Saturday, December 12, 2009

Orphans limited edition vinyl box reviews

There don't seem to be that much actual reviews around, they're mostly announcements, but nevertheless:


WJ Melville said...

I wrote a few words about the Bonus LP on my blog. I don't know if this is the place for self-promotion. But it might help if you are considering this:

Black Swede said...

I got my copy of the "Orphans" vinyl boxed set last night. The set comes with a sturdy cloth-bound cardboard box and a roughly LP-size booklet. The booklet is a treat with some added photos to the cd edition and a few of the photos enlarged to fill the page. One of the new additions is the picture of the devil on a fireplace shovel as featured on the Late Night With Conan O'Brien Show in 2007.

For the music itself, the main attraction is the bonus LP with previously unreleased tracks. Of the six, only four actually are previously unreleased. "Crazy About My Baby" was included on the B-side of "Lie To Me" 7" single and "Pray" is a collaboration with The Book Of Knots a few years back.

"Diamond In Your Mind" is a narrative in the vein of "Down There By The Train". It's wonderfully sparsely arranged and features a strong vocal performance by Waits.

"Cannon Song" is a Kurt Weill & Bertold Brecht piece that comes with a beatboxing backing similar to the one on "Spidey's Wild Ride". This song is not a sketch, though. Waits blasts through this anti-war song with ferocious rage, underlining the menace of war.

"No One Can Forgive Me" is clearly taken from the "Bone Machine" sessions back in 1992. One can tell this by the studio ambience and the arrangement which is very similar to "Murder In The Red Barn". The track itself takes the listener to a winding backroad, rather than a bloody barn. It's a bizarre ride and a one not for the faint-hearted. The music's unfinished, but full of fascinating detail.

"Mathie Grove" is a version of the ancient British ballad "Lord Daniel" and what a masterpiece it is! Waits sings this a cappella and manages to keep the pace up for the full 7-minute duration of the piece. Like the folk masters before him, Waits both illustrates the action in addition to merely telling the story. Waits also creates a magnificent, roaring vocal sound quite unlike anything we've heard from him before.

So, to cap all this up, the vinyl edition of "Orphans" is an improved version of the CD set. Five of the six added tunes are absolute killers and more than make up for the comparative lack of quality on "Bawlers", the ballad set.