ROLLING STONE REVIEWS

Tom Waits,

 Closing Time

 

By Stephen Holden
April 26, 1973
 

Singer/songwriter/pianist Tom Waits is more than a chip off the Randy Newman block. Though he sounds like a boozier, earthier version of same and delights in rummaging through the attics of nostalgia, the persona that emerges from this remarkable debut album is Waits' own, at once sardonic, vulnerable and emotionally charged. His voice is self-mocking, bordering on self-pity, and most of his songs could be described as all-purpose lounge music ... a style that evokes an aura of crushed cigarettes in seedy bars and Sinatra singing "One for My Baby." Though it would sound like an unpromising idiom in which to work, what Waits does with it is very daring and almost entirely successful. In both his songs and in his lazy, strolling piano playing, he parodies the lounge music sub-genre so perfectly that we wonder if he's putting us on or if he's for real, and it is his especial triumph that in the end he has it both ways: He is able to deliver whole both the truth and the sham of the music.

"Grapefruit moon and one star shining/Shining down on me/Heard that tune and now I'm pining/Honey can't you see." Waits sings these corny lines with such conviction that the cut comes off as not just a wry pastiche of nostalgia but the essence of nostalgia itself. The language of cliche is transmuted into the super-articulate vehicle for the expression of gut feeling. It's no wonder then that Waits' personal narratives are ultimately not all that different in spirit from his parodies, for they too are stamped with the same emotional realism. In particular, Waits is master of the pictorial vignette that crystallizes the emotions of a specific common experience in a uniquely moving way.

"Ol' 55," one of the album's finest cuts, is a prime example; it being the rapturous evocation of driving the freeway in the early morning in a state of post-coital euphoria: "Now the sun's comin' up/And I'm riding with Lady Luck/Freeway, cars and trucks/Stars beginning to fade, and I lead the parade." Just as compelling, but this time painfully so, is the ballad (with lovely guitar accompaniment by Shep Cooke), "I Hope That I Don't Fall in Love with You." In this story about meeting eyes with a girl in a bar, having wild romantic fantasies, but finally being too shy to pick her up. Waits doesn't just sing the song, he phrases it like the interior monologue of a method actor:

Well if you sit down with this ol' clown
I'll take that frown and break it
... Well, I turn around to look at you
And you light a cigarette
I wish I had the guts to bum one
But we've never met.

Melodically, it is the album's most beautiful song.

The Randy Newman influence is most apparent in "Lonely," a sustained riff on a phrase from "I Think It's Going to Rain Today." Again, Waits faces down the problem of expressing extreme emotion and solves it by being supremely inarticulate: "Lonely, lonely, lonely/Lonely eyes, lonely face, lonely, lonely in your place," he moans, and succeeds in communicating the core of his feeling without our being embarrassed for him.

Though many will resist Waits' sensibility as too self-indulgent, there is a consistent humor and sense of the absurd in his work that raises it above the level of banal kvetching. Like Loudon Wainwright, who offers a more sophisticated variety of tragicomedy, Waits dances on the line between pathos and bathos without going too far in the wrong direction. Both singers know how and when to ham it up; both succeed on their instinctive acting ability as much, if not more than through musical intuitiveness.



ARIZONA REPUBLIC ARTICLES

 ONA'S GOING THROUGH MUSIC CYCLE SIMILAR TO 1960s

Arizona Republic, The (Phoenix, AZ) - Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Author: RICHARD KELLEHER , The Republic

I ran across an out-of-print book years ago that looked at business cycles.

The book was written somewhere in the Roaring '20s or the bleak Depression era of the '30s. The premise was that history repeats itself.

Ironically, Arizona is going through a cycle similar to the 1960s, and it was a look at music that brought this revelation to me. Arizona is doubling its growth, and the 1960s saw fantastic growth, as well.

Arizona musicians burst forth in the 1990s, the biggest being the Gin Blossoms, but we also had rhythm and blues singer CeCe Peniston and at the moment we have Jordin Sparks. Thrown in were The Pistoleros, Trik Turner and Jimmy Eat World.

The biggest musical name to come out of Arizona is definitely Alice Cooper, who leaped on to the national music scene around 1972, but rose out of the desert in the mid and late '60s.

Back then, we also had Wayne Newton, Link Wray, Duane Eddy, Stevie Nicks and Linda Ronstadt. And there was Dennis Dunaway , bass player for The Spiders, that became the band Alice Cooper.

There is a Linda Ronstadt connection to much of the music to come out of Arizona from the 1960s. One connection is Shep Cooke. Shep was dating my next-door neighbor when I was in high school in Tucson. Shep joined The Stone Poneys and Ronstadt, who had just released the big hit, Different Drum.

