A major part of Tom Waits's mystique has always been his complex, intriguing persona; part Bukowski-esque barfly poet, part Kerouac-inspired hipster, part Hoagy Carmichael troubadour. Nowhere has that persona been more fully utilised than on NIGHTHAWKS AT THE DINER. Throughout the album waits unfurls his colourful, charismatic, artfully amplified personality. It's like spending the evening with a lounge lizard/raconteur/beatnik standup comic who also happens to compose strikingly beautiful tunes that could have come from the Great American Songbook if not for their lyrical quirkiness. Though it would be a few more years before Waits would reinvent himself on SWORDFISHTROMBONES, the character who stomps through your brain on NIGHTHAWKS with both guns blazing is as original and impressive a character as you could want.