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SotD: John Hammond / Tom Waits - Shore Leave

Submitted by Druss on Thu, 2008-05-15 13:39

Today's Song Of The Day is a cover version by John Hammond of the Tom Waits song Shore Leave, from the latter's excellent album Swordfishtrombones. The song is off Wicked Grin, a collaboration between Hammond and Waits and is IMHO one of the few songs where the remake has just as much character as the original even though the arrangement is quite drastically different.

The highlight of the song is the deep-throated voice of John Hammond drawing each word with a Southern drawl that lends them that little je ne sais quoi. The music (arranged by Waits himself) is a lot brighter than the original, yet retains a lot of the same atmosphere. I do like the original better though as the lyrics and Waits' eccentricities paint a more surreal picture:

Well I was pacing myself
trying to make it all last
squeezing all the life
out of a lousy two day pass
and I had a cold one at the Dragon
with some Filipino floor show
and talked baseball with a lieutenant
over a Singapore sling
and I wondered how the same moon outside
over this Chinatown fair
could look down on Illinois
and find you there
and you know I love you Baby

Incidentally, (as the WP article will attest) John Hammond is a Vandebilt.