I ran into Shep in New York City around 1968, where he was touring with Ronstadt. Where Shep began influencing Arizona music was in a Tucson band called Dearly Beloved. They were a cover band and Shep was the bass player.

One night, the band started with California Dreamin' and Shep pulled out a flute or piccolo --memory fades -- and played the wind part of the song note for note. Reportedly, he learned it that day.

The band had a regional hit, which I remember as "Beep Beep Bop Bop," but all the Web sites list as Peep Peep Pop Pop. Dearly Beloved had just landed a major-league recording contract when an accident near Yuma killed the lead singer, Larry Cox. That was the end of Dearly Beloved and Shep moved to Ronstadt's entourage. We might be saying Dearly Beloved, or Hub Kapp and The Wheels, which were the biggest bands to come from Arizona if history hadn't taken some strange twists.

But after all, it was the '60s.

There are some great Web sites for us old codgers who remember groups like The Bo Street Runners out of Sierra Vista, Gene Fisher and the Mystics from Flagstaff. If the Stones weren't touring Arizona in the '60s, Gene Fisher was a good second, and P-Nut Butter out of Phoenix.

These sites include:

* http://www.azcentral.com/blogs/index.php?blog=85&m=2006&w=24.

* Dearly Beloved info: http://www.dionysusrecords.com/bacchus/arizona.html.

* http://yourfathersmusic.com/tucsonmusic/dearlybeloved.html.

Only a few die-hard Arizona music fans remember the FM radio format that became popular throughout the nation in the 1970s, including a movie by the name FM, was the creation of John Wasley, who broadcast weeknights from like 7 to 10 p.m. on a Tucson AM station. The Internet lists it as KOOL, but again it was the '60s and as the adage goes: "If you can remember the '60s, you weren't there."

Richard Kelleher is a public relations specialist in northeast Phoenix.

AMG All Music Guide

The Stone Poneys

Before becoming a solo act, Linda Ronstadt was the lead singer of the Stone Poneys, an L.A.-based trio with an acoustic folkish sound and strong original material. The band's focal point and greatest asset was Ronstadt's clear, powerful singing. Originally recording in a coffeehouse folk style not far removed from Peter, Paul and Mary, the group rocked up its sound slightly and scored a Top 20 hit with "Different Drum," written by Mike Nesmith of the Monkees, in 1967. ~ Richie Unterberger, Rovi

AMG AllMusic Guide

One in a seemingly endless parade of garage bands to gig and record under the Intruders aegis, this particular act formed in Tucson, AZ, in 1963 -- originally comprised of guitarists Tom Walker and Terry Lee, bassist Shep Cooke, and drummer Pete Schuyler, the band started out playing Ventures-inspired instrumental surf covers, but following the onslaught of the British Invasion added a vocalist, Larry Cox. After winning a Tucson battle of the bands contest, the Intruders were awarded a record deal -- the "recording studio" turned out to be gear installed in their benefactor's living room, but nevertheless their debut single, "Every Time It's You," appeared on the Gallant label in 1964.

By this time they rivaled
the Grodes for the unofficial title of Tucson's most popular local band, and two more singles -- "Then I'd Know" and "Now She's Gone" -- followed on manager Dan Peters' Moxie label before pressure from a Detroit act also called the Intruders prompted a switch to the Quinstrells. Under this name the group issued a third Moxie single, "I Got a Girl," before local disc jockey Dan Gates of station KTKT influenced another name change, this time to the Dearly Beloved. Gates also convinced them to record his song, "Peep Peep Pop Pop," booking studio time at Phoenix's Audio Sound Recorders studio -- first issued on the New Mexico-based Boyd label in 1966, the label mistakenly credited the Beloved Ones, but the song nevertheless topped Tucson radio play lists throughout the summer months. This regional success resulted in a contract with major label Columbia and a national re-release of "Peep Peep Pop Pop," this time correctly credited to the Dearly Beloved -- the single fell just shy of the Billboard Hot 100, and the group soon traveled to Los Angeles to record their first LP, cutting 20 songs over the course of three days. Only a single, "Wait Till Mornin'," ever saw official release -- Columbia shelved the rest of the tapes, and a frustrated Schuyler soon resigned, with Grodes drummer Rick Mellinger signing on as his replacement.

