7E-1078 Small Change
Production and Sound by Bones Howe
Released on October 1976
US CHART POSITION #89
Find it at GEMM
7E-1078 cover  

S mall Change continues to find Tom Waits adding his two cents to a bygone era in these near-dozen dimestore-novel vignettes. With minimal accompaniment (bass, drums, sax) and the occasional string section, Waits is again the lone focal point, and enjoying the album hinges on an appreciation of his distinctive vocal delivery and maudlin subject matter. If that’s not an obstacle, Small Change offers some fine musical snapshots: the sentimental “Tom Traubert’s Blues,” the whiskey-smooth “Invitation to the Blues,” the cigarette-smoke snaking of “The One That Got Away” and the mother-of-all-sales-pitches, “Step Right Up.” Waits slips into the skin of the down-but-not-quite-out boozer with aplomb, whether it’s the street-corner boaster for “Jitterbug Boy” or the late-night piano player for “Bad Liver and a Broken Heart.” In the context of contemporary singer/songwriters, Waits remains a novelty -- he’s clearly capable of writing good songs, but his allegiance to America’s post-depression landscape renders him something of an antediluvian Lou Reed (or perhaps Leon Redbone’s younger brother). As his sparse piano playing suggests, Waits is as much a painter or reporter as a musician; able (and willing) to step back in time and place a microphone in the alcohol-addled minds of denizens of dirty, forgotten streets. That he manages to find moments of humor and beauty in this setting is his (and our) salvation. If you enjoy beat poetry and gravelly voiced blues/jazz, Small Change might just rattle around in your head for a while.

7E-1078 back cover
7E-1078 back cover

TRACK LISTING

  1. TOM TRAUBERT'S BLUES (Four Sheets to the Wind in Copenhagen)    6:40
  2. STEP RIGHT UP    5:39
  3. JITTERBUG BOY (Sharing a Curbstone with Chuck E. Weiss, Robert Marchese, Paul Body and the Mug and Artie)    3:41
  4. I WISH I WAS IN NEW ORLEANS (In the Ninth Ward)    4:50
  5. THE PIANO HAS BEEN DRINKING (NOT ME) (An Evening with Pete King)    3:37
  6. INVITATION TO THE BLUES    5:20
  7. PASTIES AND A G-STRING (At the Two O'Clock Club)    2:32
  8. BAD LIVER AND A BROKEN HEART (In Lowell)    4:46
  9. THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY    4:00
  10. SMALL CHANGE (Got Rained on with His Own .38)    5:03
  11. I CAN'T WAIT TO GET OFF WORK (And See My Baby on Montgomery Avenue)    3:20

    All songs written by Tom Waits

CREDITS

TOM WAITS -- vocals and piano
JIM HUGHART -- bass
SHELLY MANNE -- drums
LEW TABACKIN -- tenor sax
Murray Adler -- violin
Israel Baker -- violin
Harry Bluestone -- violin (concertmaster)
Sam Boghossian -- viola
Jesse Ehrlich -- cello
Allan Harshman -- viola
Nathan Kaproff -- violin
George Kast -- violin
Ray Kelley -- cello
Marvin Limonick -- violin
Alfred Lustgarten -- violin
Ed Lustgarten -- cello (orchestra manager)
Kathleen Lustgarten -- cello
Nathan Ross -- violin
Sheldon Sanov -- violin
David Schwartz -- viola
Jerry Yester -- string arrangements, conductor
Bones Howe -- engineer
Joel Brodsky -- cover photography
Bruce Weber -- back cover photography
Cal Schenkel -- design

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US/CAN October 1976 Asylum LP/CS 7E-1078 lyric sleeve
UK/GER 1976 Asylum LP/CS K 53050  
US/CAN   Asylum LP/CD 7E-1078 black/gold label w. generic Elektra sleeve
FRA/GER   Asylum LP 905814 reissue
UK/GER/NET 1989 Elektra/Asylum CD 60612  

 

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