Tom Waits Alice (Epitaph) Rating: NNNN; Blood Money (Epitaph) Rating: NNNN
If it hadn't been for the appearance last year of a decent-quality bootleg of the home demos Tom Waits made for Robert Wilson's theatrical production of Alice, this re-recording of the delightfully twisted accompanying music would likely never have been released. As you might expect, his first vocal takes on the boot version have more oomph, but the added instrumental colour of the full-band versions brings the self-styled sketches to life. While the Alice work sways with an eerie German cabaret vibe, the low-down carny blues of Blood Money is more closely connected to the recent Waits mumble-gumbo of Mule Variations -- though it's nowhere near as swingin'. So, yes, you need 'em both.