While on a return trip to L.A. to open for
the Leaves, the Dearly Beloved were spotted by representatives from the White Whale label, resulting in a contract offer. However, because Cox's wedding was scheduled to take place in Tucson the following morning, the band was forced to return home immediately following the gig, leaving L.A. at 3:00 a.m. and taking turns behind the wheel. Tragically, the driver fell asleep and the car crashed, killing Cox instantly. His death voided the White Whale contract before the ink was even dry, as terms dictated that the lineup remain intact. Before his passing, Cox wrote "Merry Go Round," a gripping song about death made all the more eerie by his tragic demise -- the single appeared on the Splitsound label in 1967, with singer Jim Perry stepping into the frontman role for the session.

Soon after, Cooke resigned to join
Linda Ronstadt in her band the Stone Poneys, and the Dearly Beloved gradually dissolved -- their classic recordings were compiled in 1984 on Rough Diamonds: The History of Garage Band Music, Vol. 6. Cooke additionally recorded a pair of solo LPs for Vanguard. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi

60s GARAGE BANDS

Dan Gates Recalls The Tucson Scene of the '60s

I had lived in Southern California for a time prior to returning to Tucson. There, I worked with and enabled recording of three acts. One was a Bakersfield trio sisters group, The Rev-Lons, who recorded ‘Boy Trouble’, produced by Gary Paxton and released nationally on the London label. This song got on the national charts, but not big. Along with the father of Kenny Johnson (Lloyd), we recorded Kenny & The Ho Dads, two songs, one 45, released on a forgotten Southern California label with minor regional sales.

Also with Lloyd Johnson, I managed to get a 13-year old Bakersfield girl, Doris Webb, into a studio to record ‘I Was The Lonely One’, produced by a couple of guys who had been doing music for a TV show. This made quite a bit of noise in Southern California, little elsewhere, but enough to encourage me to take over the producer job to record Doris again in a studio owned/operated by Bob Summers in El Monte, California. Bob had recorded Clint Eastwood and a couple of others I'd heard of. One side of this Doris Webb single, ‘Lost Dream Boy’, was reviewed by Billboard as a projected top 25 song. It did well in some Southern California towns, plus surprised us with big sales in the New York City area. Fred Astaire’s Ava Records, who commissioned me to produce two more songs, picked up this record. I enlisted the help of Gary Paxton on these and we came up with what was felt to be probable hit material. We later added some background singers, the well-known Blossoms, who had done background for many hit records, including some Elvis. The A-Side was a bluesy ‘He's The Most’, which Ava Records was set to release nationally almost right away. Unfortunately, the Internal Revenue Service went in and confiscated everything Ava Records had because of unpaid taxes, thus ‘He's The Most’ was never out of the IRS lock box.

I related this information to establish that I had been working in the record industry with the people noted, plus a couple of others. After moving to Tucson for a deejay job at then monster rated KTKT, I eventually began to take an interest in local music acts. Three of these were The Lewallen Brothers, The Grodes, and The Quinstrells. I'd kept a poor home brew recording of an obviously R&B song written by a Southern California trio. Although that trio wasn't too good in my opinion, I'd felt that the song they wrote, ‘Peep Peep Pop Pop’ was novel and would one day be something I could use. After meeting with The Quinstrells and their more-or-less manager Dan Peters, we had a meeting at one of the group's home (Shep’s, I think) where I presented that song to them as something I wanted to record with them. They hated the song, and maybe still do, but I managed to convince them that, while it may not be a big hit, it would be an excellent showcase to show the group's abilities. With that settled, we all agreed that we needed a better name for the group. I don't remember how many names were suggested, but none seemed to fit. We started looking through magazines and books. After a while, I was looking at a row of hardback books in a bookcase when I spotted a book entitled, Dearly Beloved. The group wasn't crazy about this name either, but they eventually gave in.

The next step was to get the group into a studio to record. One definite song was ‘Peep Peep Pop Pop’, while the second was a slower song written by a Bakersfield deejay I had kept demo copies of. I then managed to convince Bobby Boyd to pay for a recording session of just three hours. We had to record both songs, ready for mastering, in that time. I concentrated on ‘Peep Peep’ and finally got it where I wanted it, but only had 30 minutes left for the second song. We put only minor effort into it, obviously, but got both finished, then had a mastering session after which we handed over the masters to Boyd. He released them on his label and, for no known reason, changed the group name to "The Beloved Ones". We lived with that for a time and the record began selling like crazy in Tucson with the help of KTKT, which had made it a special feature with their "KTKT Instant Replay" feature, which had the deejays playing the song twice, back to back, during each deejay shift. Bobby Boyd presented the record to Columbia who agreed to release it nationally, which they did insofar as distributing the disk jockey promotional records all around the country, but when the song began getting the interest of the public, Columbia, outside of Arizona, failed to manufacture any product over their initial 3,000 copies for sale, and these were very quickly gobbled up in Tucson and Phoenix.

