At My Father's Place by Tom Waits is the New Music Pick of the Week

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Music is likely the most universal of all arts.  People play it in every city, village, berg, back-assed hole in the jungle hovel the world over.  Albums are cut everyday in nearly every country in the universe.  Usually those albums are simply released in their country of origin.  For example if you sign to an American label you'll likely only see your album released in the US.  Folks living elsewhere will have to have someone send it to them or just be out of luck.

If you are a rather popular artist, or are signed to a bigger label your record might get released in other countries.  For some reason those release dates are often different than the initial release dates in the country or origin.  Sometimes other countries also get bonus tracks tacked on.  I don't really understand the reasons for this (especially in a time in which anybody with an Internet connection can grab the songs at any time) or the full machinations of it.  I just know it happens.

I also know when I'm browsing Amazon looking for interesting new releases I often see albums with a little Import tag which tells me that album is being released elsewhere at the moment, not here.  Again I don't understand the ins and outs of this, nor why Amazon only lists certain albums like this and not every album being released in the UK or wherever that doesn't have a proper US date.  Perhaps some releases Amazon buys up and imports automatically with a willingness to sell it to you at a mark-up.  Or maybe its something else, I dunno.

Normally I just ignore imports figuring they don't belong in an article about new releases in the good old US of A.  But this week something really caught my eye.

Tom Waits is brilliant, just brilliant.  He's a carnival barker, a preacher of sinners, patron saint of the underbelly.  He writes beautiful songs about the ugly sides of life.  In concert he is a master.  He rarely tours anymore but from the many bootlegs I have of his, he is absolutely someone to catch anytime you can.  I actually have the bootleg for this recording at tiny club in New York.  It is an amazing piece of work.  Recorded in 1977 Waits had only been performing for a few years and had but four eclectic albums under his belt.  Still he already had his schtick down to an art and it is really quite something to hear here.

For most of the show he is in full on carnival barker of the damned mode barking out songs of sex, alcohol and the seedier sides of living.  His songs are dark and sad and hilarious.  Waits chats some between songs and he already shows he knows how to hold an audience in his palm.

Though it is an import I'm thrilled to see this classic show from Tom Waits at My Father's Place in New York City is getting an official release.  Which is why I'm making it my Pick of the Week.

Also out this week that looks interesting:

Duets (20th Anniversary Edition) - Frank Sinatra:  Old Blue Eyes recording a couple of albums worth of his classic songs with a wide selection of performers including Bono, Jimmy Buffett, Barbara Steisand, Neil Diamond and many more.  Results were, well, mixed, but the good outweighs the bad.  For this anniversary edition features both albums remastered, plus bonus tracks, a DVD of interviews, a new book with photos and liner notes and a stamped lithograph.

Hipper than Hip (Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow) Live and on Air in the Studio 1974 - Tower of Power:  The band played a live and in the studio set for WLIR in Hempstead, Long Island which was never intended for release.  Nearly 40 years later a fan sends the bootleg to a label which promptly sends it to the band and now its available to everyone.  That's a story I can fall in love with.

Boston - Fleetwood Mac:  Originally intended as a live record to be released soon after the bands legendary run in Boston in the '70s, the tapes were canned for decades after Peter Green's sudden decision to leave the band.  Lucky for us they have now remixed and remastered the entire thing and we get three disks worth of early, bluesy Fleetwood Mac.

Shangri-La - Jake Bugg:  18-year old Bugg's first record was simply terrific.  He writes songs way older than his years.  For his sophomore effort he enlisted Rick Rubin and has created what he calls a more sophisticated record.

Crossroads Guitar Festival 2013 - Eric Clapton:  Each year Clapton invites a massive group of guitar heroes to come jam with him.  This years list includes Booker T, John Mayer, Gary Clark Jr., Derek Trucks, Los Lobos and many, many more.

Betty's Blends - Chris Robinson Brotherhood:  I've not paid any attention to Robinson since he left the Black Crowes, but I loved that band so I probably ought to give him his due.  This is a 4-disk live album culled from five shows recorded in December 2012.

Far From Finished - Bill Cosby:  Cosby's first comedy album in thirty years.  I don't know if he's still got it, but I do know that his Himself is one of the funniest things ever recorded.

Screaming Life/Fopp - Soundgarden:  The grunge heroes' first album has long been out of print.  Its getting remastered and re-released along with the Fopp EP.

Darkside, a Tom Stoppard Play for Radio Incorporating The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd:  Pretty much exactly what the title is.  Stoppard wrote a play that incorporates Dark Side of the Moon into itself.  This disk includes the entire radio play plus the script.

An Evening with Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer - Neil Gaiman & Amanda Palmer:  The completely original author is married to the totally original singer.  Together they have toured playing songs and reading stories.  This disk features bits from those tours.