Monday, 1 March 2021

Positive Songs For Negative Times #43: Nighthawks

If you asked me to name my favourite live album, I'd probably struggle for an answer and then plump for one of the infinite number of Bruce concerts now available to buy... but the truth is, I'm not that big a fan of live albums in general. Even those I like, such as Springsteen On Broadway, I haven't listened to half as much as any of his studio albums.

The one exception - although it's a faux live album... albeit one that was recorded live (in pieces) in front of an audience (just not a real nightclub audience) - is Tom Waits's Nighthawks At The Diner (named after the Edward Hopper painting above). Not only is it my favourite "live album", it's also my favourite Tom Waits album.

 I've been listening to it a lot lately, because the mix of sultry jazz bar crooning and witty pre-song banter is proving a soothing late night stress-buster. A positive album for negative times: I'd recommend it next time sleep refuses to welcome you into her fickle arms. Even the painting is comforting in these cold, isolated times. I'd love to walk into that diner, pull up a seat and chat with the folks in there. Like a scene from a movie... which the pre-Covid past now resembles more and more with each passing day.



  1. As you're no doubt aware, Rol, almost without exception, all live albums are faux!

    Nighthawks is, I would say, my favourite painting. It resonates with me; always has.

  2. I went to college right down the street from the Art Institute of Chicago where Hopper's famous painting resides. I used to pop in there and look at it often. Carefree times. I miss that feeling. Tom Waits is great. I don't have this live album, but you have me interested.


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