Stereophile Recording of the Month, January 2012!
Five stars for Performance and Four 1/2 stars for Sonics!
Mastered by Bernie Grundman and Pressed on 180 Gram Vinyl!
Full-Size 16 Page Book of Lyrics & Photos!
Features Guest Artists Keith Richards, Charlie Musselwhite, Les Claypool, Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers) and more!
4-Star Rating by Rolling Stone Magazine!
Throughout his career, everyone’s favorite swamp blues troubadour Tom Waits has
created milestone albums that serve both to refine the music that has come
before, and to signal a new phase in his career: Rain Dogs and Mule Variations
are both counted by fans as among these pivotal works. Now comes Bad As Me, his
first studio album of all new music in seven years, which finds Tom Waits in
possibly the finest voice of his career and at the height of his songwriting
powers, working with a veteran team of gifted musicians and longtime co-writer/
producer Kathleen Brennan. From the opening horn-fueled chug of “Chicago,”
to the closing barroom chorale of “New Year’s Eve,” Bad As Me displays the full
career range of Waits’ songwriting, from beautiful ballads like “Last Leaf,” to
the avant cinematic soundscape of “Hell Broke Luce,” a battlefront dispatch. On
tracks like “Talking at the Same Time,” Waits shows off a supple falsetto, while
on blues burners like “Raised Right Men” and the gospel tinged “Satisfied” he
spits, stutters and howls. Like a good boxer, these songs are lean and mean,
with strong hooks and tight running times. And there is a pervasive sense of
players delighting in each other’s musical company that brings a feeling of
loose joy even to the album’s saddest songs. Bad As Me is a Tom Waits album for
Tom Waits is a global icon, to the countless young musicians who namecheck him
as a major influence, and the press and critics who consistently list Tom as one
of the most important artists in popular music.
Tom was inducted by Neil Young on March 20th 2011 into the Rock and Roll Hall of
The album cover, a photographic self-portrait by Waits, is an instant classic in
a long line of classic Tom Waits’ album covers.
This is his first studio record since 2004’s Real Gone. In the interval he has
released the rarities collection Orphans (certified gold) and Glitter and Doom
Live, a document of his sold-out 2008 tour.
"Braying and crooning in Salvation Army finery like a visitor from our
last Depression, Bad as Me riffs on money, jobs and bosses; also love, war and
unending struggle as the norm. It's no big departure for a 61-year old
singer-songwriter who has been representing as a skid-row bard since his
twenties. But it plays to the moment as Waits refines his prickly brand of time
travel. It might also be his most broadly emotional set ever; certainly it's his
most sharply focused record since the game-changing tag team Swordfishtrombones
and Rain Dogs decades ago.
"At its heart are electric guitars. Marc Ribot's jagged, Cuban-tinged riffs have
helped define Waits' sound since the 1980s. Keith Richards and David Hidalgo
(Los Lobos) bring their own takes on American roots music - Richards (who plays
on four cuts) with slurred Chuck Berry licks, Hidalgo with corrido-style blues.
Bassists Flea and Les Claypool add angular funk, while a circus trailer of other
ace musicians tumbles across the stage.
"But Waits' voice is the star - that weird instrument that can seem like shtick
on first blush but turns out to be as emotionally true an exaggeration as Thom
Yorke's falsetto. His high register is heartbreaking on the grim ballad "Talking
at the Same Time", ditto his tenor croon on the epigrammatic "Pay Me"..." "4
Stars" - Will Hermes, Rolling Stone magazine
"Since his career-changing one-two punch of Swordfishtrombones (1983) and
Rain Dogs (1985), Waits's music has uneasily fit into two broad categories:
ballads and banging. On Bad As Me, neither mode has been better since those two
earlier successes. For those who mourn the passing of the easy-to-love melodies
and sentimental turns of his years on Asylum Records, there's "Last Leaf": Waits
and Keith Richards join their cracked, creaky voices in a regretful old-man duo,
as a tenacious leaf hangs on to its tree..." - Robert Baird, Stereophile
Magazine, January 2012 issue, pg. 135
"Closely recording Waits's sound qualities and temperaments has to be a
challenge. Yet Bad As Me manages to catch the jagged badlands of his voice, its
many timbres, and his shifting pitch and volume, all in gorgeously natural detail."
- Robert Baird, Stereophile Magazine, January 2012 issue, pg. 135
• 180g Vinyl
• Mastered by Bernie Grundman
• Pressed at RIP-V Canada
• Full-size 16 page book of lyrics, photos
Tom Waits, vocals, banjo, piano, guitar, percussion
Keith Richards, guitar, vocals (B-4)
Les Claypool, bass
Charlie Musselwhite, harmonica
Casey Waits, drums
Larry Taylor, guitar, acoustic & electric bass
Marc Ribot, guitar
Clint Maedgen, saxes
Ben Jaffe, trombone, bass, clarinet
Augie Meyers, vox organ, piano, accordian
David Hidalgo, guitar, violin
James Whiton, bass
Gino Robair, percussion, vibes
Patrick Warren, keyboards
Chris Grady, trumpet
Dawn Harms, violin
Will Bernard, guitar
Marcus Shelby, bass
2. Raised Right Men
3. Talking At The Same Time
4. Get Lost
5. Face To the Highway
6. Pay Me
7. Back In the Crowd
1. Bad As Me
2. Kiss Me
4. Last Leaf
5. Hell Broke Luce
6. New Year's Eve