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Tales of a Librarian (2003)
A Tori Amos Collection
1. Precious Things
3. Silent All These Years
4. Cornflake Girl
9. Way Down
10. Professional Widow (Remix)
11. Mr. Zebra
13. Me and a Gun
15. Playboy Mommy
16. Baker Baker
17. Tear in Your Hand
18. Sweet Dreams
19. Jackie's Strength
20. Snow Cherries from France
Tales of a Librarian: A Tori Amos Collection, was released on November 18, 2003.
"It's a sonic autobiography. It came about after some friends and I were discussing how we would have loved to have had a female account of Rome's final days, from the fall of the Roman empire 2000 years ago. I'd really like to have heard what a female songwriter might have written if they'd chronicled that time, that society, those people's thoughts from a woman's point of view.
"I started thinking, well, I could do that, as an American woman during a time when many feel America has passed its zenith and fallen so low that those who challenge our political leaders are being vilified as betrayers of our country. And so I chose songs that go back to her as an infant, born in the year JFK was shot, the daughter of a minister and a part-Cherokee woman, and followed her life from there." [Sunday Star-Times - November 23, 2003]
"I'm referring to it more as a 'best-of' because I think to have a 'Greatest Hits' you need like ten Top Ten hits. This is more of a chronicle of what we know of Tori from 1990 to 2003 . . . So it's from her perspective of the last many years, having traveled around the world and going through her own personal stuff. And the songs do that. Maybe it's the closest thing to an autobiography of this woman's life that there's ever been."
"It includes things like 'Precious Things' and of course 'Silent All These Years,' 'Cornflake Girl,' 'Spark,' songs that people might be familiar with on one level. And then there are quite a lot of songs that I felt gave you more story and a bit of sizzle with variations musically. It had to represent a whole musical spectrum because that's very much a part of the story. It's not just the ballads. It's not just what you heard on the radio."
Two songs -- "Mary" and "Sweet Dreams" -- were originally slated for release on Little Earthquakes, but were cut from the final album. Amos re-tracked the songs with her current bassist Jon Evans and drummer Matt Chamberlain. "I don't think they were brought to their zenith. And I thought the songs were still valid."
According to Amos, the hardest part was not selecting which songs from her oeuvre would make the cut, but rather finding the original mixes. "Tracking down some of these tapes was an awesome task. I think they might have been in somebody's dorm room somewhere [laughs] . . . I'm serious, the libraries that were supposed to be taking care of the masters were not in tact. So we had people chasing down masters all over the world. We found some in -- you'd be amazed -- in like the playroom of their house. It's like, 'What's "Winter" doing there?'" [rollingstone.com - September 5, 2003]
"It's the closest thing to an autobiography of this woman's life," Amos says, explaining that the anthology traces her own story and evolution. "It's about how she grew up in a religious household and then started playing the Washington circuit in the hotel piano bars for congressmen, lobbyists, their rent boys and their call girls." [Los Angeles Times - September 21, 2003]
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