Thursday, January 14, 2010

Record of the Month - Classic

Another installment of a disk I have enjoyed over the years. I'm trying to keep the Record of the Month posts to be fairly new releases. Classics are going to be ones that are at least 5 years old.

Yeah - you are not seeing things here: Tom Waits & Crystal Gayle. Together.

One From the Heart was a Francis Ford Coppola movie from 1982. A visually stunning movie, set in Vegas (or a complete set to mimic Vegas that almost bankrupt the man), the movie was a little flat.

I love Teri Garr, but I never understood the idea to use her in the lead here. But neither here nor there, this isn't Movie of the Month - Classic.

The soundtrack. like the movie, was stunning as well. Unlike the movie, it doesn't really fall flat and I think it is with a few good reasons - two of them being Waits & Gayle.

The real reason it works? It is because you're not expecting it to. Gayle had never really ventured out of the country to adult contemporary crossover that of the late '70s. She certainly never sang songs like the stuff Waits had written - which he did for this movie.

In an odd way, Gayle's voice really fits for Waits' lyrics. I admittedly had prejudices against liking her because of her MOR stuff, but immediately I loved her on this disk. I'm sorry she never really did anything like this after the fact. Or I assume she did not. I never really followed her - before or after.

I am sure to make enemies with this, but I liken Waits to Dylan and Leonard Cohen: great writers, painful to listen to. I'd like to say Gayle made this more accessible, but as many people who never even knew it existed, the folks that followed these two artists were probably turned off by the very idea of the collaboration.

Waits does perform stuff on his own and a little of this is just instrumental which really does fit the tone of the movie and the town in which it takes place.

Highlights include the stuff Gayle is featured on, either by herself or dueting with Waits (let's face it, there is no harmonizing with the man): "Old Boyfriends", "Picking Up After You", "Is There Anyway Out of this Dream", "This One's From the Heart" and "Once Upon a Town".

For Waits purists, this probably isn't the disk for you. But I'm not one. "Pure" is hardly what anyone would use to describe me. And for what it's worth, this is still better than Scarlett Johansson singing an entire disk of Waits songs. I wish I were kidding on that last part, but it's out there.


Dith said...

I love the awful voiced trio, Waits, Cohen, and Dylan.

Waits and Cohen in small doses, even I have to admit.

OMGAvon said...

Oh, I adore this album. I had it on vinyl. Then cassette. Then CD. I love the tracks you mention, but "Can't Unring a Bell" and "Take me Home" are also favorites.

It's been years since I've seen the movie. Maybe it's time to drag it out again.

Trivia: One from The Heart was Roseanna Arquette's first movie. She's in the restaurant and makes a comment to the effect, "I think those are my pancakes."