Tom Waits’ critically acclaimed album Real Gone was released back in 2004 when it made a big splash thanks to a remarkable degree of invention and a notable musical shift from the two preceding albums released in 2002 – Alice and Blood Money. The changes were there in your face from the opening Top of the Hill. A visionary mix of genres with Waits abandoning piano and a traditional rhythm section and utilizing an array of mouth made percussions and a beautifully cacophonous symphony of at times unidentifiable noises to create an alternately sad and jubilant reimagining of folk, blues and hip-hop. It also contained political song in the form of Day After Tomorrow, described as an “elliptical” protest against the Iraq War.
Back in the band after a five-year absence (last appearing on Mule Variations – 1999) was American guitarist and composer Marc Ribot whose earliest session work was featured on Waits’ Rain Dogs (1985). Also appearing was Waits own son Casey, Les Claypool and contemporary rock drummer Bryan Kei Mantia (better known as Brain) of American rock band Primus and bass guitarist Larry “The Mole” Taylor, a member of Canned Heat from 1967.
While the praise was wide and the album was supported by a sold-out tour across N. America and Europe it would appear that Tom Waits and longtime songwriting and production partner Kathleen Brennan were not completely happy with the final version. Together, they have returned to the original master tapes to remix the groundbreaking album which will be available via Anti- this November 24th.
We are told that the remix will have a sound and texture originally envisioned by the artist. It is a rare look into the creative process of the influential artist taking an opportunity to reinvestigate a pivotal work. Some of the new mixes are radical transformations from the original versions and the whole album crackles and steams with fuller intensity and more vivid intimacy.
Also being released on that same date are remastered versions of 2002’s Alice and Blood Money. Alice is a languid and mournful chamber piece, featuring piano, cello, violin and bass clarinet, highlighted by the titular jazz blues ballad. Blood Money is the tragic story of a conscripted soldier exploited by the Army and it is the first time Waits and Brennan tackles the world’s dark socio-political themes in song.
These records are being released as part of a series of remastered versions of Tom Waits’ Anti- catalogue, which will now sound better than ever on all of the digital music services.
In addition, Tom will release remastered versions of these albums:
1st December – ‘Glitter and Doom Live‘
15th December – ‘Mule Variations‘
2018 – ‘Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards‘ (released separately)
Info on albums to be released:
‘Mule Variations’ (1999) The Grammy award winner for Best Contemporary Folk Album, and Certified Gold Record, offers the iconic songs ‘Hold On’ and ‘What’s He Building in There’ along with the groove-heavy, ‘Get Behind The Mule’. Experimentation are interspersed with some of the most beautiful and personal songs Waits has written.
‘Blood Money‘ (2002) Based on the true story of Woyzeck, a conscripted German soldier, who murders the mother of his child after being driven mad by army drug experiments. This is a darkly rhythmic record, illuminating life’s bleak carnival with songs like ‘Misery is The River of the World”’and ‘God’s Away on Business’ and includes the melancholic beauty of ‘All the World is Green’ and ‘The Part You Throw Away’. Marimba, bass clarinet, trumpet, viola, cello, calliope and log drums form the core group of instruments.
‘Alice‘ (2002) Alice is a haunted, moody chamber piece devoted to the obsessive, forbidden love of Charles Dodgson for Alice Liddell, for whom Alice in Wonderland was created. Piano, pump organ, cello, theremin and stroh violin are the main instruments employed for these melancholy and comic musings on death, longing, and the random meanness of life. Waits adapts the classic blues jazz balladry his early career in the eponymous song, ‘Alice’ and the seasick pump organ and strings ode to the wall that separated East from West Germany, ‘Lost in the Harbor’.
‘Real Gone‘ (2004) Grammy nominated and featuring an entirely new mix that better fulfils the dynamic musical soundscape Waits/Brennan envisioned from the beginning. To accomplish this they returned to the multitrack session tapes and enhanced certain instruments or a vocal arrangement to create a sound that better represents the full-bodied more sonically vibrant and jagged edges that Waits and Brennan were originally going for but lost.
‘Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards‘ (2006) This Grammy Nominated, Gold-certified three-disc set will be offered as separate records for the first time. The collection goes beyond a simple career retrospective with over 30 newly recorded songs and unique interpretations of songs by a diverse group of artists which include The Ramones, Daniel Johnston, Kurt Weill & Bertolt Brecht and Leadbelly.
‘Glitter and Doom Live‘ (2009) Disc one captures 17 performances hand-picked by Waits from his sold-out 2008 international tour. The collection features a haunting ‘Trampled Rose’ from Real Gone and a hypnotic ‘Get Behind the Mule’ from Mule Variations. Waits also digs into the vaults for tracks like a reimagined ‘Singapore’ from 1985’s Rain Dogs. The second disc, ‘Tom Tales’, features a selection of the comic bromides, strange musings, and unusual facts that Tom traditionally shares with audiences.