Few introductions would do justice to Tom Waits, so I suppose that this one would do as well as others:
Amongst Waits’ myriad memorable albums, a personal favourite is Blue Valentine. The standout, more of a nostalgic smirk than a song called “Christmas Card from A Hooker in Minneapolis,” happened to be chosen by Waits as part of his Austin City Limits repertoire (the appearance was a fluke—the show’s producer threw Waits a bone with the booking, since he wanted another artist under Waits’ manager).
“Initially, the Austin City Limits crowd isn’t quite sure how to take it. When Waits kicks off “Silent Night,” the audience laughs rather loudly. It’s hard to blame them. Waits’ raspy delivery, not even yet halfway to the circus-barker-of-the-damned tone he has now, was probably not the most obvious interpreter of Christmas carols. The audience, too, has a smaller chuckle over “Christmas Card…”‘s opening line of “Hey, Charlie, baby, I’m pregnant,” being delivered in that same voice. Though a funny thing happens on the way to the coda. The audience, slowly, gets it. Sure, they laugh at the narrator’s comment about her lover’s hair grease and even chuckle softly at Waits’ interpolation of Little Anthony and the Imperials’ “Going Out of My Head,” but all of a sudden, something shifts.” (Read full version of this poetic play-by-play here)
Here’s the clip, for your viewing pleasure: