Tom Waits "Blue Valentine"

Today’s Cool Album of the Day is Tom Waits, “Blue Valentine.”

What a piece of music this one is.  I just love Tom Waits.  This is yet another example of the album I love is the tour I saw.

Tom Waits in 1978

I can’t remember the name of the place. But there was a little roadhouse between Merrillville + Valparaiso, Indiana where I saw this tour.  It had to be in 1978 or ‘79.  The opening act was Leon Redbone who had laryngitis that night and did everything instrumental.  He then held up a ‘thank you’ sign after every song.

TW does an amazing version of ‘Somewhere” from West Side Story as an opening number on this album. It’s truly a remarkable version.

Other highlights include ‘Red Shoes By the Drugstore, Whistlin’ by the Graveyard, Romeo is Bleeding, $29’ and of course, ‘Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis.’

His concert from this tour was just as strong.  It’s hard to remember much of it.  I do know that he opened the show leaning against a gas pump smoking a cigarette.  I’ve actually seen this tour on Austin City Limits if you can catch it.

Track Listing

Side One

  1. “Somewhere” (From West Side Story)
  2. “Red Shoes by the Drugstore”
  3. “Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis”
  4. “Romeo Is Bleeding”
  5. “$29.00”

Side Two

  1. “Wrong Side of the Road”            5:14
  2. “Whistlin’ Past the Graveyard”  3:17
  3. “Kentucky Avenue”        4:49
  4. “A Sweet Little Bullet from a Pretty Blue Gun”    5:36
  5. “Blue Valentines”


  • Vocals – Tom Waits
  • Electric Guitar – Tom Waits, Ray Crawford, Roland Bautista, Alvin “Shine” Robinson
  • Bass – Scott Edwards, Jim Hughart, Byron Miller
  • Piano – Da Willie Gonga (George Duke), Harold Battiste, Tom Waits
  • Organ – Charles Kynard
  • Tenor Saxophone – Herbert Hardesty, Frank Vicari
  • Drums – Rick Lawson, Earl Palmer, Chip White
  • Congas – Bobbye Hall Porter “Romeo Is Bleeding”
  • Orchestra – Bob Alcivar

See other albums we’ve featured from 1978

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Posted by Larry Carta


  1. Dennis Olvera (15 Mar 2011, 20:50)

    I saw the same tour at the Park West in Chicago. Leon Redbone didn’t have laryngitis that night and was great. Tom Waits though transformed an upscale venue into a sleazy bar. What a master of atmosphere. The gas pump and cigarette remain burned in my visual memory over 30 years later.

  2. Larry Carta (15 Mar 2011, 21:58)

    Tom, Isn’t the Park West the best place to see a band? Some of the best I’ve seen in my life were there. Off the top of my head…Tim Finn (with Peter Gabriel’s band), Steve Hackett, China Crisis, NRBQ, Dave Edmunds, U2, Terrance Trent D’Arby, Prince, Robert Fripp’s League of Gentleman, The Tubes. Jeff Healey, Steve Earle, Hot House Flowers, Rosanne Cash, Marillion. Man those were fun times!!

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