There is more than one Tom Waits. There’s the Weirdo ‘Don’t Go Into That Barn’ Tom, the American Gothic storyteller of ‘Black Wings’ and ‘What’s He Building In There?’, The crooner who brought you ‘Hang Down Your Head’, ‘Martha’ and ‘Old 55’ and then there’s the Downtown LA Narrator of ‘Nighthawks At The Diner’ and ‘Looking For The Heart Of Saturday Night’.
Warm Beer and Cold Women is the latter kind. The late night jazz and heavy drinking type. Like a bit player in a noir novel Tom tinkles the ivory and spins a yarn. Painting a picture with every phrase.
‘Every joint I stumbled into tonight, that’s just how it’s been, All these double knit strangers with gin and vermouth and recycled stories, In the naugahyde booths’
Telling tall tales of Platinum Blondes and Tobacco Brunettes, Tom has weighed it all up and concluded there’s nothing to do but drink it all away. But in the mean meantime Tom is ‘Borin’ some sailor as I try to get through, I just want him to listen, That’s all you have to do, He said I’m better off without you, ‘Til I showed him my tattoo’
If being a pitiful shambles can be considered an art form this is nothing short of a minor masterpiece.