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Nighthawks At The Diner

Tom Waits

1975

Nighthawks At The Diner

Album Summary

Nighthawks at the Diner is the third studio album by singer and songwriter Tom Waits, released on October 21, 1975 on Asylum Records. It was recorded over four sessions in July in the Los Angeles Record Plant studio in front of a small invited audience set up to recreate the atmosphere of a jazz club. The album peaked at 164 on the Billboard 200, the highest place Waits had held at the time, and is currently certified silver by the BPI. It has received critical acclaim for its successful mood-setting, capturing of the jazz-club atmosphere and characterization.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.02

Votes

5092

Genres

  • Folk
  • Singer Songwriter
Reviews
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View Author
Mon Dec 07 2020
4

This album was recorded over the course of two nights in a studio made up like a jazz club, complete with an invitation-only crowd. Tom Waits works the room, introducing almost every number with a story, then easing into the song, sometimes singing, sometimes merely pontificating while the crowd encourages him. It's a format that might not work for any other artist, but it's perfect for Waits' neo-noir hangdog vagabond persona. There are parts of Tom Waits' discography that I don't completely get, but not this. This works. Best track: Eggs and Sausage (In a Cadillac with Susan Michelson)

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Fri Jan 15 2021
5

Brilliant jazz spoken word/ sung style. Relaxing and hilarious, Tom Waits nails his characterization. Would have loved to hear the recording with those in the audience.

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Thu Jul 22 2021
2

Waits pulls off as his rambler in the corner concept brilliantly as far sonic textures and plausible performance goes. The audience banter, the desultory storytelling, the 'Oh yeah, I'm supposed to actually be playing this instrument' moments, the recording quality. It's a great atmosphere. But atmosphere is only half the egg--for arguement's sake, let's say the yolk. You've still got to bind it together, and at points this is so loose you can feel the yellow goo dripping down your arm and on to the floor (does this egg metaphor even work?) Basically, the weighting is wrong and however much I love the clever phrase-making, vocabularly showboating and cute aesthetics, those things are never gonna balance it. You simply don't feel compelled to hear enougg of these songs again, a bad sign for any album but especially one with so many. Worth saying that while the songs might not lure you back in, this does deepen the longer it goes on. I guess that's atmosphere for you.

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Thu Nov 04 2021
2

I do not understand the appeal of Tom Waits in general or this album in particular. Every track is essentially the same. Tom says, "Weeell. Mumble mumble grumble mumble, vague rhyme, mumble mumble, vague rhyme, grumble mumble. Yeah." And then the crowd applauds his pretentious, pseudo-intellectual bullshit. The real star of the show isn't Tom. It's the bass player who's working his fingers off trying to carry the whole album on his back. Jim Hughart is a beast of a player. He's the only person doing any significant amount of work and is the only reason this album got two stars from me. I almost gave the album an indifferent three stars but then Tom had a nice long monologue about masturbation and, well, he sort of lost me there. I spent the rest of the album just waiting for the damn thing to be over.

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Sat Jan 16 2021
5

Absolutely delightful, young Tom live. Laughs, jokes, and so many jazz. Maybe all you need to listen this is a pack of cigarettes and a bourbon, maybe not.

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Fri Jun 25 2021
5

I love you Grandpa Tom. Not my favourite of his albums, but still contains enough mercurial magic to keep me delighted from start to finish. Lovely jazz-stand-up meanderings that show off his sharp mind. Still, wish it had a few more actual songs.

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Thu Jul 22 2021
5

Absolute mastery of the piano and the audience. They are absolutely gagging for it and they get every bit of it and more. God it would be so great to be there. For what this is and for this perfect moment in time, for me it’s perfect. Turns out it was actually recorded in a studio, not in a real jazz club, which makes a helluva lotta sense as to why it sounds so liquid smoooth. This album has everything I love about TW within, the bukowski style turn of phrase storytelling and the soaring vocal melodies that bring a tear to my eye.

