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The Weekend Waits – Blue Valentines

The Weekend Waits

I think Tom should be suing these guys……..

The Weekend Waits – Hell Broke Luce

The Weekend Waits – Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet

Jeni, my correspondent from Maine USA asked about this record recently and if I’d heard it. I will let a dear departed friend of mine, Almax, tell the story. The following was an article on his blog in July 2010.

 
I’m just posting this in case there are any of you who have never heard this remarkable record.

About 15 years ago my friend played me a CD by Gavin Bryars with the same title as this posting.

It was a highly unusual disc, featuring numerous treatments of the same ‘song’.

And the ‘song’ actually consisted of a few lines ‘sung’ in a rough and ready way over and over again (by a tramp outside Waterloo Railway Station) , the lines being

Jesus’ blood never failed me yet

This one thing I know

For he loves me so

Gavin Bryars explains how this came to be recorded –

In 1971, when I lived in London, I was working with a friend, Alan Power, on a film about people living rough in the area around Elephant and Castle and Waterloo Station. In the course of being filmed, some people broke into drunken song – sometimes bits of opera, sometimes sentimental ballads – and one, who in fact did not drink, sang a religious song “Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet”. This was not ultimately used in the film and I was given all the unused sections of tape, including this one.

When I played it at home, I found that his singing was in tune with my piano, and I improvised a simple accompaniment. I noticed, too, that the first section of the song – 13 bars in length – formed an effective loop which repeated in a slightly unpredictable way. I took the tape loop to Leicester, where I was working in the Fine Art Department, and copied the loop onto a continuous reel of tape, thinking about perhaps adding an orchestrated accompaniment to this. The door of the recording room opened on to one of the large painting studios and I left the tape copying, with the door open, while I went to have a cup of coffee. When I came back I found the normally lively room unnaturally subdued. People were moving about much more slowly than usual and a few were sitting alone, quietly weeping.

I was puzzled until I realised that the tape was still playing and that they had been overcome by the old man’s singing. This convinced me of the emotional power of the music and of the possibilities offered by adding a simple, though gradually evolving, orchestral accompaniment that respected the tramp’s nobility and simple faith. Although he died before he could hear what I had done with his singing, the piece remains as an eloquent, but understated testimony to his spirit and optimism.

Almax then continues…

I’d really forgotten all about this until Tom Waits was the guest editor in Mojo magazine last month – in the free CD there is a version of the song with Waits singing along in the background (‘harmonising’ with the tramp).

As you know, I am not religious, but if I was then I would consider this as a very powerful piece of religious music. As it is, it would genuinely bring a tear to a glass eye. The few lines sung by the tramp (probably entirely of his own invention and devising) have become something of a classic.

Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet

The Weekend Waits – Still Looking for the Heart of Saturday Night

waits

There are still five days left to listen here. Thanks to Lenin the Parakeet for the heads up.

Bob v Tom

Say something Tom……

 

The Weekend Waits – Tom Waits for No One

Haven’t had one of these for a while.

This is an animated Tom starring in a John Lamb work from 1979.

Tom Waits performed in 1978 live at the La Brea stage in Hollywood, photographed and rotoscoped.The original live action was shot with 5 cameras – 2 high, 2 low and one hand held.. shot by Dan O’Dowd and crew..The music from “The One That Got Away” blared in the background as Tom sang the lyrics. Donna Gordon is the dancer performing as the stripper, 6 takes and 13 hours of video footage were edited to make a 5 1/2 minute live action short which we turned into animation. A total of 5,500 frames were captured, re-drawn, inked and painted by hand onto celluloid acitate to create this film. Produced by Lyon Lamb Video Animation Systems and directed by John Lamb, the film bore some cool new technology and talent ..and was created specifically for a burgeoning video music market that didn’t yet exist and arguably may be the first music video created for the MTV market.However, a series of unfortunate events prohibited the film from ever
being released or sold commercially, consequently catapulting it into obscurity.
In 1979, an Academy Award was presented to Lyon Lamb for the technology used in this short.
More about this amazing lost film can be found @ ….TomWaitsLibrary.com and Wikipedia.

The Weekend Waits – Letterman

Haven’t featured Tam for a wee while.

Here he is in sparkling form on the Letterman chat show the other night:

And here he is performing Chicago, from the album Bad as Me, on the show: