19 Songs, 53 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Rain Dogs helped to solidify Tom Waits’ reputation as one of America’s great bohemian weirdos. “Big Black Mariah”—anchored by Keith Richards’ raucous guitar squawk and percussion seemingly salvaged from a junkyard—is a gnarly mash of country blues and avant-garde theater. “Anywhere I Lay My Head” is equally cuckoo, with Waits howling like a drunken bulldog over marching-band jazz. But the record isn’t 100% bizarro—it also contains romantic stuff like “Downtown Train,” one of the all-time great subway love songs.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Rain Dogs helped to solidify Tom Waits’ reputation as one of America’s great bohemian weirdos. “Big Black Mariah”—anchored by Keith Richards’ raucous guitar squawk and percussion seemingly salvaged from a junkyard—is a gnarly mash of country blues and avant-garde theater. “Anywhere I Lay My Head” is equally cuckoo, with Waits howling like a drunken bulldog over marching-band jazz. But the record isn’t 100% bizarro—it also contains romantic stuff like “Downtown Train,” one of the all-time great subway love songs.

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