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Tue Jan 26 2021
4

When I started doing these, I thought about have a "will I look for it on vinyl," as part of my ratings. This one will for sure be one that I would love have in the background while hangout out with friends. I kind of rushed the Bob Dylan review (I was really trying not to skip a day with these, but I realize I will get more of out them if I don't rush) so I didn't mention that I found his lyrics to be strange to the point of opacity. Tom's lyrics, however, manage to be both brilliant, and understandable, which to me was a lot more enjoyable. As for the music itself, I remember someone mentioned to me years ago that Tom's early recordings were "lounge singer stuff," and I see now what they meant. This isn't something I would listen to in my car, but as the cover art suggests, it's the perfect soundtrack to midnight "eggs and sausage and a side of toast." My personal enjoyment: 4/5 Did it belong on this list: 5/5

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Thu Jul 22 2021
1

The sort of atmosphere being evoked here (smoke filled club, moody lighting, disheveled raconteur-crooner, audience tittering as glasses chink) doesn’t actually exist in the real world. It exists only in fiction. In trying to recreate the natural rambling flow of a night in a no-good joint, Waits cannot escape the artifice of his creation. He gets so caught up in evoking the mood, and creating a “reality” that he forgets to imbue it with any actual songs.

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Mon Dec 12 2022
5

Not my usual thing but clearly fantastic. Like sitting with the most interesting stranger you've met in a bar of late night cafe. A collection of stories really.

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Thu Jan 14 2021
4

i only know of Tom Waits because of a TFOT song. is this a live album? his voice is so gravely. perfect for this kind of music. real jazzy intro. very much a story telling method of vocals/lyrics. exactly what you expect at a late night jazz club. tom waits is definitely a storyteller. enjoyed listening to this album, though it's probably not something i'll come back to often.

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Mon Feb 22 2021
4

Just a man telling his stories and some jazz in the background. But I love it. It couldn't be bad with that voice and that jazz. A studio recorded album that tried to recreate the feel of a small jazz club and succeeded.

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Sun May 23 2021
4

Kind of a turning point for me within Tom Waits discography. This is the performance when he turns into the type of performer you hear from here onwards. This is as much of a mood-place as you can get. Instant smoky-jazz club. I want to live here. Every time I see a plate of eggs and sausage I think of Tom Waits now. I will say it's not an album I listen to much though, none of the songs are really best listened to in isolation, if I listen to this it's the entire album.

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Tue Aug 10 2021
3

Like the concept and loose feel of the album. Although I did not love this album, i respect it and admired the musicality of Waits and the jazz band. Will save for late night listens

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Thu Apr 01 2021
5

I always thought this album was a live recording. But reading the wiki taught me something.

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Tue Apr 27 2021
5

One of my fav Tom Waits records. Brilliant.

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Mon Jan 25 2021
5

perfect

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Sat Jan 23 2021
5

Gold

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Fri Jan 29 2021
5

Tom acompaña y reconforta.

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Mon Jul 19 2021
5

Tämä oli hauska ja tunnelmallinen levy, joka piti otteessaan pitkästä kestostaan huolimatta. Tässä pystyi hyvin kuvittelemaan klubin ja näkemään raspikurkkuisen viihdyttäjän kertomassa tarinoitaan yleisölle. Huumoriakin oli mukana. Ei hittibiisejä, mutta kokonaisuutena loistava!

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Tue Mar 23 2021
5

Приятная болтовня под музычку

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Thu May 13 2021
5

cool

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Tue Aug 24 2021
5

This is the Apoclypse Now of ablums you need to hear! Maybe it was the rain coinciding with one of the opening tracks being a weather report but I was immediately hooked on the vibe of this album. Mostly amazing poetry but it was also funnier than most other comedy albums I've heard over the past few years. And the fact that it's all live was the icing on the cake. Someone once told me that Apocylpse Now is such a good movie but it's a shame you can't put it on all the time... You have to SET aside time to really soak it in, and that's how I feel about this album. Definately time well spent. A real treat from a geniuine and honest artist.

