Thank you Tom, I’m sure the album mattered.

“Now the sun’s coming up, I’m riding with Lady Luck”Tom Waits, Old’ 55

As much as I like Tom Wait’s albums, his first is still my favorite. Closing Time is not innovative, it’s not as creative others, nothing about it is attractively bizarre… it’s just good, very fucking good.

I owe this album a lot, because going to 7 different record stores and finally finding a vinyl record of this album made for what ended up being one of my better gifts. The girl hadn’t heard it before, liked the concept, went to her parent’s house the next day to listen to it several times and told me later she loved it; to this day it’s the best relationship I’ve been in. So as I said before…

Thank you Tom, I’m sure the album mattered.

However, part of me has to think… how could she not like it? She could not like me or hate needing a record player to listen to it, but not the songs. In my previous post I inadvertently wrote that “for me” Leonard Cohen was one of the classiest of his generation, this time I won’t be so conservative. Closing Time is an incredible album that everybody should like.

As soon as the first track begins, Old 55’, you feel driving alone in the highway leaving a girl behind…

“Well my time went so quickly, I went lickety-splickly out to my old ’55. As I drove away slowly, feeling so holy, God knows, I was feeling alive.”

But obviously…

“Just a-wishing I’d stayed a little longer”

Every time I go on a road trip Old 55’ is the go-to-song whenever I want to really start enjoying the road, it gets me excited about the moment, but more importantly brings back memories of the girl I’ve cared for the most. I’d heard the song dozens of times before ever hearing it with her, but the moment when I gave her the album is the first one that pops up whenever I listen to it now. That was 2 weeks before we began going out, so for a third time…

Thank you Tom, I’m sure the album mattered.

One… two… three… four…

24 thoughts on “Thank you Tom, I’m sure the album mattered.

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  3. Pingback: Thank you Tom, I’m sure the album mattered. | Bill's Book Reviews

  4. at the end of my senior year of college i bought tom waits’ anthology and listened to it about fifty times. it’s a great album–“jersey girl,” “somewhere,” “diamonds on my windshield,” “waltzing matilda,” and of course “ol’ 55.”

  5. I don’t run in to Tom waits fans very often in my daily life – he has a special kind of charm. (Do you love Down By Law too?). Old ’55 is one of my favourites – I have to sing along – but I also love Lonely… Step Right Up… The Piano Has Been Drinking… Closing Time is my Favourite album, and then Blue Valentine. You have inspired me to pull out the albums I haven’t played in ages. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks, I loved your comment! Down by Law is great. I also like his bit in Coffee and Cigarettes a lot. Blue Valentine is very good, I’m sure I’ll post some song out of that album sooner or later. Take care!

  6. Like many folks, my introduction to “Ol’ 55” was The Eagles’ version. Then someone turned me on to Tom Waits and after I listened to his rendition, I realized I’d finally “heard” the song. He’s an original and a treasure. Thanks for reminding me!

  7. Hi, I’ve always been partial to his “Franks Wild Years / Swordfish Trombones / Rain Dogs” era. One of the true great American masters that so few people have ever heard of, but those who know him tend to really love and respect his overall body of work.

  8. I first heard Waits on a college radio station where I was working. The staff loved “Step Right Up” and “The Piano Has Been Drinking” (what are the odds, right?) So I bought the album and fell deeply, profoundly in love with the music. Love “Ol’ 55” but I think that his version of “Somewhere” from “West Side Story” is the most evocative version I have ever heard. Stunning stuff, and not nearly enough people know his work.

    • I complete agree, Waits is less known than what his talent deserves. Thanks for mentioning “somewhere”, it is a great version and I’m listening to it as I write this. Cheers!

    • Hey! Thanks for the comment. I just sent the biggest West Side Story Wait’s version of “Somewhere” and she approves of the cover, haha. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Thanks for that, your post just catapulted me back to a summer spent in an old rusty Volkswagen bus, with ‘Closing Time’ being the soundtrack to a very slow, very bumpy but rather blissful journey to the west coast of France while – fearlessly facing every single cliché – large amounts of red wine, crème brûlée and croissants where consumed.

  10. I had most of his early albums on vinyl, till I stored them in the basement and they grew mould and had to be tossed (along with hundreds of other LPs). Heart Attack and Vine was my fave but Closing Time and Blue Valentine were close. (“Kentucky Avenue” was too sad to listen to – I had to skip that song.) I miss records. Thanks for the lovely memory.

    • Shame about that record collection. My father had a bunch of them and I think it’s by far the greatest product the music business has ever sold. Hopefully I get the chance to start a collection someday, who knows. heart attack and vine would make the cut! Take care

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