Today’s edition of Kooky Christmas comes to us thanks to a reminder from Uncle Crappy. He posted the below video on his site last Christmas, and the two of us discussed the song yesterday on Twitter. Great minds….
#16: “Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis” by Tom Waits
Maybe you’re one of those people who doesn’t like Tom Waits — finds him grating, affected, caustic, vocally lame, too hard to listen to. “Out there.” It’s OK. Everybody’s different, it’s all good. That’s cool.
Actually, it’s not cool. It’s not even OK.
Well, it’s not awful. You’re not hurting anyone physically or anything. But Tom Waits puts together words and music, and sounds and images — but for me, mostly words — in ways that capture life as we understand it. He’s amazing.
If you don’t feel the same way I do about his work, you and I can still be friends and all. But I’m always going to be sad for you, for what you’re missing.
Anyway, here’s this song Tom Waits wrote years ago, for the album Blue Valentine. The song doesn’t mention Christmas once outside the title; the holiday it mentions in the lyrics is Valentine’s Day. Yet it gives a nice picture of that feeling one has on Christmas Day, thinking back on those we’ve known and lost, past loves, past lives.
Look. Do you have 2 minutes and forty seconds? Not even three minutes, less than that. Watch the first two minutes and forty seconds of this video, and you’ll see and hear the core of what I like about Tom Waits’s music and performance. There’s more I like beyond this (and I’ll bore you with that another day), but for now, just spend two minutes and forty seconds on this video.
There. That was it. Thanks.
Uncle Crappy suggests that a fan might do well to check out the live performance of this song from a performance at the State Theatre, in Sydney, Australia, on May 2, 1979. The studio version is good too of course, and the album has “Wrong Side of the Road” and “Whistling Past the Graveyard,” and “Romeo Is Bleeding,” all of which will make your life richer.
Tomorrow: Christmas, surfside.