Franks Wild Years

( 8 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
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 ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
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.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/15/1990
  • Label: Island
  • UPC: 042284235723
  • Catalog Number: 842357
  • Sales rank: 27,526

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Tom Waits Primary Artist, 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
Howie Weinberg Mastering
David Knight Engineer
Jeff Price Art Direction
Stephen Shelton Engineer
Bill Highley Engineer
Dave Glover Engineer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(7)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

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2 Star

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 26, 2013

    You either hate Waits or wonder where his genius will take us ne

    You either hate Waits or wonder where his genius will take us next. After his 70's lounge lizard era, he made a wide turn to what sounds like a cross between a circus and a cheep carnival. He gets rid of the waitresses and strippers, replacing them with a bearded fat lady and a dirty shortchanging carny. Underlying it all are some of the most amazing melodies ever created and preformed in a way not everyone can or may with to appreciate. Waits appropriateness is in question on occasion, but I will not be the one to decide. No two listeners will agree on every track. Interpretation is the name of the game here. Like I said, you either hate him or are fixated by a creativity, unusual and unique. Although not the weirdest of Waits albums it has it,s moments.       

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2009

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    Posted December 14, 2008

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    Posted June 2, 2009

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    Posted May 18, 2010

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    Posted February 29, 2012

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    Posted December 30, 2008

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    Posted May 19, 2009

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews