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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Nighthawks At The Diner

Tom Waits

1975

Wikipedia

Nighthawks At The Diner

Rating

2.99

Votes

3277

Reviews

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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5

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

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5

One of my fav Tom Waits records. Brilliant.

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5

perfect

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5

Gold

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5

Tom acompaña y reconforta.

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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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5

Приятная болтовня под музычку

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5

cool

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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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5

Cool album

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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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5

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

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5

Прекрасен

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5

Потрясающе

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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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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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5

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

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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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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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5

What a storyteller

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5

So Rowlf

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5

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

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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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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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5

Everybody who hated this listened before 11pm

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4

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

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4

Atmospheric

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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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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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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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4

Like Alice's restaurant in the middle of a desert

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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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4

jazzy v cool

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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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4

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

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4

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

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4

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

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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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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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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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4

Beat poems about diners truck drivers and suburbia

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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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4

Boring. Nice, but boring

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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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4

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

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4

good background music

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4

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

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4

.

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4

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

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4

Enjoyed it

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4

Was actually pleasantly surprised at this one

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4

unique album. it was funny.

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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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4

moody and lovely

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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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4

Love Tom

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4

Loved this album!

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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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4

Everything brilliant about early Tom Waits.

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4

Really rather a splendid album.

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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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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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4

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

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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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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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4

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

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4

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

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4

7/10

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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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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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4

For me this is Tom Waits the way I like to hear him, jazzy arrangements that sometimes swing and sometimes torch (what's the verb for torch?). I love the banter between songs and to start and end the album. The album is closest in style to my favorite TW album; Small Change...which has my favourite song...Step Right Up. An easy 4.5 🌟 for me.

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4

I can see the wide-ranging appeal, but this wasn't overly fantastic for me.

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4

Had a rough start with this because I expected... you know ... Music! But as I adjusted, I really started to love it. (P.s. it obviously has music, but there are a lot of monologues too)

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4

Jazz burlesque stand up poetry, LIVE!!

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4

Nighthawks at the Diner is the best of Tom Waits' jazz albums from the 1970s. It transports you to what feels like inside a jazz club, very moody and atmospheric. The lyrics are great, sometimes funny, and the piano is always on point. A great record, beaing "Eggs and Sausage (In a Cadillac with Susan Michelson)" the highest point of the journey.

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4

Ok this is really good and funny. Makes me wish I could jam with piano like that.

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4

Classic Waits, enhanced by a live audience.

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4

A really interesting album. Waits does a jazzy, spoken word/talking "live" performance complete with a nightclub atmosphere. Waits is brilliant, funny and very engaging spoken with his trademark gravelly voice. The music is low key and quite good. I really enjoyed it, but it might not hold up to repeated plays and he has better records.

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4

With enough time between listens this album is great. The gravelly voice, the poetic lyrics and delivery, the stand up bass… yeah.

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4

Some Tom Waits I love and some I just can't get into. This album has such a cool, downtown jazz club feel to it (by design). Really enjoyed it.

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3

Väldigt jazzigt. Någon typ av fejkad live-spelning inspelad i en studio. Mysigt men långt ifrån hans bästa.

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3

Great but dont like Tom Waits

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3

Classic Jazz, as much music as it is talk show. All driven with a raspy voice that's hard to understand at time, but oh, so, much old school. Not my jam, tho.

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3

This album is undeniably strange and undeniably charming. It's split pretty evenly between standup comedy and Wait's crooning, and he excels in both of these tasks. The album is an anachronism, set in an analog world that no longer exists and could never exist in the computer age. The jazz band backing Waits stitches the entire work together. Waits slides evenly between smutty, sweet, and insightful. It's not the type of album that I would normally listen to, but it has a lot of charm and helped me understand much better why people are so fond of Waits. The album is a bit long, though. I don't know that it needed to be a double album. I suppose that it gives more of a nightclub performance feel, but I felt like the album would have finished strong after the end of the first disc. There is some excellent stuff on the second half, though, so I'm not sure what I would cut. The album is an experience that I want to come back to at some point, despite the fact that this style of album is not my particular cup of tea. Great artists know how to make things work.

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3

If I was at a show like this I would over the moon, but just hearing it on an album doesn't quite get me loving the thing. That said I liked this more as it went on, and I walk away happy that I checked it out.

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3

Good old Tom Waits... this is the third album of his in the last couple weeks I think. This one in particular is funny because it's a studio album with a small crowd to simulate the sound of a jazz club. Kinda like Tom Waits faking his signature stylistic voice until it became real. Fascinating figure

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3

fun live comedy sort of singing

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3

Eh. Raspy.

