Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ken Nordine Tribute

“Ken Nordine, yea I know that guy, I heard his voice 1000 times, he’s the guy in the bus station that says “go ahead I’ll keep an eye on your stuff for you,” and you see him the next day walking around town wearing your clothes. He broadcasts from the boiler room of the Wilmont Hotel with 50,000 watts of power. I know that voice, he’s the guy with the pitchfork in your head saying go ahead and jump, and he’s the ambulance driver who tells you you’re going to pull thru. He’s the guy in the control tower who talked you down in a storm with a hole in your fuselage and both engines on fire. I heard him barking thru the Rose Alley Carnival strobe as samurai firemen were pulling hose. Yea he’s the dispatcher with the heart of gold, the only guy up this late on the suicide hotline. Ken Nordine is the real angel sitting on the wire in the tangled matrix of cobwebs that holds the whole attic together. Yea Ken Nordine, he’s the switchboard operator at the Taft Hotel, the only place in town you can get a drink at this hour. You know Ken Nordine, he’s the lite in the icebox, he’s the blacksmith on the anvil in your ear.”

—Tom Waits

Be sure to check out the tribute to the great Ken Nordine over at Uncertain Times v.ii. You might have to scroll down a bit to find the posts.

update: just enter "Nordine" in the search window and all of the posts will come up.


Bunk Strutts said...

Ken Nordine was one of our favorites in college when we were pulling all nighters. 2:30AM storytime, broadcast by the local station.

The Tom Waits quote is accurate, and comes from the liner notes to Nordine's "The Best of Word Jazz V.1," a compilation of late 1950's early '60's recordings when he was at his best. You can find it on Amazon... with a review from yours truly.

You gotta listen to him late at night with the lights out and the TV set to static.

John M. said...

I've been a huge fan since the early '80s. I used to have a fair amount of his stuff on cassette, back in the day. Now I have a sizable collection of mp3s.

When I was going to school at Kent State, the radio station played Word Jazz late at night, too.

His YouTube page has some good stuff on it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post...I followed a g.o.o.g.l.e alert over here. Favorite Nordine line (right now) "How come people worry about nothingness when there is so little of it?" Nordine has become a complete god to me in the past few years.

John M. said...

He is a treasure.

I think it's great that he's still working. I've enjoyed the stuff he put up last year on his YouTube channel.