The Fourth Pick In The Great Album Game

Carnival barker, huckster, hip philosopher–– pull up a bar stool and let’s go!

I didn’t discover the wonders of Tom Waits until the mid-’80s, but once I got my head out of my ass, I dove deep into his catalog.

Discovering an artist late is good because you can sample his wares and gorge on the buffet he’s produced. This baby is his second album, the title track a tribute to Jack Kerouac.

When you drop a diamond on this disc, it’s clear Waits is one way gone daddy–– balling the jack on his piano pedals and taking listeners on a journey through sweaty smoke-filled bars stinking of cheap booze and desperation. He understands lonely crushed souls nursing tender heartaches, and he does it with sweet beat poetry and woozy jazz sensibilities.

Waits is a fine aged whiskey to savor. He’s an incredible songwriter, profound poet, charismatic performer, sideshow barker, and emotional huckster.

Pour me another, buddy–– it’s going to be a long night, and I’m loving every moment.

Should you ever have the chance to catch Waits live, which is about as rare as a dodo bird riding a unicorn, grab a ticket fast. The guy is a masterful performer.