2023 Marks 30 years since Tom Waits released The Black Rider. Originally released in 1993 on Island Records, The Black Rider is Tom Waits’ 12th studio album. The Black Rider is a musical comedy/horror collaboration between artists: Robert Wilson (director/designer) writer/Beat guru, William S. Burroughs (text) and Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan (music). Not a cast album, this Island Records release is Tom’s interpretation and performance of the songs he had originally created for the stage production of The Black Rider. The music is a Waitsian concoction of pop, vaudeville, rock, cabaret and blues – a brew that is strangely familiar yet absolutely fresh.
The unlikely source material is rooted in German Romantic literature and the Weber opera, “Der Freischutz” (although Waits’ music does not quote from the Weber score), The story concerns a marksman who makes a pact with the devil (in the guise of a shadowy horseman) in order to win a shooting contest and hence claim his bride.
A cross between the musical, Cabaret and The Threepenny Opera, The Black Rider is brimming with the sort of inspired originality that can only flow from the mind of Tom Waits.
The album is newly remastered for the first time ever from the original ½” flat master tape and personally overseen by Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan. Mastered by Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering under the guidance of Waits’ longtime audio engineer, Karl Derfler. The album packaging has also been restored. The Black Rider includes tracks such as “November,” “Russian Dance” and “The Briar And The Rose.” Available as a CD digipack.