SOUTHSIDE JOHNNY w/ LABAMBA’S BIG BAND Grapefruit Moon: The Songs Of Tom Waits (2008)

Grapefruit Moon:
The Songs Of Tom Waits
Surprisingly, LaBamba Is The Star.

Waits… Southside Johnny… LaBamba… as long as you don’t even try to compare these horn-fed renditions to Waits’ own untouchable recordings, Grapefruit Moon is a blast of a concept. The material itself is a given, and Southside Johnny delivers appropriately, but (Conan O’Brien’s) Richie LaBamba, conducting his own arrangements, is a mind blower. His expansive, sometimes stunning charts are inventive and note-perfect (too perfect for Waits’ World, surely, but fittingly fulfilling). Waits himself shows up to duet on “Walk Away,” while the band shines brightest on material like “Please Call Me Baby” or “New Coat Of Paint,” early Waits tunes that already sported traditional horn arrangements. LaBamba’s boys, however, make these tunes vital and alive, coming on like they’re playing directly from your living room couch. For “Temptation,” the brass hides behind a tensely reserved tango before busting out, bullfight style. Even before it’s over you can sense they’re gonna go Cuban. I’d pay to see these guys in any city’s club. Johnny holds his own, but this album should really be billed, ‘LaBamba’s Big Band w/Southside Johnny.’ Conan’s old Late Night theme (HERE) was the best talk show theme ever. It’s at Amazon, HERE.

Yesterday Is Here (5:29)
Down, Down, Down (4:20)
Walk Away (4:19)
Please Call Me Baby (5:45)
Grapefruit Moon (6:31)
All The Time In The World (5:12)
Tango Till They’re Sore (4:54)
Johnsburg, Illinois (1:51)
New Coat Of Paint (4:41)
Shiver Me Timbers (4:39)
Dead And Lovely (6:49)
Temptation (6:58)


  • Capt. Willard
    November 1, 2010 - 21:28 | Permalink

    Get it HERE.

  • Iggy
    June 2, 2011 - 22:58 | Permalink

    Hi Willard. It’s great to find you once again. I’ve always enjoyed and appreciated your knowledge and kindness, and I look forward to many visits. All the best to you and the Wormhole.


  • Rhod
    August 9, 2013 - 16:59 | Permalink

    Thanks Capt what a great share

    Appreciate the work and time in every post



  • Anonymous
    August 11, 2013 - 08:56 | Permalink

    Whoa! Obscure time. Bought this as a way long time SSJ fanboy Interesting to see it posted in any form.

  • August 12, 2013 - 09:11 | Permalink

    Hey, I hope I don’t ruffle any feathers here by saying that this album ranks low on my Southside Johnny favorites list — I would have preferred a Southside Johnny Hoagy Carmichael tribute album featuring a backing group of acoustic piano, stand up bass & drums. While I also love Labamba’s work, this album sounds overproduced. That being said, I still think it’s of interest to every Waits fan out there.

    • Willard
      August 12, 2013 - 14:14 | Permalink

      Frankly, Southside Johnny is the least interesting aspect of this set for me, so I can understand a fan of the man not being that moved by it. But, I disagree on the production. It’s loud and live, maybe more overbearing than over-produced, but that makes it exciting for me. Of course, if everyone agreed on everything we’d only need to have one CD for everybody.

  • Tony Burger
    August 13, 2013 - 07:26 | Permalink

    Thanks once again Willard.

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