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TomWaits - Misery Is The River Of The World

And misery's the river of the worldMisery's the river of the worldEverybody row, everybody rowMisery's the river of the worldMisery's the river of the worldMisery's the river of the worldEverybody row, everybody rowEverybody row, everybody rowMisery's the river of the worldMisery's the river of the worldEverybody row, everybody rowEverybody row, everybody rowEverybody rowMisery's the river of the worldMisery's the river of the worldMisery's the river of the worldMisery's the river of the worldEverybody row, everybody rowEverybody row

TomWaits - Misery is the River of the World

Misery's the river of the worldMisery's the river of the worldMisery's the river of the worldMisery's the river of the worldEverybody row! Everybody row!Everybody row!

(1) Misery River (Early theatre version)- Sung by Carnival Announcer (and entire cast) in prologue. Sung by Margret in closing scene- Spoken intro by Margret (in 2006 released as Children's Story on Orphans (Bastards)): "Once upon a time there was a poor child, with no father and no mother. Everything was dead... And no one was left in the whole world. Everything was dead... And it went on search, day and night. And since nobody was left on earth, it wanted to go up to the heavens. And the moon was looking at it so friendly. And when it finally got to the moon, the moon was a piece of rotten wood! And then it went to the sun. And when it got there, the sun was a wilted sunflower. And when it got to the stars, they were little golden flies. Stuck up there! And the shrike(1a) sticks 'em on a blackthorn(1b). And when it wanted to go back, down to earth, the earth was an overturned piss pot. It was all alone, and it sat down and cried. And there it sits till this day. All alone... Misery's the river of the world... ." (Transcription by "Pieter from Holland" as published on the Tom Waits Library, 2000) - Shrike or butcher bird, predatory songbird found in most parts of the world except Australia and South America. The plumage of the European and North American species is mostly gray, black, and white; the tail is long and rounded, and the wings are rather short. Some African species are brilliantly colored. The name butcher bird reflects its habit of impaling its prey-small birds and mammals and large insects-on a thorn or sharp twig before tearing it apart with its strong, tip-hooked beak. North American shrikes include the loggerhead, great gray or northern, and California shrikes. (Source: The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001)- Blackthorn: A spreading thorny shrub or small tree (Prunus spinosa), with blackish bark, and bearing little black plums, which are called sloes. Despite their succulent appearance the fruits are far too bitter for human consumption, except as a flavouring in home-made liqueurs

Tom Waits has said: "I like a beautiful song that tells you terrible things. We all like bad news out of a pretty mouth." When it comes to the material on Blood Money, I don't know if I can call Waits' mouth pretty, but he certainly offers plenty of bad news in a very attractive, compelling way. Released simultaneously with Alice, a recording of songs written in 1990, Blood Money is a set of 13 songs written by Waits and Kathleen Brennan in collaboration with dramatist Robert Wilson. The project was a loose adaptation of the play Woyzeck, originally written by German poet Georg Buchner in 1837. The play was inspired by the true story of a German soldier who was driven mad by bizarre army medical experiments and infidelity, which led him to murder his lover -- cheery stuff, to be sure. Thematically, this work -- with its references to German cabarets and nostalgia -- echoes Waits' other Wilson collaborative project, Black Rider. Musically, however, Blood Money is a far more elegant, stylish, and nuanced work than the earlier recording. With bluesman Charlie Musselwhite, reedman Colin Stetson, bassist and guitarist Larry Taylor, marimbist Andrew Borger, and others -- Waits plays piano, organ, marimba, calliope, and guitar -- this is a theater piece that feels like a collection of songs that reflect a perverse sense of black humor and authentic wickedness in places. The protagonists of these songs are so warped and wasted by life that they are caricatures; it's impossible not to like them and to not be repulsed by yourself for doing so. For starters, the set opens with "Misery Is the River of the World," a circus-like tango wrapped around a series of dialectical aphorisms: "If there's one thing you can say about mankind/There's nothing kind about man." When a piano cascades up a minor scale in dramatic showmanship, Waits chants the refrain, "Misery is the river of the world," with seeming delight. On "God's Away on Business" (with guests Stewart Copeland on drums and PJ Harvey guitarist Joe Gore) the rhythm first displayed on Bone Machine resurfaces and fills out the backbeat. It's almost a march in its depth and dimension, giving the entire track the feeling of an evil seven dwarfs about to roast Snow White for dinner: "I'd sell your heart to the junkman, baby/For a buck, for a buck/If you're looking for someone to pull you out of that ditch/You're out of luck, out of luck." This is bleak, disturbing, and hysterically funny. It's not all snakes and alligators, however. In "Coney Island Baby," Waits delivers one of his most memorable and moving love songs while playing the chamberlain in front of the band, who plays an old-time waltz laced through with gorgeous cello and trumpet slipping ethereally through the mix. Waits croons without affectation or droopy sentiment: "Every night she comes/To take me out to dreamland/When I'm with her/I'm the richest man in the town/She's a rose/She's a pearl/She's the spin on my world/All the stars make wishes on her eyes." Likewise, the track that follows it, "All the World Is Green," is a paean of love from the soldier to his wife and "Another Man's Vine" boasts the most overtly sensuous use of the word "bougainvillea" in a pop song. In all, Blood Money, like its sister, Alice, is a record steeped in musical and lyrical traditions barely remembered by popular culture and hence very rarely evoked (from carnival marches to tarantellas, primitive tangos, and early 20th century jazz). This isn't the other side of Tin Pan Alley, but an appreciation for and evocation of the music of the Weimar Republic with its easy pathos and often grotesque funhouse humor. That said, this appreciation does not make for a re-creation; Waits' music is his own from this particular place in time, but it illustrates and illuminates particular kinds of human foibles from the present era and celebrates them as human nonetheless. 041b061a72


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