My attempt to blog all of the entries from the book 1001 Albums to Hear Before You Die
Brief Background: Nighthawks at the Diner was recorded live at the Record Plant Studios in Los Angeles, CA. The album producers brought in tables, set up a bar and made it feel like a jazz club. It is Waits third album, a double, and was recorded and released in 1975.
What I think: I consider myself a fairly knowledgeable Waits fan. In fact, I always trumpet his first two albums Closing Time and Heart of Saturday Night as two of his best. I’m really disappointed that neither of them made it to this book. That disappointment really hit when they chose this album, which I’ve tried to make it through many times, but never succeeded. I has always just felt too artificial to me, too set up. The jazz backing band sounds really generic and fake to me. It’s something that you would hear in the background of a bad sitcom scene.
That being said, as I made if further into the album this time, most of those annoyances faded and Wait’s strengths came through in his songs and highly infectious sense of humor. I would say after the first side he really hits a groove. The charm really ramps up with “Better Off Without a Wife” and I can’t really pick out a bad part from there. By the time he gets to “Big Joe and Phantom 309” near the end of the album I was hanging off of every word.
Do I agree or disagree with the writers as to this being an album you must listen to? I do agree this should be here, I don’t think I’d use this as a starting point for Waits. I do like it at this point to put it in light rotation.
Rating (Out of 5) 3.5
Nighthawks at the Diner Amazon Rating(Out of 5):4.5
Is this my first time hearing this album? No (76/348)
Percentage of Albums that are new to me: 78%