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Thu Sep 02 2021
5

Cool album

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Sun Sep 12 2021
5

I actually already have listened to this one. In fact, I have it on vinyl. Its really a special album, and my introduction into Tom Waitts. The atmosphere of this album really makes you feel like your in some dingy diner late at night listening to the wise advice of some traveled troubadour. Truly a phenomenal album.

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Sun Oct 03 2021
5

Stand-up & blues concert at one time? It’s Tom Waits!

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Thu Oct 07 2021
5

Прекрасен

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Fri Nov 12 2021
5

Потрясающе

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Fri Nov 26 2021
5

I’ve never really liked Tom Waits, but this album is wonderful. Quite a joy to listen to, he really shines here.

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Fri Dec 31 2021
5

Aw man, I fucking love Tom Waits. The playful banter on the album, the smooth delivery, the humor sprinkled in...it's the perfect calming soundtrack for a Sunday. A crappy college friend of mine loved this album, but I won't hold that against Tom Waits. Though now, of course, I regret waiting on Waits. Unlike that friend, Tom Waits is a compelling personality and genuine talent. Fave track: Warm Beer, Cold Women. Bonus points to thi album for being funny and witty as hell. Felt like having a conversation with a cool whiskey-drinking bachelor uncle.

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Fri Dec 31 2021
5

First time listening to Tom Waits on purpose. Did not disappoint and I will definitely listen to more

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Sun Jan 09 2022
5

I think there is definitely something about the street level storytelling and mumbling delivery that does it for me.. I'm easily a Tom Waits fan now.

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Sun Jan 09 2022
5

I completely understand why someone may not like this album. If that someone is you, I just want to reassure you: It is okay to be wrong.

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Thu Jan 27 2022
5

What a storyteller

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Sun Jan 30 2022
5

So Rowlf

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Wed Feb 16 2022
5

Caught me by surprise. I love easy jazz, and great lyrics. His distinctive voice fits the music well...

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Fri Mar 11 2022
5

Tom Waits is such a crazy cat that I genuinely can't be certain whether there is a real audience or if it's a recording of an audience throughout the album. I'm about halfway through at this point and I'm enjoying it, it's very jazzy, spoken-word with "intros" to every song that are basically as long as the songs themselves and just Tom rambling about drinking, life, women, the weather, breakfast foods, drinking bleach, and whatever else comes to mind. I love this.

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Wed Mar 23 2022
5

This was the first Tom Waits album to do well. It captures the feel of a smoky jazz club with its live audience. Waits is a natural performer and certainly knows how to work a crowd. As always, his lyrics find themselves with the overlooked of society and the music is loose but well arranged. He has a unique ability to capture the profundity in the profane and this album hints at his best work yet to come.

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Fri Apr 29 2022
5

Everybody who hated this listened before 11pm

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Fri Jul 01 2022
5

Intro tem um monólogo interessante (ver tradução). On a Foggy Night também. Basicamente monólogos.

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Fri Jul 29 2022
5

Poetry

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Thu Aug 04 2022
5

Tom Waits always gets a 5. A legend. This album is fun and stands out with its pseudo-club setting. As I always say with Waits: if you get it you'll love it, if you don't you may well hate it. I get why he isn't going to appeal to everyone. No snobbery intended.

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Fri Aug 05 2022
5

Incredible piece of mood setting

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Wed Aug 10 2022
5

So. Bloody. Good. Eight stars.

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Sun Aug 28 2022
5

This is the kind of gem I started this 1001 Albums thing to find. I’ve come across Tom Waits a few times and knew he was some sort of eccentric, folk-bluesy, spoken word type of artist. I hadn’t heard of this album however, and the concept is wonderful - recorded in a studio made up like a late night jazz spot, Waits becomes this sleazy master of ceremonies character, delivering lengthy rambling intros to each song, slur-singing his way through, lapsing into a sort of standup comedy. The faux-audience whoops and applauds and laughs along, and you’d be forgiven if you thought the whole thing was impeccably recorded fly on the wall audio from an actual jazz bar. The music is clichéd in an achingly endearing way, Waits’ lyrics are lewd and poetic. I read a few negative reviews complaining that Waits keeps almost forgetting that an album needs songs. To that I’d argue that you need to expand your conception of what an album can be.

