Mule Variations (Remastered) Tom Waits

Album info

Album-Release:
1999

HRA-Release:
25.10.2017

Label: Anti/Epitaph, ADA US

Genre: Rock

Subgenre: Blues Rock

Album including Album cover

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  • 1Big In Japan 04:05
  • 2Lowside Of The Road 02:59
  • 3Hold On 03:57
  • 4Get Behind The Mule 06:52
  • 5House Where Nobody Lives 04:14
  • 6Cold Water 05:23
  • 7Pony 04:32
  • 8What's He Building? 03:20
  • 9Black Market Baby 05:02
  • 10Eyeball Kid 04:25
  • 11Picture In A Frame 03:39
  • 12Chocolate Jesus 03:55
  • 13Georgia Lee 04:24
  • 14Filipino Box Spring Hog 03:09
  • 15Take It With Me 04:24
  • 16Come On Up To The House 04:36
  • Total Runtime01:08:56

Info for Mule Variations (Remastered)



Not much else can be said about this album other than this is Tom Waits at his best. Tom Waits is one of the most innovative artists in popular music. His singular vision embraces everything from blues to tin-pan-alley to jazz to just about anything else you can think of. Grammy winner, actor, poet, a master of the musical collage and lyrical surprise, Tom Waits is simply a giant.

Mule Variations offers the most complete picture of Tom Waits of any of his albums. Edgy stomps, humor and experimentation are interspersed with some of the most beautiful and personal songs he’s ever written.

Tom Waits is one of the most innovative artists in popular music. His singular vision embraces everything from blues to tin-pan-alley to jazz to just about anything else you can think of. Grammy winner, actor, poet, a master of the musical collage and lyrical surprise, Tom Waits is simply a giant. Mule Variations offers the most complete picture of Tom Waits of any of his albums. Edgy stomps, humor and experimentation are interspersed with some of the most beautiful and personal songs he's ever written. (tomwaits.com)

„Mule Variations is name for a hybrid animal--the offspring of a male ass and a female horse. It's a pretty good description of Waits's aesthetic: Always messing with at least two genres per song, he sticks things together and makes them breed.“ (Spin)

„More seen than heard in recent years, Waits proves again why he deserves an audience.“ (People)

„Waits has written and sung about the weird, sweet, tortured lives of real people. Mule Variations is more of the queer, wonderful same.“ (Mojo)

„Tom Waits grew steadily less prolific after redefining himself as a junkyard noise poet with Swordfishtrombones, but the five-year wait between The Black Rider and 1999's Mule Variations was the longest yet. Given the fact that Waits decided to abandon major labels for the California indie Epitaph, Mule Variations would seem like a golden opportunity to redefine himself and begin a new phase of his career. However, it plays like a revue of highlights from every album he's made since Swordfishtrombones. Of course, that's hardly a criticism; the album uses the ragged cacophony of Bone Machine as a starting point, and proceeds to bring in the songwriterly aspects of Rain Dogs, along with its affection for backstreet and backwoods blues, plus a hint of the beatnik qualities of Swordfish. So Mule Variations delivers what fans want, in terms of both songs and sonics. But that also explains why it sounds terrific on initial spins, only to reveal itself as slightly dissatisfying with subsequent plays. All of Waits' Island records felt like fully conceived albums with genuine themes. Mule Variations, in contrast, is a collection of moments, and while each of those moments is very good (some even bordering on excellent), ultimately the whole doesn't equal the sum of its parts. While that may seem like nitpicking, some may have wanted a masterpiece after five years, and Mule Variations falls short of that mark. Nevertheless, this is a hell of a record by any other standard. Waits is still writing terrific songs and matching them with wildly evocative productions; furthermore, it's his lightest record in years -- it's actually fun to listen to, even with a murder ballad here and a psycho blues there. In that sense, it's a unique item in his post-Swordfish catalog, and that may make up for it not being the masterpiece it seemed like it could have been.“ (Stephen Thomas Erlewine, AMG)