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3

It's that first-phase Tom Waits jazz I thing, right? Clever and funny writing but maybe not much depth yet.

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3

I didn’t like it but may have been mild related

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3

fun performance

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3

A lot of talking in the introductions of songs. I think you have to be familiar with his sense of humor to appreciate the lyrics

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3

Interesting

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3

Good jazz vibes. Some funny lines in the spoken word stuff.

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3

Interesting. Heard of Tom Waits but never gave a listen. Some stuff was funny and good and other stuff I got lost in (in a bad way) overall decent.

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3

Entertaining.

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3

Brings back memories

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3

Interesting. Not an album I’ll listen to again on my own, but it wasn’t horrible. Just more like musical standup at a local show, with some nice jazz accompanying it

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3

Good ole Tom. Interesting album better than yesterday’s. Felt like I was listening to an audiobook or comedy skit. Weird guy.

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3

Meh

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3

Ja conhecia esse album. Eh um genero bem diferente do que eu gosto mas tem os seus meritos.

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3

I've heard Tom Waits' first couple of 1970s albums, and his highly celebrated 1980s ones - but never checked out Nighthawks. To be honest, I'm not a massive fan of him. This one is interesting, because it was recorded by recreating a live jazz club atmosphere in the studio. As someone who dislikes live albums, I was surprisingly impressed by the results. Maybe it's the way the band plays and Waits acts up, knowing they've got a live audience there - but certainly there's an effortless atmosphere to the whole thing. The music is laid-back, blues-tinged, small-group jazz - good but unremarkable. Waits's vocals are the point of difference. He's a gruff, growling, inebriated, slurring showman. His blues-jazz singing is pretty good. His rambling introductions have a slight charm. He's very indebted to Beat poetry, with his setting to jazz of a bohemian, down-and-out persona, evoking the gritty details of American urban underbelly nightlife. Another 3.5 for me, but I can see why others might love this one.

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3

What a first selection - a double 'live' album. Not really been drawn to TW and previous listening has been cursory, despite my old school mate Rob talking him up big time. Paying a little more attention here there is some neat word play and comedy. You get used to the voice but it was a stretch here.

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3

Kind of like a live jazz lounge comedy act. Very specific. Not bad.

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3

Long but cool

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3

Quite unlike any album I've heard before. Loved it. // Favs: — Score: Decent to Strong 3

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3

surprisingly nice for tom waits

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3

Ни одной песни, который бы я проникся

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3

És el disc que millor capta el primer Tom Waits. Antiheroi passat d'alcohol però irredentment optimista, envoltat de sons de jazz-blues amb una audiència còmplice que li arropa de forma fantàstica les seves actuacions i les tonades amb la seva inconfundible veu cazallosa. No hi ha temes que sobresurtin, aquí tot és ambientació i reviure el clima d'una nit de copes i bona música a una taverna qualsevol, però impossible d'oblidar

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3

A live album. A live comedy album? There is definitely music here, but Waits does not hesitate to play the crowd instead of his guitar (or piano, or whatever). There are several Intro tracks, if that gives any indication of the length of this album. This is due to Waits mostly fucking around. Worth noting that I do not know Waits' music prior to this album, so it's a bit muddled on what's supposed to be a part of the song and what's Waits just fucking around. He does this a lot. His voice and personality lends itself to this though, making it a smooth album for the ears. The instrumentation is pretty good too, with nice blues/jazzy bits with the band. The songs I could leave, but Waits is a naturally-gifted performed. He just take to the stage so naturally. I can see why this live album makes the list, as it exists as a document of pure and simple entertainment at it's finest, but as music it's alright.

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3

It was nice, and definitely created the jazz lounge atmosphere it was going far. Most of the songs weren't too exciting. I did like the speed pickup in "Spare Parts I (A Nocturnal Emission)."

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3

Not really my cup of tea (too "talkative") but nice overall

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3

At first I wasn't into this very much, but then I started to like it a lot more. The singing bits are so lovely

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3

I felt very cool listening to this, like I'm nostalgic for a time and place I've never experienced

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3

Very differrent and I liked the journey of the entire album. No song stuck out to me.

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3

Feigning to capture the live Tom Waits experience - the rambling tales, the gags, the wordplay, the audience interaction - Nighthawks has beautiful and memorable musical moments - the band are terrific - but the replay value is limited. The jokes may have once been funny the first time but diminish with repeat listening which ultimately renders this album one to skip in favour either of The Heart of Saturday Night which precedes it or Small Change which follows.

