Nick Cave Heard Them Here First
Here’s the latest in a wonderful compilation series. This time it’s Nick Cave (I’ve previously looked at versions devoted to Cliff Richard and Dusty Springfield). The way this series works is the good folk at Ace – one of those old-fasioned curator/care labels – put together an album that charts the influences of an iconic figure. This single disc replaces/streamlines the “Original Seeds” discs I had many years back – comprised of songs that Cave and his Bad Seeds had covered.
Here you’ll hear some songs he’s covered in their original versions (Bob Dylan’s Death Is Not The End, The Leaves doing Hey Joe, Gene Pitney’s Something’s Gotten Hold of My Heart, Leonard Cohen’s Tower of Song and Lefty Frizzell doing The Long Black Veil) as well as songs that have clearly helped to form Cave’s aesthetic (Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin’s Je T’aime…Moi Non Plus, Peter Cook & Dudley Moore’s Bedazzled).
Where the Dusty and Cliff entries into this series stayed firmly in the Rock’n’Roll/R’n’B area (a bit of soul in the side) this one, being Nick Cave’s influences, moves a lot more stylistically. We kick off with The Stooges’ great, wild Fun House and then move to Nina Simone’s I Put A Spell On You before Johnny Cash sings Muddy Waters. Those three big-name players so crucially part of Cave’s world and work. We travel back to the blues via coutry’s dirt-roads (The Louvin Brothers, Hank Williams) to arrive at Blind Willie Johnson and John Lee Hooker doing the field-hollerin’ so obvious across Caves 80s and early 90s material. But only after we’ve checked in on a bit of punk, 60s garage bands and Pulp’s glorious Disco 2000.
As has been the way with the previous collections in this series from Ace you probably don’t need to be a fan of the artist on the title – but it helps to build a sonic picture of their influences if you are.