Tom Waits, vocals, guitar, piano, organ, percussion, Chamberlin
Marc Ribot, guitars
Larry Taylor, bass, guitars
Joe Gore, guitar
John Hammond, blues harp
Charlie Musselwhite, blues harp
Stephen Hodges, percussion
Smokey Hormel, guitar, Dobro, Chumbus & Dousengoni
Les Claypool, bass
Greg Cohen, bass, percussion
Chris Grady, trumpet
Ralph Carney, trumpet, saxophones, bass clarinet
Andrew Borger, drums, percussion
Brain Mantia, drums
Christopher Marvin, drums

Produced by Kathleen Brennan, Tom Waits

Digitally remastered

In the 1970s, Tom Waits combined a lyrical focus on desperate, low-life characters with a persona that seemed to embody the same lifestyle, which he sang about in a raspy, gravelly voice. From the '80s on, his work became increasingly theatrical as he moved into acting and composing. Growing up in Southern California, Waits attracted the attention of manager Herb Cohen, who also handled Frank Zappa, and was signed by him at the beginning of the 1970s, resulting in the material later released as The Early Years and The Early Years, Vol. 2. His formal recording debut came with Closing Time (1973) on Asylum Records, an album that contained "Ol' 55," which was covered by labelmates the Eagles for their On the Border album. Waits attracted critical acclaim and a cult audience for his subsequent albums, The Heart of Saturday Night (1974), the two-LP live set Nighthawks at the Diner (1975), Small Change (1976), Foreign Affairs (1977), Blue Valentine (1978), and Heart Attack and Vine (1980). His music and persona proved highly cinematic, and, starting in 1978, he launched parallel careers as an actor and as a composer of movie music. He wrote songs for and appeared in Paradise Alley (1978), wrote the title song for On the Nickel (1980), and was hired by director Francis Coppola to write the music for One from the Heart (1982), which earned him an Academy Award nomination. While working on that project, Waits met and married playwright Kathleen Brennan, with whom he later collaborated.

Moving to Island Records, Waits made Swordfishtrombones (1983), which found him experimenting with horns and percussion and using unusual recording techniques. The same year, he appeared in Coppola's Rumble Fish and The Outsiders, and, in 1984, he appeared in the director's The Cotton Club. In 1985, he released Rain Dogs. In 1986, he appeared in Down by Law and made his theatrical debut with Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre in Frank's Wild Years, a musical play he had written with Brennan. An album based on the play was released in 1987, the same year Waits appeared in the films Candy Mountain and Ironweed. In 1988, he released a film and soundtrack album depicting one of his concerts, Big Time. In 1989, he appeared in the films Bearskin: An Urban Fairytale, Cold Feet, and Wait Until Spring. His work for the theater continued in 1990 when Waits partnered with opera director Robert Wilson and beat novelist William Burroughs and staged The Black Rider in Hamburg, Germany. In 1991, he appeared in the films Queens' Logic, The Fisher King, and At Play in the Fields of the Lord. In 1992, he scored the film Night on Earth; released the album Bone Machine, which won a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album; appeared in the film Bram Stoker's Dracula; and returned to Hamburg for the staging of his second collaboration with Robert Wilson, Alice. The Black Rider was documented on CD in 1993, the same year Waits appeared in the film Short Cuts.

A long absence from recording resulted in the 1998 release of Beautiful Maladies, a retrospective of his work for Island. In 1999, Waits finally returned with a new album, Mule Variations. The record was a critical success, winning a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk album, and was also his first for the independent Epitaph Records' Anti subsidiary. A small tour followed, but Waits jumped right back into the studio and began working on not one but two new albums. By the time he emerged in the spring of 2002, both Alice and Blood Money were released on Anti Records. Blood Money consisted of the songs from the third Wilson/Waits collaboration that was staged in Denmark in 2000 and won Best Drama of the Year. After limited touring in support of these two endeavors, Waits returned to the recording studio and issued Real Gone in 2004. The album marked a large departure for him in that it contained no keyboards at all, focusing only on stringed and rhythm instruments. Glitter and Doom Live appeared in 2009. Waits didn't release another studio album of new material until 2011, when he issued Bad as Me on Anti in the Fall. He uncharacteristically issued a track listing two months in advance of the release, and the pre-release title track as a digital single. He also took the unusual step of releasing a video in which he allowed bits of all the album's songs to play while he scolded bloggers and peer-to-peer sites for invading his privacy. (All Music.com)

This album contains no booklet.

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