Swordfishtrombones

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Swordfishtrombones
Studio album by Tom Waits
Released September 1983
Recorded August 1982 at Sunset Sound in Hollywood, California
Genre Rock, experimental
Length 40:31
Label Island
Producer Tom Waits
Tom Waits chronology
One from the Heart
(1982)
Swordfishtrombones
(1983)
Rain Dogs
(1985)
Singles from Swordfishtrombones
  1. "In the Neighborhood"
    Released: August 1983

Swordfishtrombones is an album by American singer-songwriter Tom Waits, released in September 1983. It was the first album that Waits produced himself.

Stylistically different from his previous LPs, the album moves away from the piano and string orchestra arrangements of the late 1970s, replacing them instead with unusual instrumentation and a somewhat more abstract songwriting approach.[citation needed]

The cover art is a TinTone photograph by Michael A. Russ[1][2] showing Waits with the actors Angelo Rossitto and Lee Kolima.[3]

The album peaked at #164 on the Billboard Pop Albums and 200 albums charts. In 1989, Spin named Swordfishtrombones the second greatest album of all time.[4] In 2006, Q placed the album at #36 in its list of "40 Best Albums of the '80s."[5]

Pitchfork Media listed Swordfishtrombones as 11th best album of the 1980s. Slant Magazine listed the album at #26 on its list of "Best Albums of the 1980's".[6]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars [7]
Blender 5/5 stars link
Robert Christgau A− [8]
Mojo 5/5 stars[9]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars [10]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Tom Waits. Arranger Frances Thumm. Recorded by Tim Boyle and Biff Dawes. Mixed by Dawes at Sunset Sound Studios, Hollywood, CA.

Side one
  1. "Underground" – 1:58
  2. "Shore Leave" – 4:12
  3. "Dave the Butcher" (instrumental) – 2:15
  4. "Johnsburg, Illinois" – 1:30
  5. "16 Shells from a Thirty-Ought-Six" – 4:30
  6. "Town With No Cheer" – 4:22
  7. "In the Neighborhood" – 3:04
Side two
  1. "Just Another Sucker on the Vine" (instrumental) – 1:42
  2. "Frank's Wild Years" – 1:50
  3. "Swordfishtrombone" – 3:00
  4. "Down, Down, Down" – 2:10
  5. "Soldier's Things" – 3:15
  6. "Gin Soaked Boy" – 2:20
  7. "Trouble's Braids" – 1:18
  8. "Rainbirds" (instrumental) – 3:05

Personnel[edit]

  • Tom Waits - Vocal (1:1-2, 1:4-7, 2:2-7), Chair (1:2), Hammond B-3 Organ (1:3), Piano (1:4, 2:8), Harmonium (1:6, 2:1), Synthesizer (1:6), Freedom Bell (1:6)
  • Victor Feldman - Bass Marimba (1:1-2), Marimba (1:2, 2:3), Shaker (1:2), Bass Drum with Rice (1:2), Bass Boo Bams (1:3), Brake Drum (1:5), Bell Plate (1:5), Snare (1:5, 2:4), Hammond B-3 Organ (1:7), Snare Drum (1:7), Bells (1:7), Conga (2:3), Bass Drum (2:3), Dabuki Drum (2:3), Tambourine (2:4), African Talking Drum (2:7)
  • Larry Taylor - Acoustic Bass (1:1-2, 1:5, 1:7, 2:2, 2:4, 2:6-7), Electric Bass (2:3)
  • Randy Aldcroft - Baritone Horn (1:1, 1:7), Trombone (1:2)
  • Stephen Taylor Arvizu Hodges - Drums (1:1-2, 1:5, 2:4, 2:6), Parade Drum (1:7), Cymbals (1:7), Parade Bass Drum (2:7), Glass Harmonica (2:8)
  • Fred Tackett - Electric Guitar (1:1, 1:5, 2:6), Banjo Guitar (1:2)
  • Francis Thumm - Metal Aunglongs (1:2), Glass Harmonica (2:8)
  • Greg Cohen - Bass (1:4), Acoustic Bass (2:3, 2:5, 2:8)
  • Joe Romano - Trombone (1:5), Trumpet (2:1)
  • Anthony Clark Stewart - Bagpipes (1:6)
  • Clark Spangler - Synthesizer Program (1:6)
  • Bill Reichenbach - Trombone (1:7)
  • Dick "Slyde" Hyde - Trombone (1:7)
  • Ronnie Barron - Hammond Organ (2:2)
  • Eric Bikales - Organ (2:4)
  • Carlos Guitarlos - Electric Guitar (2:4)
  • Richard Gibbs - Glass Harmonica (2:8)

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1983) Peak
position
Dutch Top 100[11] 48
UK Albums Chart[12] 62
US Billboard 200[13] 167
Chart (1984) Peak
position
New Zealand RIANZ Albums Chart[14] 45
Norwegian Albums Chart[15] 18

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Michael A. Russ' Swordfishtrombones Cover Art Gallery". Retrieved 2012-11-14. 
  2. ^ "'TinTones - Rough Print' exhibition by Michael A. Russ". Retrieved 2012-11-14. 
  3. ^ http://lareviewofbooks.org/article.php?id=1275&fulltext=1
  4. ^ "The 25 Greatest Albums of All Time". Spin 5 (1). April 1989. p. 46. Retrieved 14 August 2007. 
  5. ^ Q August 2006, Issue 241
  6. ^ "Best Albums of the 1980s | Music". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  7. ^ Ruhlmann, William. Swordfishtrombones at AllMusic. Retrieved 29 July 2005.
  8. ^ Christgau, Robert (March 24, 1984). "Christgau's Consumer Guide: Tom Waits: Swordfishtrombones". The Village Voice. Retrieved 8 December 2011.  Also posted at "Tom Waits: Swordfishtrombones > Consumer Guide Album". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 19 October 2005. 
  9. ^ http://www.cduniverse.com/productinfo.asp?pid=1056823&style=music
  10. ^ Shewey, Don (November 24, 1983). "Tom Waits Swordfishtrombones > Album Review". Rolling Stone (409). Archived from the original on 22 October 2007. Retrieved 24 October 2011. 
  11. ^ "dutchcharts.nl - Tom Waits - Swordfishtrombones". dutchcharts.nl. Hung Medien. Retrieved May 2, 2012. 
  12. ^ "TOM WAITS | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 2, 2012. 
  13. ^ Swordfishtrombones - Tom Waits at AllMusic. Retrieved May 2, 2012.
  14. ^ "charts.org.nz - Tom Waits - Swordfishtrombones". charts.org.nz. Hung Medien. Retrieved May 2, 2012. 
  15. ^ "norwegiancharts.com - Tom Waits - Swordfishtrombones". norwegiancharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved May 2, 2012.