In 2006, Tom Waits released a limited-edition 3-CD set of original music called Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers, and Bastards. The album is divided into three sections, each with a unique sound: Brawlers is blues and rock based, Bawlers is full of melancholic ballads, and Bastards is more experimental, where we hear the gruff tones that Waits is known for. The album reflects on the mystery of humanity from its most reckless to its most intuitive and outreaching.
“Take Care of All My Children” is from the second CD, Bawlers, and it is written in the format of a hymn. The lyrics tell the tale of a man who is relieving himself of all earthly possession and leaving to follow the Lord. It would sound just as home during a Mass procession as it would as the recessional hymn of a funeral. These lyrics are an excellent reflection on Luke 9:57, when Jesus challenged the would-be followers to leave behind their earthly connections and devote themselves to His teachings.
This cover was produced independently by Dominique Ventura, who sang all the voice parts herself. Ventura is a multi-talented artist: she paints, illustrates children’s books, performs on the street, writes poetry, and produces original music as well as covers.
Dominique did a great service to this tune. Her tight vocal harmonies bring a new life to a song originally sung by Waits, who as usual sounds as though his throat is the home of spiders and gravel. With Ventura’s clear and lovely voice, “Take Care of All My Children” can truly be heard for the wonderful hymn that it is.
Here’s the original version if you’re interested.