The first time I paid attention to Tom Waits’ lyrics, I realized that he’s a noir storyteller in the Chandler/Hammett tradition. His early albums are full of songs about wastrels and losers who live on the seedy side of town. Skid Row is not just a crappy band to Tom Waits.
The Heart Of Saturday Night is Waits’ second album and the first one I heard. I bought a copy after seeing him open for Frank Zappa and the Mothers at the Circle Star Theatre in San Carlos, CA, of all places. It was a theatre-in-the-round type venue, which originally featured old school show biz performers like Sammy Davis Jr.
I also recall seeing the Three Stooges there. I think my mother was auditioning for The Good Place by indulging me. As we say in New Orleans, the Circle Star Theatre ain’t dere no more. I guess it’s okay to conflate my two hometowns since Waits starred in one of the best films set in New Orleans: Jim Jarmusch’s Down By Law. We are a good egg.
Time for another digression: I was a high school age smoker when I saw the Zappa/Waits show. My friends and I tried to keep up with Frank Zappa who seemed to always have a cigarette going. We’d never heard of Tom Waits or we would have done likewise with him. I gave up trying mid-way through Zappa’s set. It’s a pity that I didn’t quit for good at that point. I continued to smoke off and on for ten more years with a brief relapse in my first semester at law school. Now I hate smoke almost as much as I hate Trump.
Back to The Heart of Saturday Night. The cover art was done by Napoleon. No, not that one but an artist named Lynn Lascaro who used Napoleon as a psuedonym. He also did the cover for the Zappa/Mothers classic, One Size Fits All.
You’re not seeing double. Here’s the whole damn album on the YouTube:
2 thoughts on “Album Cover Art Wednesday: The Heart Of Saturday Night”
While the Circle Star “ain’t dere no more”, the sign still is in spirit. Well. the pole for the sign is there with the original sign having been replaced by a sign that electronically morphs from one advertiser to another. With it being located in the heart (maybe the thorax) of Silicon Valley the ads are usually for indecipherable tech innovations that mean something to those on the Google buses, but not much to those of us who merely live here. The phrase Circle Star though now has new meaning though; mention it and knowledge of what it means delineates those who are long time residents from the carpetbaggers.
Thanks for sharing, Mike. I’ve been gone a long time.
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