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3

A warm late evening listen with a glass of scotch. It's primarily spoken word, focusing on Waits's vocals and storytelling to build a cozy jazz club atmosphere. Most of the time his vocals feel a bit uncomfortable to listen to, and other times the jazz feels dull. There tends to be some instruments I like on certain tracks, like the piano in "Putnam Country," but for the most part nothing sticks out as memorable. It's still performed well and I'd be impressed to see it live. I like Waits' jokes, but you kinda have to dedicate your whole hour and a half to listening to all the lyrics to actually get the jokes and full enjoyment, which specializes its function to an album you have to emulate as being a member of the audience, rather than playing it in the background. The jokes land, and everyone plays their part well. Favorite tracks: Eggs and Sausage, Better Off Without a Wife

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3

Interesting raspy spoken word mixed with jazz. It wasn’t particularly my thing but worth a listen.

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3

Not bad for what it was, too long though

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3

7/10

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3

Jazz is not my go to genre, but I always enjoy it when I listen to it. This record really gives me the feeling that I'm actually sitting in a bar with a cold beer and listening to Tom Waits play his tunes. Good stuff.

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3

Tykkäsin levyideasta, täytyy vielä pari kertaa ainakin kuunnella

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3

You see those low-life drunkards having their habits in your favorite bar downtown? Once in a while, you may happen to stumble upon one who is actually interesting, funny, and even surprisingly witty--all in all, a nice guy, if not a *totally* articulate one. With such good company, you can talk about anything without ever feeling any judgemental posture from the other side. Besides, the man is lucid enough to know he's anything but a role model, and he's not one to shy away from his own life mistakes. Which is refreshing. So if you're available, and in the right mood for this, you may elect to have a wild night out with the alcoholic daredevil, having all sorts of mishaps and adventures together as you crawl from one dive to the next. It's quite fun. The thing is, in the morning you probably won't remember much of what transpired the night before--and you might even regret having painted the whole town red, if only for that goddamn hangover you're having to put up with now. Oddly enough, this might not be the case with your new friend. Bump into him a few days later, and he'll remember everything that went down that night with a knowing smile. But the thing is, can you believe the guy? Can you? If *this* was the effect intended by Tom Waits for *Nighthawks At The Diner*, it is an unmitigated success. Recorded in a studio, but with a live audience of friends and acquaintances Waits had invited for the occasion, the album's fundamental conceit nicely sums up its author's main paradox: loose and unhinged and uncensored on the surface, but--if you dig just a little deeper--far more in control than what he first lets on. This release has the *feel* of a genuine live album recorded in a smoky jazz club--with a real audience hooting, clapping and laughing at Waits' wisecracks between the numbers. But to a certain extent, the whole thing is only a simulacrum, the auditory equivalent of a WWF tournament. It's hard to *believe* in it, just as it's hard to believe Waits was *genuinely* drunk during the performance, all actor-studio-level rants and inebriated stammerings aside. And even if Waits *was* under the influence, it's quite easy to tell how every slip of the tongue, every slur, ever mumble, were actually nothing but calculated moves, parts of an overall script Waits had in his head from the get-go. It's a great script, with chunks of it maybe improvised on the spot. But it's a script nonetheless. All of this ties in with general assessments many have made about Waits. According to his unofficial biographer Barney Hoskyns, \"Tom Waits is as much of a character created for his fans as it is a real man\", his \"persona of the skid-row boho/hobo\" being an \"ongoing experiment in performance art\". Admittedly, the line between performance and authenticity might be a little thinner than this somewhat simplistic explanation. Mick Brown, a music journalist from Sounds who interviewed Waits in the mid-1970s, noted that Waits \"had immersed himself in this character to the point where it wasn't an act and had become an identity\". But whatever the case may be, such a fundamental amibiguity is discernible in *Nighthawks At The Diner*. On the double album's first two sides, this trick, this illusion--if indeed there is one--holds up with some great effects overall. It's easy to suspend your disbelief while listening to Waits making an \"Emotional Weather Report\" about his sad mental state (and his appartment's state of disarray, too!). As it's easy enjoying his performance when he narrates a drunken road trip \"On A Foggy Night\". Those early cuts are more spoken than sung, yet the words are so good, the Bukowskian writing so rich and detailed, that it's easy to feel as exhilarated as the audience heard on tape. Funny lines abound, in and between the songs (the rant about masturbation is priceless, and so is the one about the suspicious food found in