Pub. Date:
Small Change

Small Change

by Tom WaitsTom Waits


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The fourth release in Tom Waits' series of skid row travelogues, Small Change proves to be the archetypal album of his '70s work. A jazz trio comprising tenor sax player Lew Tabackin, bassist Jim Hughart, and drummer Shelly Manne, plus an occasional string section, back Waits and his piano on songs steeped in whiskey and atmosphere in which he alternately sings in his broken-beaned drunk's voice (now deeper and overtly influenced by Louis Armstrong) and recites jazzy poetry. It's as if Waits were determined to combine the Humphrey Bogart and Dooley Wilson characters from Casablanca with a dash of On the Road's Dean Moriarty to illuminate a dark world of bars and all-night diners. Of course, he'd been in that world before, but in songs like "The Piano Has Been Drinking" and "Bad Liver and a Broken Heart," Waits gives it its clearest expression. Small Change isn't his best album. Like most of the albums Waits made in the '70s, it's uneven, probably because he was putting out one a year and didn't have time to come up with enough first-rate material. But it is the most obvious and characteristic of his albums for Asylum Records. If you like it, you also will like the ones before and after; otherwise, you're not Tom Waits' kind of listener.

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Product Details

Release Date: 03/23/2018
Label: Anti
UPC: 0045778756827
catalogNumber: 87568
Rank: 25348


  1. Tom Traubert's Blues
  2. Step Right Up
  3. Jitterbug Boy
  4. I Wish I Was In New Orleans
  5. The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me)
  6. Invitation To the Blues
  7. Pasties and a G-String
  8. Bad Liver and a Broken Heart
  9. The One That Got Away
  10. Small Change
  11. I Can't Wait To Get Off Work

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Tom Waits   Primary Artist,Piano,Vocals
Ray Kelley   Celli
Shelly Manne   Drums
Lew Tabackin   Tenor Saxophone
Murray Adler   Violin
Israel Baker   Violin
Harry Bluestone   Violin,Concert Master
Jesse Ehrlich   Celli
Allan Harshman   Viola
Jim Hughart   Bass
Nathan Kaproff   Violin
George Kast   Violin
Marvin Limonick   Violin
Alfred Lustgarten   Violin
Nathan Ross   Violin
Sheldon Sanov   Violin
David Schwartz   Viola
Sam Boghossian   Viola
Kathleen Lustgarten   Celli
Ed Lustgarten   Celli

Technical Credits

Tom Waits   Composer
Bones Howe   Producer,Engineer
Geoff Howe   Engineer
Jerry Yester   String Arrangements,String Conductor
Joel Brodsky   Cover Photo
Bruce Weber   Back Cover Photo
Bill Broms   Engineer

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