Originally released in 1973, this year marks fifty years since the release of Tom Waits’ highly influential debut album ‘Closing Time’. To commemorate the occasion, new 50th anniversary vinyl is out today. Available in black and clear versions as a double 180g LP cut at 45 RPM with half speed mastering by London’s Abbey Road Studios, the gatefold jacket was also specially created with thicker board and black poly-lined inner sleeves. Order it here: https://tomwaits.ffm.to/closingtime
Included in Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Song Writers of All Time and a 2011 inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Waits’s ‘Closing Time’ began the career of this legendary artist and his foray into the exploration of sound and the canon of American and European songwriting – from folk to jazz to blues and gospel to cabaret and spoken word – all in service of his experience of the human condition from every rung of the ladder. This is the launch of a voice and eye so singular that ‘Waitsian’ has become an adjective used by critics and dictionaries to describe his aesthetic and style.
Called “a minor key masterpiece filled with songs of late-night loneliness” by All Music Guide, ‘Closing Time’ features the distinctly lyrical storytelling and a seminal blending of jazz, blues and folk styles that would come to be associated first with Waits.
“‘Closing Time’ is an important document not because of its made-for-radio first side or the piano prose that comprises the second half,” PopMatters recently explained in an in-depth retrospective essay on the album and its influences. “No, ‘Closing Time’ serves as the “Swim at Your Own Risk” sign hanging above the Waits’ musical swimming pool. There’s a whole world waiting beneath that water. Just don’t trust the lifeguard to pull you back out again.” Read the essay in full HERE.
In Far Out Magazine’s review of the record, writer Tom Taylor states: “Therein lies the true beauty of ‘Closing Time’: it is brimming with a sense of empathy. You might not have had the experiences he croaks about or know the downtrodden characters he eulogizes in his quirky tales, but his sumptuous refrains allow you to hobble around in their broken-heeled shoes for a humbling moment. The melodies are the sort that makes it halfway towards Tin Pan Alley before pausing to prop themselves up on a lamppost for a moment to steady their wavering jazz-infected stride.”