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iTunes Review

"Considering that Tom Waits' entire musical career from beatnik barroom pianist to graveyard blues shouter could be considered one grand oddity, a 56-song collection of ""orphans"" — songs that didn't fit his official albums — seems unbelievable at first consideration. But it's not a matter of the songs being too weird or inappropriate for their surroundings. Some were recorded for tribute albums (the Ramones' ""The Return of Jackie and Judy,"" ""Danny Says"") or soundtracks (Pollock's ""The World Keeps Turning,"" Dead Man Walking's ""Walk Away,"" ""The Fall of Troy""), while many never met a final destination. And some were recorded specifically for this collection. Waits has his own trademarked bag o' tricks into which he often reaches for the primitive rhythm accompaniments and the stalking up-right bass lines that create haunting cartoon-like effects. Highlights are often: a read of Bukowski (""Nirvana""), a tear through Leadbelly (""Goodnight Irene,"" ""Ain't Goin' Down to the Well""), several stabs at Kerouac (""Home I'll Never Be,"" ""Poor Little Lamb,"" ""On the Road"") and loads of his own varnish in collaboration with his wife (""Long Way Home,"" ""Take Care of All My Children,"" ""Puttin' On the Dog""), including the shockingly literal and topical ""Road to Peace.""

Customer Reviews

Freight Trains, Hobo Bards, and Tin Cups

Thats what I think of when I think of Tom Waits. There is something sort of nostalgic about his singing that I can't quite put my finger on. His music sounds like an old well worn soul... Lots of experience, some good, some bad, but an experience that you just have to have. Some of his recordings aren't so much music as they are spoken word... He reminds me of an eclectic uncle that you see on family holiday gatherings or family reunions... Always the guy who has an interesting, if somewhat unbelievable, story to tell. Orphans is a collection of previously recorded yet unreleased songs divided into three sections "Brawlers, Bawlers, and Bastards" Over the course of your listening adventure you will find many songs that sound very similar to songs he did on previous albums. As I have found, many of his albums have a particular style to them, this particular gem is like a shotgun blast of mashed taters, there is a little bit everywhere. Some highlights of this album for me... Little Drop of Poison, The Fall of Troy, and Two Sisters. I hope you enjoy this album as much as I do.

A long-anticipated collection that exceeds expectations of greatness.

There's somethin about Tom Waits, about his appearance, his demeanor and his songs that conjurs older times, like the solemn portrait of the 1940s diner in the Edward Hopper painting "Nighthawks." This is a truly impressive collection from a man with the trademark gravelly voice, reminiscent at times of rockabilly, blues and jazz, and other times a bit darker and creepy like Screamin' Jay Hawkins "I put a spell on you." This compilation includes previous hits, old rarities, covers, and new renditions of old greats. Not to mention, it has over 50 songs to offer-- that's quite the anthology if you ask me.

My Favorite Tom Waits Album

Such a variety, whether you want Blues (CD 1), Ballads (CD 2), or prose/experimental (CD 3). I never get tired of listening to the collection of songs. Favorites: 2:19, Bottom Of The World, Puttin' On A Dog, Buzz Fledderjohn, Long Way Home, Widow's Grove, Little Drop Of Poison, Fannin Street, What Keeps Mankind Alive, Children's Story, Books Of Moses. I suggest to get the actual Cd though, because this doesn't include the two bonus tracks.


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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