Imagine you are a careers advisor and a teenage Tom Waits tells you he wants to be a singer. How do you advise him? Do you say, "That's interesting Tom. Have you considered a career in McDonalds?"
I came to these tracks by a slightly circuitous route that you may want to follow since there's good stuff that I passed on the way to Tom's downloads. It started when I was listening to a Talking Rock podcast (episode 4 to be precise). They were playing a bunch of tunes from the Podsafe Music Network and, on exploring that site, I found my way to the Epitaph Records.
Assuming you are still with me (and I suspect some at least will have been distracted by one of the sites mentioned so far) I hope you'll now spend some time on the Tom Wait's section of Epitaph's site because at the bottom of his page there are links to some of his albums and most of these albums have at least one mp3 track available for download. The one I'd like to feature here is Bottom Of The World from the Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards album. Have a listen to this track, download a few of the others too if you like, then re-think your careers advice to the young Tom Waits.
...And while you're at it, have a think about the number of great artists who wouldn't get past the audition stage of American Idol or Britain's Got Talent! Anyone want to start a list?