the nightly LA joints making up the scenery of most of the songs). After those singspeak cuts, \"Eggs And Sausage\" and \"Better Off Without A Wife\" show a slightly different side of Waits, one where he actually *sings*, and his vocals are just perfect, both raucous and melodic. The parts where he skats even prove he could have been just as impressive as a singer performing with a clear voice, even though it's an avenue he never really explored during his career. \"Eggs And Sausages\" is also very endearing as a composition, with its chorus made of the different food orders overheard by the narrator as he sits alone in the titular diner, having passing thoughts about the lover who left him. Of course, all of this--album title included--is a wink to Edward Hopper's painting *Nighthawks*, a wink also obvious in the album's centerpiece \"Nighthawks Postcards (From Easy Street)\", a long hard-bop dirge filled with memorable snippets and wasted bravura moments. The only difference is that the legendary mystery displayed by the painting is here replaced with a sense of ironic burlesque. The whole project is a parody in that sense, too, even without the fake concert affair. Unfortunately, by the second record in the lot, the whole thing blurs into a formless ensemble of less striking cuts, just like those memories of yesterday's wild night that don't make a shred of sense on the next day. The turns of phrase that you thought were so witty on the first songs start to wear a little thin. Waits' puns about the \"cracks of dawn\" shedding some unflattery light on the titular nighthawks are hilarious at first, but when you hear two or three variations of them on side 3 or 4, they becomes a little too familiar--as is the man's weird drunken obsession for \"swizzle sticks\" and \"naugahyde\" covering stools and armchairs. Make no mistake, the writing is still stellar on many moments. But it's hard to decide whether its obfuscating obliqueness on a whole is the result of it having drunkard narrators, or it just being penned by a lazy author who didn't even bother to organize the admittedly beautiful mess in his mind. Likewise, the jazz band behind is a more-than-competent crew. But nothing that they're playing is really standing out. Everything is flattened; piano, saxophone and upright bass solos come and go without leaving much of an impression; and if the groove sounds good, it still remains performative, unoriginal and safe throughout. There's one notable exception when the sax player expertly imitates the sound of a car whizzing by the narrator on a highway at some point. But such moments are too short, too far, and too few. The real last track stands out, though. It's a cover of country singer Tommy Faile's ghost story \"Big Joe And Phantom 309\", the sort of spooky tale drunks will tell to each other at the very end of the night, just as their inebriation has turned them all to easily-swayed children. As such, it's a nice capper for the album, right before Waits gives credits to his musicians over an utimate instrumental piece. Yet as focused as this last effort is, musically and thematically speaking, this track comes too late to make up for all the meandering moments right before it. *Nighthawks At the Diner* remains an interesting listen overall. But as an *essential one*, or as an entry point into Tom Waits' oeuvre, it is probably far from being the most obvious choice. That being said, very few things are *obvious* when it comes to Waits. There are layers over layers in his body of work, and some might look a little too opaque or quizzical for certain listeners. Sometimes, you don't really have a choice deciding who you are going to have fun with at the bar. You take the first tipsy guy or gal standing in front of the counter, and roll with it. [Number of albums left to review or just listen to: 986 Number of albums from the list I find relevant enough to be mandatory listens: 5 Albums from the list I *might* include in mine later on: 6 (including this one, even though chances are that a *different* Tom Waits release will make the final cut) Albums from the list I will certainly *not* include in mine (as I think many others are more important): 4]

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3

Interesting album. It's not the kind of thing I'd listen to if I'm trying to relax, but it's definitely creative! It's like a musical comedy, which is fun. Entertaining

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3

needs more gravel

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3

No está nada mal. La sensación de estar en directo o en el mismo club es perfecta. No sé si se grabó también vídeo por que así sería aún mejor. Recomendable y entretenido pero sin deslumbrar.

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3

Funny, good low key jazz and THAT voice! Feels more like a comedy record, but good all the same. I like the poetry and entertaining. wouldn’t choose to listen to much again, but I get the quality.

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3

Hmmm really don't know. could have given a 4 or a 2. Great gravelly voice, but the whole set up with audience laughing at his jokes doesn't work for me.

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3

I think if I was at a bar having some kind of drink and this was live right in front of me this whole piece would be 6/5. But I'm not at a bar, I'm at my desk doing homework on a Friday night. That being said this album is probably not a very "streamable" type content which was what I'm looking out for so I'm gonna give it a 3.