In KTKT chart action, it eventually was found to be the number one song of that year in Tucson. No, I had nothing to do with the KTKT Top 40 charts then. Nonetheless, the record had stirred up enough interest for Boyd to get Columbia to agree to recording an album, but with very limited studio time. We had to record ten additional songs in two five-hour sessions at the Hollywood studios of Columbia. I don't now how we managed to do this, but we did. Some of the cuts were pretty good, but others were obviously flawed. Still, there would be a new single with songs selected by Columbia. The ones they picked were pretty much at the bottom of my list of what I thought should be their next national release. ‘Wait Till The Morning’ was done fairly well, and the group seemed happy with the choice, probably because Tom Walker had written it. We had recorded some songs penned by members of the group, but I included some sides written by Manny Freiser of The Grodes. I felt that one of his songs probably should have been the A-Side of the new release, but Columbia didn't see it that way. ‘Wait Till The Morning’ did well in southern Arizona, but not much anywhere else. There was some interest here and there, but product being available was again a problem. I guess Columbia just didn't have the confidence needed.

'
Music Revolution' was to be their next Columbia release but I did produce another 'Music Revolution' with the group Butterscotch. It's only use (never released) was as a demo (among a couple of other cuts) for the sound track of Hells Angels '69. The group was selected to do two songs for the sound track and LP, but they were pretty horrible. I didn't really produce them. The movie's producer did that. He didn't know much about such recording so the result was poor....but even more poor was the name they used for the group, "Stream of Consciousness." Ridiculous! We were probably lucky though since that name didn't associate the group with those recordings. The producer was (?) Stern (I don't recall the first name) who was married to a gal who'd then recently won an academy award as an actress. After the shattering death of lead singer Larry Cox, Columbia opted to not release any other (songs), so after a time we went back to our local Tucson efforts.

I was in some way associated with many Tucson area bands most notably, of course, Dearly Beloved, The Grodes (AKA Spring Fever), The Lewallen Bros. and then some of the less prominent groups. I also worked on a little out of town, out of state group stuff. In the case of The Lewallen Bros., I worked with them, and then produced a recording that was submitted to Dick Clark's Battle of the Bands. They won first place, which resulted in them being awarded some sound equipment, I think. Something like that. I also did the same thing with local group Butterscotch. I think they won something in their battle competition (these were separate competitions). No were rules against original material then, but the rules were later changed to allow only previously-known song material. These recordings had to be edited to meet a one-minute length limit.

I produced records that were released on the Splitsound label which Dan Peters and I owned. Actually, the Splitsound label name was one dreamed up with The Lewallen Bros. and me on the way back home from Phoenix after recording at Audio Recorders there. I was told that the Lewallens were a little miffed that Dan Peters and I pretty much took ownership of the label name, but it fit with much of what we were attempting to achieve. We opened an office from which we booked area bands into gigs all over the mostly Southern Arizona area, plus some of the Tucson nightclubs that featured live rock music. Dearly Beloved, The Grodes/Spring Fever, and The Lewallen Bros. worked a lot because they were the best known due to regional record successes. Dan Peters and I operated this business, plus incorporated it as Splitsound Inc. and had one or two employees.

As I recall, we worked with about 16 Tucson area bands. Dan and I had agreed that we wouldn't use the commissions earned for booking the jobs (10 percent) to add income to us then. We used that money to help create interest in the bands, advertise, and in some cases to finance recording sessions. We would only financially benefit personally if we were able to see any of the groups or performers make it to national sucess. There were shows produced by Splitsound at venues around town--battle of the bands, regular rock events for dances, etc.--and in one event held at Hi Corbett Field, we had the audience determine the winner(s), who would be provided a recording session. We found that a solo drummer, Pete Peterson, and a young vocalist, Rena Cook, were huge vote getters, so we decided to satisfy the recording session by hiring Pete as drummer for The Grodes, and the award for Rena was a session in Phoenix which utilized the Grodes band, plus background vocal work by a Dayton, Ohio group, The Whose Who. We had agreed to produce a pair of songs with The Whose Who at Audio Recorders in return for doing the background vocals for Rena's song.

There were some other recording sessions here and there, one of which was a solo vocal effort by The Dearly Beloved's Shep Cooke. We recorded three songs, if memory is correct, on which Shep played every instument except drums. Shep borrowed The Poppies’ highly regarded drummer. Then Shep did all the voices. Some of the studio supervision was done by my then wife, Brenda, because I had become ill and had gall bladder surgery. Later, I took the master tapes to Phoenix Audio Recorders to mix them down for creating the master disks, which are used for manufacture of the 45RPM records.

