There are only two musicians that can lyrically touch me like TomWaits or Leonard Cohen. They are out of this world for me.
They both bring together poetry and music in a way that I haven’t heard anyone being able to do.
With his Old Testament growl and dedication to clanging, wheezing instruments, Tom Waits’s sound is unmistakable. His songs mix an imaginative sense of theatre with cool jazz, grizzled blues, and Tin Pan Alley. He’s spent four decades advocating for all the lost souls who walk crooked streets while creating some of pop’s most vivid moments.
Waits claims to have been born in a moving taxi. He grew up in San Diego, California, where he listened to Bing Crosby pop hits, Stephen Foster parlor songs, and George Gershwin classics. He also developed an intense admiration for, and identification with, Beat generation writers such as Jack Kerouac and those who followed in the On The Road author’s footsteps, such as Charles Bukowski.
Here’s a song by him:
“Invitation To The Blues”
Yesterday’s deliveries, tickets for the bachelors
She’s a moving violation from her conk down to her shoes,
Well, it’s just an invitation to the blues
And you feel just like Cagney, she looks like Rita Hayworth
At the counter of the Schwab’s drugstore
You wonder if she might be single, she’s a loner and likes to mingle
Got to be patient, try and pick up a clue
She said “How you gonna like ’em, over medium or scrambled?”,
You say “Anyway’s the only way”, be careful not to gamble
On a guy with a suitcase and a ticket getting out of here
It’s a tired bus station and an old pair of shoes
This ain’t nothing but an invitation to the bluesBut you can’t take your eyes off her, get another cup of java,
It’s just the way she pours it for you, joking with the customers
Mercy mercy, Mr. Percy, there ain’t nothing back in Jersey
But a broken-down jalopy of a man I left behind
And the dream that I was chasing, and a battle with booze
And an open invitation to the bluesBut she used to have a sugar daddy and a candy-apple Caddy,
And a bank account and everything, accustomed to the finer things
He probably left her for a socialite, and he didn’t love her ‘cept at night,
And then he’s drunk and never even told her that he cared
So they took the registration, and the car-keys and her shoes
And left her with an invitation to the blues’Cause there’s a Continental Trailways leaving local bus tonight, good evening
You can have my seat, I’m sticking round here for a while
Get me a room at the Squire, the filling station’s hiring,
And I can eat here every night, what the hell have I got to lose?
Got a crazy sensation, go or stay? now I gotta choose,
And I’ll accept your invitation to the blues