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3

I'm really surprised to see this one made the list. Tom Waits has long been one of my favorites, and I do appreciate his early material even though I don't love it as much as his albums from the 1980's and early 1990's. But Nighthawks at the Diner falls in a bit of a no-man's-land among his catalog. Clearly exploring new directions, but the material is emotionally detached in tone - none of the warmth of "Martha" or "Rosie". He hasn't become the chameleon that emerged on Small Change. The intro sections are amusing but feel they come from a different artist, and on the whole the songs feel kind of one-note (almost like someone heard "Step Right Up" and wanted it to be the basis for a whole album). It lacks the depth of heart and the variety of tone that make subsequent albums (event those as uneven as Heartattack and Vine) so compelling and worthy of repeated listens.

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3

Such a distinctive voice. Good mood to this album, bass playing is top notch

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3

I didn't dislike it, and some parts of it I really liked. I like his voice. And Waits is quite funny! Will possibly listen to it again in the future. But not anytime soon.

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3

I've always been fairly neutral on Tom Waits, don't really get him per se. Some white dude doing a Louis Armstrong schtick. I never listen to this one before and similar feelings as other works, I didn't hate and I didn't love it. This album in particular had the feel of a actor performance rather than a musician.

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3

Ik ben niet zo'n Waits adept, maar ik vond dit wel heel sfeervol. Alsof je aan de bar zit mee te luisteren.

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3

De stem pakt me altijd weer. Tom Waits is een van de weinige artiesten die ik zeker nog ooit live wil gaan zien, maar ik denk dat hij niet veel meer op zal treden.

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2

Who listens to this. Why did I listen to this.

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2

vet inte riktigt ja. han är säkert duktig

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2

Bluesy. Might be nice, but not my cup of tea in the mood I was in.

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2

This isn't music, it's a series of comedy anecdotes. I love the guy's voice though, who doesn't? I'd be happy with him reading me anything. 'I mean, she's been married so many times... she's got rice-marks all over her face.' was a particular highlight.

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2

Mi vieja me dijo turun tun tun

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2

3

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2

Me sentí en un bar y lo sentí muy repetitivo en las canciones.

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2

Bit whiney, but intriguing. Turned off after 30 mins tho

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2

Didn't know standup comedy and jazz could be fused together. 5/10

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2

Tricky one. On the one hand of it wasn’t Tom Waits I might have turned off earlier, but I listened to the end. It was fun in parts, and I like the way they recreated a jazz lounge style atmosphere in the recording studio...but nothing really grabbed me and I don’t think I’d ever listen again as well as jazz not really being my sort of thing.

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2

Lucky I had a lot of unpacking and tidying to do last night cos that felt never ending

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2

great voice but i dont want to hear it

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2

I liked the storytelling. Relatable and relevant even today. I hate that I’m attracted to men like this.

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2

Couldn’t finish it. It was wack

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2

I can't stand this voice but man the songs are great

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2

I've never been a Tom Waits fan. This is an interesting album, but can't say I enjoyed it much.

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2

Noman Hosni aura vraiment tout essayé, 2/5

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2

I liked it at first, but the gimmick got old quick. The jazz instrumentals were great. The vocals were hit or miss.

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2

Puh, Tom Waits Fan war ich noch nie und das Album hier aus meinem Geburtsjahr bestätigt das! Die rauchige Alkoholstimme bröselt so vor sich hin: das mag für einige Kult sein, ich kann damit nichts anfangen. Ich denke, Big Kev als Meister von Tom waits Songs bekommt das besser hin!

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2

Spoken word. Not my favorite but has its moments.

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2

Feels like a speak easy jazz club. No stand out performances but successful in creating the feel of a smokey 20s jazz club.

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2

Not really my style, but a fun listen.

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2

I thought it was just ok. First listen.

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2

the late night performance concept is cool, but the album itself was a total slog. Waits’s persona on this record feels very put-on, and the storytelling and comedy fell pretty flat for me. the album dragged on much too long and i don't really feel compelled to listen to any of these songs ever again, but at least there was some good bass playing. 3/10

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2

This used to be great. Now, not so much.

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2

Live spoken word jazz?

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2

It’s not without its merits

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2

Not for me

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2

tfw trying to listen to jazz and some old nob is going on about some shit

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2

Not what I expected but had an interesting format of storytelling being emphasised over the music itself

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2

Album begint al snel te vervelen. Spoken-word is niet echt voor mij weggelegd...