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Thu Sep 22 2022
5

Super!!

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Thu Sep 29 2022
5

Excellent! felt similar to a jazz club atmosphere on an album.

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Wed Nov 09 2022
5

This is the first Tom Waits album I had. I didn't buy it - since I had no clue what a Tom Waits was - and don't remember who gave it to me. I need to find out and thank them since it is one of my ATF albums. The first words Tom slurs are " An inebriated good evening to y'all". This  perfectly sets the stage for what is to come. There are some classic songs like "Better off Without a Wife" with the timeless lyrics "she's been married so many times she has rice marks all over her face". As good as the song is, it plays second fiddle to the intro which has such classic lines as: "maybe you whistled it but ya lost the sheet music!"; "by about 2:30 in the morning you end up taking advantage of yourself";and "makin the scene with a magazine". I can't think of a better album about drunken debauchery.  I expect the songs came to him without much effort and were simply songs about what happened last week. "Eggs and Sausage" and "Warm Beer and Cold Woman" are two other classics both of which also have excellent intros.  Warm Beer . . . includes the line: "I kinda reached the end of an emotional cul de sac one evening." and also includes the moniker "Last Ditch Attempt Saloon" that I've borrowed umpteen times to describe watering holes around the world. The line " . . . getting a lot of verbal and visual insubordination  . . ." is another one I've  borrowed repeatedly.  The best song on the album is Putnam County. This bad boy would never make it onto any respectable list of all time greatest  songs, but it's at the top of my list. With lines like "swizzle stick legs jackknifed over naugahyde stools" and  "mixed feelings over mixed drinks" it should be on everyone's GOAT list.

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Thu Jan 05 2023
5

It’s just Tom waits talking with jazz in the background 5/5

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Sun Jan 08 2023
5

I listened to this without reading the wikipedia article and thought I was listening to a live album at some cool nightclub wishing I was there. It was a real surprise to discover this is a studio album with a small invited audience designed to simulate a jazz club. No wonder it sounds so good. Really fantastic. The band sounds amazing. The recording crystal-clear. Tom sounds perfect. The audience interaction perfect and natural. They really succeeded at setting the mood for this recording. It’s quite a feat. I love listening to this. There are laugh-out-loud moments, arresting moments, and a lot of near-perfect moments. And a jazz remake of Phantom 309? I’m stunned.

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Sun Jan 08 2023
5

Well, I was apprehensive about what could possibly follow the perfection that is Lou Reed's Berlin, and seeing our fourth Tom Waits album had me wondering how this one was going to stand out from the others. I shouldn't have worried. The 1001 Generator had my back. Nighthawks at the Diner is an intimate night in mid 70s Los Angeles with a performer who is doing precisely what he was meant to do. The songs themselves are wonderful but so is the interstitial patter, poetic and musical enough that it was likely scripted and rehearsed but seemed completely spontaneous. Waits often laughs at his own jokes and had me laughing out loud, when I wasn't tearing up. Really fantastic, start to finish.

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Sun Jan 08 2023
5

I wasn't expecting an album like this from Tom Waits. It was delightful. I very much appreciated his laugh (when he amused himself). I do hope that this is his natural laugh and not the laugh of some character he was playing...

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Sun Jan 08 2023
5

Listening to this, I kept reaching for the non-existent drink and cigarette that were conjured up on the imaginary table in front of me by the atmosphere this album created. Even when I didn't get the 1975 Los Angeles references, the audience's delighted reactions made me share in the enjoyment. I loved the storytelling feeling of this, with Tom Waits' always amazing turns of phrases, e.g. "Just like a bastard amber Velveeta yellow cab on a rainy corner." His piano and guitar, and the rest of the jazz ensemble were wonderful. For being a longer album, and a live album, this held my rapt attention as I enjoyed the whole show.