Aside from the Tucson area bands, or in one or two cases including them, there was a little movie sound track work. I did some narrations of documentary movies for which I was the voice, and some other individual record production work not connected with Splitsound.

 

KDKB

Arizona Sounds Vol. 1
(1977) On vinyl only

KDKB radio has always taken an interest in local artists featuring their music both on tape and in live "on the air" broadcasts. Not surprisingly, we have discovered that there is a lot of fine talent in our state, and audience response has confirmed our suspicions - so much that "Arizona Sounds" has become a reality.

"Arizona Sounds" is the result of a talent search which began on KDKB and ultimately blanketed the state of Arizona.Some of the artists on this album have appeared on KDKB many times before; others are being featured here for the first time anywhere. Some are well known to others but new to KDKB, others are new, period. All in all, we have tried to compile a fair representation of the music of Arizona.

Thanks are due to Rick, Will and Gary of Tangent Systems, who lent their talent and facilities to this project, and to the many musicians and artists who took the time to enter our contest. "Arizona Sounds" will be an ongoing effort of KDKB, and if your response is great enough, it could become an annual project of the station.

C. Dwight Tindle
Chairman, Dwight-Karma Broadcasting Co.

Side 1:

  • Early Peas-Long Day
    (C. Cutter) 3:07

    From the land of low riders and green chile come Early Peas - previously known as Chuck Cutter and Mark Meyers. For Arizona Sounds, Early Peas are assisted by Paul Macri on Bass and John Russell on drums - they've done a lot of session work together in the Los Angeles area. Chris Darrow produced the song and plays lead guitar.

  • Custer's Last Band-Crazy Bass
    (S. Reichert) 3:58

    Custers Last Band originated in the Philadelphia area with Skip Reichert (5-string banjo, guitar, bass and vocals) and George Pacion (guitar, mandolin and vocals) who, as a duo and in bands, have been playing together for more than six years. John Hellman (guitar, bass, flute and vocals) is a native Phoenician who joined forces with Skip and George two years ago, later complimented by Tom Benton on drums, of Phoenix via Chicago. John "Wires" Tracy of Provo, Utah is the group's full time sound man.

  • Shep Cooke-Roller Coaster Ride
    (W. Cooke) 2:35

    As a member of the legendary "Stone Poneys," Shep Cooke performed with Linda Ronstadt for several years - from high school days thru network appearances on Joey Bishop and Johnny Carson. Shep has done guitar and vocal work on major album releases by Tom Waits, the Floating House Band and Linda Ronstadt, as well as featured solo act appearances in concerts with Roger Miller, Marty Robbins, Tanya Tucker, Tom Waits, John David Souther and others. The drums on Roller Coaster Ride are played by Lenny Lopez of the "Dusty Chaps" (courtesy of Capitol Records). Shep plays everything else.

  • The Bob Meighan Band-From Who
    (B. Meighan) 3:23
  • Joe Bethancourt-Snakes & Cactus
    (J. Bethancourt) 3:05
    MP3

    Joe Bethancourt was born in 1946 in El Paso.His family has lived in Arizona since the 1880s, but his dad was in the service at the time of his birth. Joe was raised mostly in North Carolina, where he picked up a lot of mountain ballads and learned a lot from his relatives in the Ozarks.

    He's mainly into what could be called progressive mountain music, or perhaps " 'The Gonzo' of mountain music."

  • Fairweather-'46 Plymouth Rag
    (J. Stay) 1:48

    As the name implies, "Fairweather," an acoustic trio based in the Phoenix area and formed in the spring of 1975, has designed its music to be bright and colorful as well as light and airy. Members David Ridolfi and Jeff Stay on guitars with Peter Bellew on bass strive for distinctness in their presentation, whether playing pure folk, country or folk-rock. '46 Plymoth Rag is a bluegrass number - written by Jeff - and a true tale about his love and frustrations with his relic of a car - which by the way is currently running.

Side 2:

  • Duane Davenport-The North of Arizona
    (D. Davenport) 3:28
  • The Normal Brothers-Fiddler & The Gambler
    (K. Skaggs) 2:58
  • Hans Olson-Early in the Morning
    (H. Olson) 3:18
  • Dusty Chaps-Keep Your Hand Off Her Stranger
    (G. Hawke) 2:19
  • The Fabulous Air Brothers-No Regret
    (J. Tempchin) 3:05
  • Fester Plugg and The Stilt Chickens-Stilt Chicken's Theme Song
    (G. Gilman) 3:31

Art Direction: Lee Masters
Cover Illustration: Steve Randock
Dwight-Karma Broadcasting Co. 1977
All Rights Reserved

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