Swordfishtrombones

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Swordfishtrombones
TomWaitsSwordfishtrombones.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 1, 1983
RecordedAugust 1982
StudioSunset Sound, Hollywood, California
GenreExperimental rock[1]
Length41:41
LabelIsland
ProducerTom Waits
Tom Waits chronology
One from the Heart
(1982)
Swordfishtrombones
(1983)
Rain Dogs
(1985)
Singles from Swordfishtrombones
  1. "In the Neighborhood"
    Released: October 1983

Swordfishtrombones is the eighth studio album by singer and songwriter Tom Waits, released in 1983 on Island Records. It was the first album that Waits produced himself. Stylistically different from his previous albums, Swordfishtrombones moves away from conventional piano-based songwriting towards unusual instrumentation and a somewhat more abstract and experimental rock approach.[2]

The album peaked at No. 164 on the Billboard Pop Albums and 200 albums charts.

Artwork[edit]

The cover art is a TinTone photograph by Michael A. Russ[3][4] showing Waits with the actors Angelo Rossitto and Lee Kolima.[5]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic[2]
Blender[6]
Houston Chronicle[7]
Mojo[8]
Q[9]
Rolling Stone[10]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[11]
Select5/5[12]
Uncut[13]
The Village VoiceA−[14]

At the end of 1983, Swordfishtrombones was ranked the second best album of the year by NME.[15]

In 1989, Spin named Swordfishtrombones the second greatest album of all time.[16] In 2000, it was voted number 374 in Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums.[17]

Pitchfork ranked Swordfishtrombones at number 11 in its 2002 list of the best albums of the 1980s.[18] In 2006, Q listed Swordfishtrombones as the 36th best album of the 1980s,[19] while in 2012, Slant Magazine listed it as the decade's 26th best album.[20]

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[edit]

  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[edit]

  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 – vocals (1:1–2, 1:4–7, 2:2–7), chair (1:2), Hammond B-3 organ (1:3), piano (1:4, 2:5, 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, 1:2, 1:5, 2:6), banjo (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 Jr. – trombone (1:7)
  • Dick 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)

Charts[edit]

Chart (1983) Peak
position
Dutch Top 100[21] 48
UK Albums Chart[22] 62
US Billboard 200[23] 167
Chart (1984) Peak
position
New Zealand RIANZ Albums Chart[24] 45
Norwegian Albums Chart[25] 18

References[edit]

  1. ^ Editors of Rolling Stone (November 8, 2001). Tom Waits. Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll. ISBN 9780743201209. Retrieved April 6, 2017. {{cite book}}: |last1= has generic name (help)
  2. ^ a b Ruhlmann, William. "Swordfishtrombones – Tom Waits". AllMusic. Retrieved November 17, 2015.
  3. ^ "Michael A. Russ' TinTone homepage". Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  4. ^ "'TinTones – Rough Print' exhibition by Michael A. Russ". Retrieved November 14, 2012.
  5. ^ Smay, David (2008). Tom Waits' Swordfishtrombones. New York: Continuum. pp. 11–12. ISBN 978-1-4411-7459-8.
  6. ^ "Tom Waits: Swordfishtrombones". Blender. No. 56. March 2007.
  7. ^ Dansby, Andrew (November 19, 2006). "The best (and not-so-best) of Tom Waits". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved December 11, 2021.
  8. ^ Male, Andrew (July 2010). "Tom Waits: Swordfishtrombones". Mojo. No. 200. p. 77.
  9. ^ "Tom Waits: Swordfishtrombones". Q. No. 73. October 1992. p. 100.
  10. ^ Shewey, Don (November 24, 1983). "Swordfishtrombones". Rolling Stone. No. 409. Archived from the original on November 10, 2021. Retrieved October 24, 2011.
  11. ^ Coleman, Mark; Scoppa, Bud (2004). "Tom Waits". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 854–855. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  12. ^ Collis, Andrew (February 1993). "Tom Waits: Rain Dogs / Swordfishtrombones". Select. No. 32. p. 82.
  13. ^ Gill, Andy (December 2011). "What Is He Building in There..?". Uncut. No. 175. pp. 52–53.
  14. ^ Christgau, Robert (March 24, 1984). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved December 8, 2011.
  15. ^ "NME's best albums and tracks of 1983". NME. October 10, 2016. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  16. ^ "The 25 Greatest Albums of All Time". Spin. Vol. 5, no. 1. April 1989. pp. 46–48, 50–51. Retrieved August 14, 2007.
  17. ^ Larkin, Colin (2000). All Time Top 1000 Albums (3rd ed.). Virgin Books. p. 144. ISBN 0-7535-0493-6.
  18. ^ "The Top 100 Albums of the 1980s". Pitchfork. November 21, 2002. p. 9. Retrieved January 28, 2020.
  19. ^ "40 Best Albums of the '80s". Q. No. 241. August 2006. pp. 84–89.
  20. ^ "The 100 Best Albums of the 1980s". Slant Magazine. March 5, 2012. Retrieved July 9, 2012.
  21. ^ "dutchcharts.nl – Tom Waits – Swordfishtrombones". dutchcharts.nl. Hung Medien. Retrieved May 2, 2012.
  22. ^ "TOM WAITS | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 2, 2012.
  23. ^ Swordfishtrombones – Tom Waits at AllMusic. Retrieved May 2, 2012.
  24. ^ "charts.nz – Tom Waits – Swordfishtrombones". charts.nz. Hung Medien. Retrieved May 2, 2012.
  25. ^ "norwegiancharts.com – Tom Waits – Swordfishtrombones". norwegiancharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved May 2, 2012.