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Thu Jan 12 2023
5

Nobody's that stroooooong

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Thu Jan 19 2023
5

I love Tom Waits. The 70's Tom Wait was a development of Tom Waits the persona, while his later work was more musically creative and incredibly eclectic. Both are equally compelling to me. Because this is live, we get to meet the burgeoning persona with a live audience to play off. His backing band is superb and helps to flesh out the character that inhabit his songs. Yes, the small audience were invited rather than paying customers, but that doesn't change the power of the set. Essential listening for me.

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Fri Jan 29 2021
4

Pretty cool atmospheric and background music. Like the combo of spoken word and jazz music.

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Sat Jan 16 2021
4

Atmospheric

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Fri Jan 15 2021
4

I liked it! I dont have a lot of listening experience with Jazz, but it was relaxing and not overly distracting.

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Mon Jan 18 2021
4

This is a live jazz album which I wasn't expecting. I like the commentary, and even though jazz isn't my thing I really liked the music.

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Sat Jan 30 2021
4

Fun blues covers, not as heavy as I had hoped, but an interesting listen nonetheless. I had high hopes since this is considered proto-metal and <strike>paved the road</strike> walked the footpath of one of my favorite genres. It's nice to get a glimpse of where it all started.

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Thu Jan 14 2021
4

Like Alice's restaurant in the middle of a desert

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Mon Jul 19 2021
4

Levy, josta haluaisin pitää enemmän. Leppoisan livetunnelman aistii paremmin kuin millään aiemmalla listan levyllä. Varmasti olisi ollut hienoa olla mukana! Valitettavasti levyllä en kyllä jaksa oikein tällaisia lähes spoken wordiksi välillä meneviä fiilistelyjä. Lyriikoihinkaan ei jaksanut suuremmin keskittyä työpäivän aikana. Better Off Without A Wife erottui joukosta aidosti erinomaisena sävellyksenä. Toisella kuuntelukerrasta (aiempien kommenttien kirjoittamisen jälkeen) tästä saikin jo vähän enemmän irti ja ennakkoarvosana nousi yhdellä!

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Thu Jan 14 2021
4

jazzy v cool

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Sun May 23 2021
4

I had this on CD growing up and it fit nicely with my Kerouac/Beat obsession. His delivery of the spoken word parts definitely reminds me of Kerouac's readings with Steve Allen on piano - only with much more humor. Speaking of which this may be one of the best marriages of humor and music I've ever heard. Comes off as effortlessly natural and is a wonderful counterpoint to the slightly gritty and downtrodden world he presents here. And what rich imagery that just flows out if him. I always thought this was a genuine live recording, and in a way I suppose it truly is, just in a studio rather than an actual nightclub. I think the back and forth of the energy exchange with the audience actually makes this work much better than it would on its own. It adds to the atmosphere and probably the way be delivered his performance. A very interesting approach to recording an album.

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Thu Jan 14 2021
4

Heavy jazz influence. Interacting/ storytelling with the audience while playing.

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Wed Apr 28 2021
4

really nice jazz and storytelling, kinda like a live album so it's best to listen to in order

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Tue Jul 06 2021
4

This is a very solid listen. The live crowd feel adds to the vibe.

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Sun May 23 2021
4

A good live album in what sounds like a fairly intimate setting with an engaged audience. Not TW's best songwriting, but the album sets a nice nighthawk mood with the jazz and the iconic gravelly voice. My favorites are "Eggs and Sausage" "Better Off Without a Wife" and "Warm Beer Cold Women" because I feel they best capture what this album is about. "Nobody" is a gem too, and "Big Joe Phantom 309" is enjoyable when I'm in the right mood for it.

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Wed Jan 27 2021
4

I dig this. He so young here. Such a mood music. You can feel exactly where he’s singing about. Helps that it’s got my favorite style bass

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Fri Jan 15 2021
4

Music is smooth and buttery, vocals are rough and gravely. Somehow they fit together nicely. I liked this, but doubt I'll re-visit very often.

