Tom Jans

The Two Toms and a Lost Record

by Hans Nijs

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In the latter stages of 1998 dulcimer players around the world were sending e-mails to and fro in a search to locate the maker of Richard Farina's dulcimer. The e-mails usually had "Farina Dulcimer Chase" as the subject title. The search for Tom Jans' 1982 album "Champion" attracted equal attention. A  perceptive summary of the search  for "Champion" and was submitted to The Tom Waits e-mail discussion group in April 1999 by Hans Nijs. This is his postscript:

After he and Mimi split Jans came down to LA where he became a sort of an innercircle celebrity. This must have been the time when he met Mr. Waits. He lived in Malibu untill his death. Valerie Carter did a cover of the song on the album 'Way It Is' in 1996. Valerie Carter was Tom Jans' girlfriend from 1976 onwards. She supported The Eagles on the European leg of their Hotel California-tour in 1977. During the only Dutch show in Rotterdam she called Jans on stage to do his "Back on my Feet Again" together. From then on Jans was a cult-star .... in the Netherlands only, I'm afraid. Back on my Feet Again is one of those songs which resemble Whistle down the Wind. It's from the great album Dark Blonde. Around the world to be found between so much other used vinyl. Recommended particularly to those interested in early Little Feat and Tom Waits.

Jans' last album "Champion" has finally been found. It seems that no American company was willing to release it although the recordings (with Carter, the Porcaro's, most Little Feat members etc.) were finished. The tapes were bought by the Japanese label Canyon International and the record was released in Japan only. The whole thing left Jans very disappointed. He lost faith in everyone around him with only few exceptions: at the end of the liner notes on the Champion sleeve it says: "thanks to Tom and Kathleen". In a way these were his last words in public.

This page updated October 2003 by Geoff ,