1977's Foreign Affairs takes the jazz and poetry that Tom Waits explored on his earlier albums in a more cinematic direction, foreshadowing his own breakthrough work in the '80s. Opening with the instrumental "Cinnys Waltz" and featuring some new standards like "Muriel" and "I Never Talk To Strangers", his dramatic duet with Bette Midler, this album gets into some of Waits' most ambitious storytelling ever. Foreign Affairs also features the jazzy, colorful "Jack and Neil" and the sweeping, dramatic "Potters Field" as well as classic Waits ballads "Burma Shave" and "Sight for Sore Eyes".
"...Foreign Affairs, fortunately, shows a resuscitation of Waits' voice and ability to write moving lyrics. "A Sight for Sore Eyes," like his earlier "Tom Traubert's Blues." reaches through its borrowed melody to grasp you by the shoulder; the speaker is a still-sharp, piano-playing rummy, desperately lonely and trying to sound offhand.
"Likewise. "Burma Shave" cannot be ignored. As elsewhere on this spare, unsweetened album (no overdubs or multitracking). Waits plays his own trailing piano accompaniment as he stacks up fresh, filmic images that make you care about this cowboy punk and the small-town girl who hopped into his wreck. His gruff, stolid singing gives us too little, and a bright trumpet coda gives us too much, but the song's integrity survives..." - Fred Schruers, Rolling Stone, November 1977
• 180g Vinyl LP
• Newly remastered with Waits/Brennan
1. Cinny's Waltz
3. I Never Talk To Strangers
4. Medley: Jack & Neal / California, Here I Come
5. A Sight For Sore Eyes
1. Potter's Field
3. Barber Shop
4. Foreign Affair