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Sat Jan 23 2021
4

Beat poems about diners truck drivers and suburbia

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Tue Mar 30 2021
4

Me encanta sin entenderlo. Eso debe ser a hostia porque los del club se lo pasan en grande. Buen disco

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Thu Jan 14 2021
4

Boring. Nice, but boring

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Tue Apr 20 2021
4

I just love the concept of this. And there's no one like Tom Waits. He does what he does so well.

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Sun Mar 14 2021
4

Bastante rollo, pero canta bien y el estilo jazz me gusta.

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Thu Jan 28 2021
4

good background music

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Thu Jan 28 2021
4

where my lonely drifers at?? they were here all along. they've always been here.

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Thu Jun 03 2021
4

.

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Fri Jan 29 2021
4

According to wikipedia this was recorded live at a jazz club and the opener was a stripper.

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Thu Jun 03 2021
4

Enjoyed it

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Wed Jun 16 2021
4

Was actually pleasantly surprised at this one

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Thu May 13 2021
4

unique album. it was funny.

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Thu May 13 2021
4

He's like an old rascally jazz motherfucker who's got some SHIT to say but coats everything in humor...except he’s only 25. This is a fun album to hang out with.

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Fri Apr 02 2021
4

moody and lovely

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Fri Apr 02 2021
4

This isn’t something I usually go for but by the end of this album I was really into it and even sad it was over. I had this unhealthy urge to pour a whiskey and chain smoke throughout the listen.

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Wed May 12 2021
4

Love Tom

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Mon May 10 2021
4

Loved this album!

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Tue Aug 03 2021
4

This...kind of kicks ass. I was not expecting that, but the jazzy, slow, relaxed feel works perfectly with the rasp and growl of Waits' rough voice. I really like this.

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Wed Aug 04 2021
4

Everything brilliant about early Tom Waits.

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Sun Aug 08 2021
4

Really rather a splendid album.

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Wed Aug 11 2021
4

Stari Tom je najbolji tom, preciznije 70te. Minimalno 3 albuma su stvorena za lagano pijuckanje uz kamin, ili samo šetnja po noći uz koje svjetlo na kućama, ulici.. Sve u svemu dosta dobar live nastup gospodina.

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Tue Aug 17 2021
4

'm a fan of Tom Waits but not heard this one before. He's hilarious. No idea if it's really a live album or not but the crowd interaction ties it all together

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Thu Sep 02 2021
4

I liked the live jazz club feel, though it was really long. 7/10

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Thu Sep 02 2021
4

7/10. I guess this album is so early in Tom Waits' career he hadn't figured out he could make his voice sound really raspy and awful yet. That said, I don't enjoy it lyrically as much either. Still I think the fake jazz club setting is kinda fun overall

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Fri Sep 24 2021
4

Ugh, this missed Tom Waits' birthday by like one day! UPDATE: This is fucking weird. I love it. UPDATE 2: "I gotta go see a man about a dog" is one of the best ways to end an album

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Mon Oct 04 2021
4

I loved the atmosphere of this album. They assembled such a stellar band for this session. Loved it.

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Thu Oct 14 2021
4

Really enjoyed this. Lots of charisma. Probably better on vinyl, though

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Thu Nov 11 2021
4

7/10

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Wed Nov 24 2021
4

It’s a really fun album that give a great live vibe, and really makes you feel like you are there. It would be a great show, but I didn’t really think there was a standout song. But, there’s a good thanksgiving sort of feeling, almost like Alice’s Restaurant

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Wed Jan 12 2022
4

Standouts - Eggs and Sausage; Spare Parts I (A Nocturnal Emission); Spare Parts II and Closing A very unique sound I liked the jazz-infused instrumentals, and the vocals were engaging with the raspy singing and storytelling The stories in the song intros were fun I've heard of Tom Waits before (I'm pretty sure) but wasn't really familiar with him

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