Tom Waits Shares Previously Unreleased Live Recordings

Listen to previously unheard live takes of "All the World is Green" and "Fish and Bird."

By Nate Todd Aug 10, 2022 4:27 pm PDT

Tom Waits announced 20th anniversary vinyl reissues of his 2002 albums, Alice and Blood Money, due out on October 7 via ANTI- Records. In anticipation of the vinyl arrivals, the acclaimed singer-songwriter is sharing previously unreleased live versions of songs from the records beginning with “All the World is Green” from Blood Money and “Fish and Bird” off Alice.

Waits released Alice and Blood Money on the same day — May 7, 2002 — with The New York Times’ Jon Pareles writing: “The albums are as different as sleepwalking and chronic insomnia. Alice, which is very loosely inspired by Alice in Wonderland,” Pareles continued, “is full of lyrics about dreaming, and many of the songs proceed in a haze of brushed drums and breathy horns. Blood Money is more hardnosed, veering from warped carnival oompah to ominous lullabies.”

Alice stemmed from Waits and his wife Kathleen Brennan’s collaboration with director Robert Wilson on his 1992 avant garde opera loosely based on Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland author Lewis Carol’s obsession with Alice Liddell, the neighbor girl who inspired the classic. The record contains unconventional string and horn arrangements, which Waits spoke about.

“During the ‘70’s, too many of my songs were drowning in strings,” he said. “I didn’t want to hear another blasted violin. So, we found string players who felt the same way about their instrument, formed an odd, skeletal chamber orchestra and tried to avoid all the old familiar phrases where strings love to play.”

Blood Money also has origins in a Waits/Brennan collaboration with Wilson, this time as an adaptation of the socio/political play Woyzeck, written by German poet Georg Buchner in 1837. Based on a true story, Woyzeck is inspired by a German soldier who went mad due to army medical experiments and infidelity, which led the soldier to kill his lover.

“Blood Money is flesh and bone, earthbound,” Waits said of the work. “The songs are rooted in reality: jealousy, rage, the human meat wheel…They are more carnal. Kathleen and I are well suited to this material. She is hilarious, blasphemous and ominous. I like a beautiful song that tells you terrible things.”

To preview the vinyl reissues, listen to previously unreleased live versions of Blood Money’s “All the World is Green” from Milan and and Alice’s “Fish and Bird” from London in the early 2000s:

All the World is Green

Fish and Bird

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