Nutron's Record Bag: Tom Waits - Big Time
Big Time (1988) turns out to be a bit of a greatest hits album of his albums Swordfishtrombones, Rain Dogs, and Franks Wild Years except it's live in front of an audience. When you hear the studio versions of these albums it's like going to the movies for your ears; they are well produced and meticulously ornamented and performed. They almost seem less creative because, like most studio works, they're more of a documentation than a performance. They're great on the album, and I can't say that their live equivalents are better, but
Waits' style seems more at home here, where he can freak out at will. It just seems more appropriate. It's odd to realize that he rarely plays to a crowd when it sounds like that's where he belongs.