Hi everyone. Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing. But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?
(Image found online. Original source unknown.)
I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day. And if this helps anyone else, even better.
When Bruce Springsteen released his live album, “1975-1985”, the last song on the three CD set was “Jersey Girl”. I would have sworn on everything I had that he wrote it. But when I checked the credits, there appeared a different name: Tom Waits. I was shocked it was not a Springsteen original and curious to learn as much as I could about the songwriter. Like The Boss, Waits was inspired by Bob Dylan. Waits first album (“Closing Time”) came out in 1973 to critical acclaim and garnered him an underground following. He collaborated with his then girlfriend Bette Midler on the 1977 song, “I Never Talk To Strangers”. By 1980 he moved from a jazz sound to one featuring blues, rock and experimental/alternative sounds. His 1985 release, “Rain Dogs” includes the song “Downtown Train” which was a hit for Rod Stewart in 1989.
Jay Pritchett (Ed O’Neill’s character on “Modern Family”) described Waits’ rough gravelly voice as ugly and beautiful at the same time. To me it is just beautiful, like a rusty patina on an old metal sign. It adds such a strong tone to today’s song which is another one of those hauntingly beautiful numbers thanks to that voice, an absolutely resplendent string arrangement and his talent for storytelling using colorful, expressive & detailed lyrics. I am grateful to Springsteen for so many things, and introducing me to this poet of a man is one of them.
“And it’s a battered old suitcase to a hotel someplace
And a wound that will never heal
No prima donna, the perfume is on
An old shirt that is stained with blood and whiskey
And goodnight to the street sweepers
The night watchman flame keepers and goodnight, Mathilda too.”
Tom Waits circa 1985. (Image found online. Original source unknown.)
Tom Waits: “Tom Traubert’s Blues” (1976, written by Tom Waits).
I do not own the rights to anything. I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.