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2

Well this is an annoying gimmick. I didn't really like Tom Waits to start with, but this whole world-weary jazzman in a smoky bar telling stories interspersed with the occasional song shtick... spare me. And the "audience" laughing at every little quip? please. either they're as pompous and artsy-fartsy as he is, or this is all fake. Oh, and it goes for 75min. 2/5.

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2

One of my least favorite Tom Waits' albums. I don't get it. 2/5

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2

Jollekin fanille saattaa olla suuri mestariteos, mutta herran tuotantoon suuremmin perehtymätön ei oikein pääse tunnelmaan.

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2

I'm down w/ Tom Waits, a fan actually, however this album just isn't really my thing. There's some humorous shit up in here but overall I simply prefer a little more music a little less chit chat ya know?

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2

Again, the only way I would enjoy this is live. Otherwise, it's just not entertaining to me. It was kinda funny, but mostly annoying.

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2

Kinda interesting but not something I'd want to listen to again in a hurry. One particularly irritating feature of the record is the almost canned laughter during the song intros; a bunch of people laughing to things that are barely funny, in a kind of "we get this but you don't because you're not cool enough" way.

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2

Not my thing

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2

It is great to hear Tom Waits interact with the room, tell stories and sings his songs. But I am just not a big fan of the live recording albums. Rather have a real studio recording or be there at the live show. Music is good, just not an album I enjoy.

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2

OK. Not great.

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2

Tom Waits? Aren't you the same guy who made the oonga boonga music in "Bone Machine"? Wow. While he vividly simulates 10000 B.C. or whatever in "Bone Machine", he also succeed in doing the same with pubs and jazz clubs in this album. It's tempting to say "Hey! Why don't you just make real music? Look at your voice in the chorus of 'Better Off Without a Wife', it's pretty good." But I guess it will be a generic and an equally boring effort. Both "Bone Machine" and "Nighthawks at the Diner" are interesting yet boring. Not to mention looooooooong. But I enjoyed "Bone Machine" more, mainly because it has fun singles, while "Nighthawks" is basically 70 minutes of spoken poetry/story over a jazz track.

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2

2/5 this is more a stand up comedy album than a song one

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2

This isn't really music. Felt more like a skit stretched out to the length of a play. Not entertaining at all.

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2

Pfoe, het was werken om dit album in z'n geheel geluisterd te krijgen. Misschien moest ik dit ook niet luisteren terwijl ik me probeerde te concentreren.

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1

bad

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1

1.4

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1

Awful. Absolutely awful. Could not even finish the whole thing. Does not deserve to be here.

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1

Konstig jazz. Gillade inte alls.

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1

hate the opening intro oh no. All the songs are maybe this weird talky thing? I do not like. no thank you

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1

I didn’t like it. I felt dirty and smoky after listening to it. Not my style of music.

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1

Couldn't get onboard with it.

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1

Very bad. The guy just told shitty stories

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1

Didn’t care for it. Too much talking

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1

At first, I didn't know what to think about this album. Then I got to the third song and I definitely knew what I thought.

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1

- nope

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1

Terrible, bobbins

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1

Hahaha no

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1

Kind of like marmite. Only for hard core fans of Tom Waits I think.

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1

What the hell was that didn’t get it didn’t like it 1/5

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1

Just one listen through was enough

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1

Not my cup of tea.

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1

Tom Waits has a shitty voice. The whole album is monotonous from beginning to end and not any memorable song. Not my deal, sorry.

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1

No me atrapo en lo más mínimo. El señor está hablando

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1

I’ve always heard that Tom waits has a reputation for being divisive and I see where that comes from. I hated this album and all it had going for it was the jazz house vibe. Otherwise, all of the intros were boring and the actual songs were a slow, unenergetic version of jazz that sucks all the fun out of the genre

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1

Dog shit

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1

The ramblings of a crusty voiced mad man.

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1

This barely qualifies as music.

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1

Oh man, this is even worse than that other Tom Waits album you made me listen to. This is longer, less funny, the jazz is more generic and the singing/vocals/presentation is even more overacted and forced. 2/10

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1

Not for me

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1

Calling this music would be wrong. What we have here is the embodiment of white trash. For the listener this album caters emotions like embarrassment and shame for the artist, who seems oblivious to how cringe his shit is. I was thinking, maybe this "art" just aged badly? But no, I'm certain this has never been anything else than shit. 0*

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1

Unlistenable. Fuck Tom Waits!

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1

Ik kan hier werkelijk helemaal niks mee.

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