Franks Wild Years

Franks Wild Years

by Tom WaitsTom Waits


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Tom Waits wrote a song called "Frank's Wild Years" for his 1983 Swordfishtrombones album, then used the title (minus its apostrophe) for a musical play he wrote with his wife, Kathleen Brennan, and toured with in 1986. The Franks Wild Years album, drawn from the show, is subtitled, "un operachi romantico in two acts," though the songs themselves do not carry the plot. Rather, this is just the third installment in Waits' eccentric series of Island Records albums in which he seems most inspired by German art song and carnival music, presenting songs in spare, stripped-down arrangements consisting of instruments like marimba, baritone horn, and pump organ and singing in a strained voice that has been artificially compressed and distorted. The songs themselves often are conventional romantic vignettes, or would be minus the oddities of instrumentation, arrangement, and performance. For example, "Innocent When You Dream," a song of disappointment in love and friendship, has a winning melody, but it is played in a seesaw arrangement of pump organ, bass, violin, and piano, and Waits sings it like an enraged drunk. (He points out the arbitrary nature of the arrangements by repeating "Straight to the Top," done as a demented rhumba in act one, as a Vegas-style Frank Sinatra swing tune in act two.) The result on record may not be theatrical, exactly, but it certainly is affected. It also has the quality of an inside joke that listeners are not being let in on.

Product Details

Release Date: 06/15/1990
Label: Island
UPC: 0042284235723
catalogNumber: 842357

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Tom Waits   Primary Artist,Organ,Guitar,Conga,Drums,Tambourine,Vocals,Mellotron,farfisa organ,Pump Organ,Optigan
Marc Ribot   Banjo,Guitar
Jay Anderson   Bass
William Schimmel   Organ,Piano,Accordion,Pump Organ,bass pedals
Ralph Carney   Violin,Baritone Horn,Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Larry Taylor   Bass,Upright Bass
Michael Blair   Percussion,Conga,Drums,Glockenspiel,Maracas,Marimbas,Bells
Angela Brown   Background Vocals
Greg Cohen   Bass,Alto Horn,bass pedals
David Hidalgo   Accordion
Leslie Holland   Background Vocals
Lynne Jordan   Background Vocals
Moris Tepper   Guitar
Francis Thumm   Organ,Piano,Pump Organ

Technical Credits

Tom Waits   Composer,Producer,Contributor
Tchad Blake   Engineer
Biff Dawes   Engineer
Lorita DeLaCerna   Engineer
Mike Kloster   Engineer
Danny Leake   Engineer
David Knight   Engineer
Jeff Price   Art Direction
Stephen Shelton   Engineer
Bill Highley   Engineer
Dave Glover   Engineer

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