Tom Waits, according to the esteemed American critic Robert Hilburn, is clearly one of the most important figures of the modern pop era. Such sentiments are not mere hyperbole; in a career that now spans four decades and over 20 albums, Tom Waits has long since emerged as an extraordinary innovative force, a singular voice whose music remains determinedly and even gloriously - well beyond the trivial fads and fashions of popular culture. Waits latest release, the 3CD set Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards adds further weight to that stellar reputation. Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards is a wide-ranging collection of 54 songs - including 30 new recordings equaling over three hours of rare and never-before heard music. The set comes complete with a 94-page booklet.
Each of the three CDs is separately grouped and sub-titled Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards to capture the full spectrum of Waits ranging and roving musical styles. Brawlers is chock full of raucous blues and full-throated juke joint stomp; Bawlers comprises Celtic and country ballads, waltzes, lullabies, piano and classic lyrical Waits songs while Bastards is filled with experimental music and strange tales.
In addition to the new work, Orphans features a number of songs originally recorded for the cinema, the theatre and other projects but which now find a home on a Waits album for the first time. They include his unique interpretations of songs by such extraordinarily diverse talents as The Ramones, Daniel Johnston, Kurt Weill & Bertolt Brecht, Leadbelly, Sparklehorse, Charles Bukowski and Jack Kerouac.