Aug 29, 2011

Tom Waits - The Black Rider


"The Black Rider: The Casting of the Magic Bullets is a self-billed "musical fable" in the avant-garde tradition created through the collaboration of theatre director Robert Wilson, musician Tom Waits, and writer William S. Burroughs. Wilson was largely responsible for the design and direction. Burroughs wrote the book, while Waits wrote the music and most of the lyrics. The project began in about 1988 when Wilson approached Waits. The story is based on a German folktale called Der Freisch├╝tz, which had previously been made into an opera by Carl Maria von Weber. It premiered at Hamburg's Thalia Theatre on 31 March 1990. Waits recorded much of the music from the play in different arrangements under the eponymous title, The Black Rider.- wikipedia


From the original Thalia Theatre Version , with Dominique Horwitz
as Pegleg / Devil

Look like a great stage musical. Somebody had  uploaded the whole play in youtube ( though some commenter said that it is not complete, missing a few parts)...the first version from Thalia Theatre from the early 90's. A shame really, that the whole play is in German - only the songs part are in English. I can see why Tom Waits chose to be involved in this..the premise of the story, the vibe, the Faustian bargain, William Burroughs and Robert Wilson - its easy to picture Tom Waits salivating all over this.


The Black Rider: The Casting of the Magic Bullets synopsis
"Wilhelm, a file clerk, falls in love with a huntsman's daughter. In order to marry, Wilhelm must prove his worth as a hunter and gain her father's approval, but, as "a man of pen and ink", his shot is lousy and his hopes of marriage worsen. That is until he is offered magic bullets by the devil, Pegleg – who assures him that his bullets will always have a sure shot. However, Pegleg stipulates that, while most of the bullets will hit anything Wilhelm pleases, one of the bullets is under Pegleg's control. Foolish, naive, and overrun with desperate hope, Wilhelm accepts the Faustian pact. On the day of Wilhelm's wedding, the final bullet strikes his beloved dead. He then goes mad, and joins the previous victims of Satan's cunning in the Devil's carnival."


Wilhelm and the Devil



Then on 1993 Tom Waits recorded and released 'The Black Rider' album , a studio version of the songs he wrote for the play. To be honest at first I kinda skipped this album, assuming it will be like Jim Jarmusch's Night On Earth soundtrack. That one is kinda good, just not Tom Waits-ly great knowwhatimean? And the lack of review really made me think that The Black Rider is a...skippable album. God knows how wrong I am.


Now whenever somebody got the nerve to say "Tom who?" when I am talking about Tom Waits, imma gonna shove 'Just The Right Bullets' or 'The Black Rider' to his ears and watch the mafakka have his first musical epiphany...like a boss.





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