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Mule Variations

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iTunes Review

"Southern Gothic mystery meets Rust Belt romance on Tom Waits' Mule Variations. This 1999 release unveils a surreal panorama of battered vagabonds, cracked-up lovers, and assorted oddballs, lashed together by a clattering sound soaked in gutbucket rock and deep-fried in Delta blues. Waits' unmistakable voice — a gravel-seasoned growl capable of achingly tender moments — crackles with back-alley eloquence and delight. From the junkyard rattle of ""Big In Japan"" through the sing-along wail of ""Cold Water"" and the field holler ferocity of ""Filipino Box Spring Hog,"" he fully embodies the ragtag desperation of his characters. The softer tracks, especially the starkly lovely ""Take It With Me,"" are equally riveting, and Waits' finely bent humor fills ""What's He Building?"" with nervous laughter. With blues veterans Charlie Musselwhite and John Hammond adding a sonic authenticity to the sessions, Mule Variations is a truly wild ride into the heart of Waits' dark American dreams."

Customer Reviews


Best album of all time. Ever. Ever. EVER! Standout tracks include: Big in japan- Great lyrics plus Tom Waits beat boxes! Lowside of the road- Scary voice, reminds me of Screamin' Jay Hawkins Get behind the mule- Hypnotizing voice, catchy Cold Water- Great hook Eyeball- Ominous, creepy, mysterious great song Filipino Box Spring Hog- Impossible to describe in mere mortal words. You have to listen to it to believe it, I can only guide you there

One of his best...and that's hard to say.

This album was my first introduction to Mr. Waits. At first I had a hard time getting past the voice, but once I did I discovered a tremendous songwriter and some incredible songs. This album is one of those rare collections of songs that is great from start to finish. From the hooky, catchy tunes like Big in Japan, Fillipino Box Spring Hog and Cold Water, the heartfelt ballad Picture in a Frame, the powerful, perfect closer Come on up to the House and everything in between, this is one great album. Don't simply buy one song. Buy the whole thing. You won't be sorry.

Tom is the creator.

Tom Waits is an amazing song writer. Creating and playing characters like an acting musician touching on every genre possible. This album is a great album for anyone trying to get inot Tom Waits. It tells some really cool stories.


Born: December 7, 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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