The Underheralded 80’s: Rain Dogs by Tom Waits

And now a new series on The Rumble. Since this blog usually returns to the warm fuzzies of nostalgia for fodder, it seemed fitting to dive right in with the underrated records from my favorite musical decade. I solicited submissions from friends and Internet acquaintances and hope this becomes an ongoing series celebrating the best the 1980’s had to offer.


Rain Dogs by Tom Waits

by Timm Booker

This beauty is what happens when Lower Manhattan meets the Mississippi Delta and the devil makes hay. The 19 tracks range from Polka to Bossa-Nova to Rockabilly and a scant single minute to a solid 4:37 on “Gun Street Girl.” The opening pays off in rum as we get our sea legs with “Singapore.” Ahoy! The dark, coldness of “Clap Hands” then rolls out of the speakers like a surrealistic fog. When it lifts the menagerie of images Tom, the record delivers one of the uncut diamonds of the mid-80’s. Synth-Pop be damned. Keith Richards’ sweet guitar permeates the album throughout. Details were not even missed on the cover which is an homage to Elvis and the Clash, two artists that surely took up bar stools in the saloon of Tom Waits’ palatial musical mind.  

By jdp

Pittsburgh-based freelance writer, movie watcher and vinyl crate digger. I've interviewed Tom Hanks and James Bond and it was all downhill from there.

The Underheralded 80’s: Rain Dogs by Tom Waits

by jdp time to read: 1 min