Heartattack and Vine is the title track from Tom Wait’s 1980 album. What really struck me about the live performance below are the fabulous instrumentals of gutbucket blues with rock edges. Tom’s a great lyricist, storyteller and performer, but the atmosphere exuded by his band is fundamental in the appreciation of his music. Before hearing a song from the minstrel performer you always know you’re going to be challenged as a listener and Heartattack and Vine is such an immersive experience. Tom’s unconventional gnarley style of phrasing complements the messing with off-kilter rhythms of blues and jazz songs.
Boney’s high on china white, Shorty found a punk
Don’t you know there ain’t no devil? There’s just God when he’s drunk
Well this stuff’ll probably kill you, let’s do another line
What you say you meet me down on Heartattack and Vine?
See that little Jersey girl in the see-through top
With the pedal pushers, sucking on a soda pop
Well I bet she’s still a virgin, but it’s only twenty-five till nine
You can see a million of ’em on Heartattack and Vine
The song Heartattack and Vine takes its name from Hollywood and Vine in Hollywood referring to locations and details of Los Angeles (for example, Cahuenga is a street, and the local bus system was formerly known as the RTD).
Ben Winch at AllMusic wrote:
Heartattack and Vine, an apparently lesser-known transitional album from 1980, is far and away my favourite Tom Waits record, and the one I turn to when times are hard. In 1980, so the official history goes, Waits was on the verge of a breakthrough: living in New York City for the first time in his career, having just scored the Coppola film One from the Heart (“Broken Bicycles” is a high point), and alone as he ever had been or would be, he was only months from meeting future wife and collaborator Kathleen Brennan, who turned him onto Beefheart, scorned his sentimental balladeer former persona, and kickstarted the creative explosion of Swordfishtrombones, Raindogs, Frank’s Wild Years and everything since.
1. Heartattack and Vine – wikipedia