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Tom Waits: The Early Years Volume I (Edsel)

Max Bell, Vox, September 1991

LONG BEFORE he became the rather self-conscious Harry Dean Stanton type he is today, Tom Waits used to intone straight-to-the-heart-of-the matter barroom blues, most of it penned from the wrong side of the bottle. The Early Years, chronicling unreleased material from Tom's stint at Frank Zappa's Bizarre/Straight stable, makes a virtue of hitting that losing streak, as Waits wears the down-on-his-luck persona like a second skin.

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