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Real Gone

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With the release of 1983’s seminal Swordfishtrombones Tom Waits walked away from the piano-bound Bukowski persona that he worked throughout the ‘70s and never looked back. With each album that followed, Waits, with the assistance of songwriter and spouse Kathleen Brennan, plunged further and further into a disorienting world of distorted junkyard blues, Beefheartian flights of improvisational fancy, and wildly sketched characters drawn from the fringes of the subconscious. 2004’s Real Gone sees Waits expanding on these themes with a steely-eyed sense of purpose born of post 9/11 despair and disillusionment. “Hoist That Rag”, an unholy guitar racket powered by a relentless Cuban rhythm, is an uncompromising indictment of abuses of power performed in the name of patriotism, while “Sins of My Father” is an extended meditation on inherited guilt. Throughout Real Gone Waits is accompanied by a host of exceptional players, foremost amongst them guitarist Mark Ribot, who coaxes a remarkable array of screeches and groans from his instrument, imbuing Real Gone with a confrontational grit not seen on a Waits album since 1992’s Bone Machine.


Born: 07 December 1949 in Pomona, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

In the 1970s, Tom Waits combined a lyrical focus on desperate, low-life characters with a persona that seemed to embody the same lifestyle, which he sang about in a raspy, gravelly voice. From the '80s on, his work became increasingly theatrical as he moved into acting and composing. Growing up in Southern California, Waits attracted the attention of manager Herb Cohen, who also handled Frank Zappa, and was signed by him at the beginning of the 1970s, resulting in the material later released as The...
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