I've taken one spin through Tom Waits's forthcoming Bad as Me, which is every bit as good as they say -- Rain Dogs redux times 10, turned up to 11. Hear for yourself: Anti- Records is streaming the lit-with-a-torch "Back in the Crowd" and the titular trash-can growl. Record's out October 24, which reminds me: Exactly 35 years ago to the day Waits played Faces on Cedar Springs, site of that Elvis Costello-Nick Lowe show in '78.
A Friend of Unfair Park sent me a recording back in June, shortly after I directed your attention to the October 25, 1975, set on the University of Texas at Arlington campus, another early-days must-listen. The October 24, 1976, gig appears to have been a radio broadcast; my Friend thinks it aired on KZEW, but he can't be sure. Fair warning, though: There's no easily accessible recording out there, at least not of the whole shot. But here (scroll down) you'll find one of its essential offerings: Waits covering Little Willie John's "Fever," an easy-to-grab keepsake and one of the few covers of that song that lives up to the original. And here's "Putnam County" from Faces, every bit as good as the version on Nighthawks at the Diner.
But, tell you what: More than once someone has asked about the Waits set at the Palladium back in June of '08 -- you remember, when he demanded they cut off the air-conditioning. Turns out, a few weeks back someone posted a pretty decent recording of that sweat-drenched epic. So, here.
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But back to that '76 gig: It also resulted in two of the more famous photos of Waits taken during that period, both by Philip Gould -- this one and the one you see above, which graces a collection of Waits pieces in which my 1999 interview with the man happens to be included (which I found out years later). I had no idea till this summer that photo was taken locally -- "at the old Steak & Egg on Cedar Springs perhaps," says my Friend. "I can tell that's a Goody Goody liquor next door."