Tom perform that night. He had some props on stage, including old-fashioned gas pumps during "Burma Shave". The lighting effects were the best I've ever seen, and emphasized his expert use of cigarettes as props - his head & face were often shrouded in a cloud of blue smoke. What I'm getting at is the fact that this recording conveys almost perfectly the sense of being there, regardless of how it was done. Indeed, it is obvious that Tom strove for this live nightclub effect, and achieved it beautifully. The second misconception is the impression given by some reviewers that this is not one of his better ones. I disagree, and would nominate this recording as being the best example of the "essence" of Tom Waits. Others have correctly pointed out that he has inhabited 3 or 4 different personas during his career, with consequently different musical styles. However, I think there is a thread of essential Waits that is present on all the recordings, from the early ones like "Heart of Saturday Night" to "Bone Machine" and "Mule Variations", and I believe that we find that Essential TomWaitsness most perfectly captured on this recording.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
Although Waits has always been an idiosnycratic artist, this is surely his brighest example of perversity. In fact, it is undoubtedly one of the most self-indulgent, masturbatory (there's even two songs alluding to it), arguably overdone albums of the entire singer/songwriter canon. So let me explain why I like it. This is one of the best albums I've ever heard at conjuring up an atmosphere; it really sounds like you're sitting there in a bar listening to Tom do these songs. Certainly, he went to extreme measures to achieve this. For this album, Waits set up an actual nightclub in the Record Plant and invited an audience of friends and fans to listen to him perform this work live in its entirety, as it was recorded. The recording itself is immaculate. The quality is great and crystal-clear and defining, a lot better than on Tom's other albums from this period. It's obvious that a lot of care was put into the conception of this album, and I think it succeeded in what it attempted to accomplish. This is not saying, by any means, that the album is perfect. It can be grating at times, prodding and overlong at others. Most of the songs are prefaced with spoken word, comic bits by Waits that at times are absolutely hilarous. He comes off more as a stand-up comic who also happens to be a musican than simply a musician on this album. Certainly it is a very, very indulgent album, and I don't dare reccommend it to anybody but dedicated Tom Waits fan. Others will surely lose patience with it. This is not Tom Waits's best album - far from it - but fans will revel in it, and he hasn't done this kind of thing since. It's a unique album - for Waits, and, indeed, for anybody. My reccomendation: if you're not familar Tom Waits, you should get some of his better albums first (say, Small Change, Rain Dogs, or Mule Variations.) However, if you dig Waits, you'll definately want to get this.
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