TOM WAITS’ gold-certified triple-disc masterpiece ORPHANS: BRAWLERS, BAWLERS & BASTARDS (Anti-) will be reinvented on December 8 as a limited edition vinyl set, complete with a deluxe 12” booklet and six new bonus cuts. The collection totals 62 tracks over seven full length LPs, all pressed on 180 gram vinyl. (In the original CD collection, the package contained 30 new recordings which have now been upped to 32 with two newly recorded tracks as part of the bonus 6 on the vinyl set.)
An assemblage of rare, new and mostly unheard tracks, ORPHANS includes irreverent–or, rather, remarkably relevant—covers of songs by artists as disparate as the Ramones and Leadbelly, along with WAITS compositions originally recorded by other artists. Waits’ selections dazzle as sonic experiments and twisted tales.
WAITS says, “Orphans are rough and tender tunes. Rhumbas about mermaids, shuffles about train wrecks, tarantellas about insects, madrigrals about drowning. Scared, mean, orphaned songs of rapture and melancholy. Songs that grew up hard. Songs of dubious origin rescued from cruel fate and now left wanting only to be cared for. Show that you are not afraid and take them home. They don’t bite, they just need attention.”
Each of the three CDs is separately grouped and sub-titled – “Brawlers,” “Bawlers” and “Bastards” – to capture the full spectrum of Waits’ ranging and roving musical styles. “Brawlers” is chock full of raucous blues and full-throated juke joint stomp, “Bawlers” contains Celtic and country ballads, waltzes, lullabies, piano and classic lyrical Waits songs, while “Bastards” is filled with experimental music and strange tales.
Termed “a definitive album” by Robert Christgau in Rolling Stone, the original CD release of ORPHANS was among the fastest-selling offering of WAITS’ career, and a hit with critics. “Waits may call them orphans, but another artist would call this a career,” noted Keith Phipps in The Onion.
In the Los Angeles Times, Richard Cromelin called ORPHANS “A fulfillment of the ideal Waits…This is one to salt away to sustain you through many winters of the soul.”
Among the bonus tracks exclusive to this vinyl collectors’ edition are a whimsical take on Fats Waller’s “Crazy ‘Bout My Baby” and “Diamond In Your Mind,” a WAITS/BRENNAN song first heard on Solomon Burke’s GRAMMY-winning CD Don’t Give Up On Me. Others include “Pray,” Kurt Weill & Bertolt Brecht’s “Canon Song,” “No One Can Forgive Me” and “Mathie Grove.”
Meanwhile, WAITS is set to release Glitter and Doom Live on November 23 both on LP and as a 2 CD set. The collection of outstanding live tracks from his 2008 sold out US and European tour features 17 live recordings from ten nights along the tour. The second CD entitled Tom Tales, holds nearly 40 minutes of Waits quixotic ruminations on topics ranging from romantic spiders to injured vultures. The live discs encapsulate Waits in all his chug, boom and steam.
On Christmas Day, WAITS hits the big screen alongside Christopher Plummer, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and the late Heath Ledger in Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. And in January, he can also be seen in the Hughes Brothers’ Book of Eli with Denzel Washington.
For more on TOM WAITS and ORPHANS, check out the newly launched www.tomwaits.com.