A series of Nick Cave albums reissued on vinyl in the years 2014 and 2015 includes this sophomore album in the first round. Also included in the first batch of reissues are "From Her to Eternity," "Kicking Against The Pricks," and "Your Funeral...My Trial."
The second Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds album was recorded in late 84 at Hansa Studios in Berlin. Co-produced by Flood and the band, it was rich with references to the blues and bluesmen, the American South, and especially to Elvis Presley. Its striking title was a nod to Jesse Garon Presley, Elvis stillborn identical twin. Cave seemed to be wondering whether The King, deeply conflicted, had suffered from survivor guilt, both at birth and in later years. On those last concerts, Cave also once observed of Elvis just before he died, you see a man who fought an incredible struggle with life. Its one of the most brutal things ever captured on film. In those pictures, it has a unique glow of heroism.
There was something uniquely heroic, too, about The Firstborn Is Dead, one of the most brutal things ever captured on record. If its predecessor, the debut From Her To Eternity, had introduced us to a new howling wolf, here was a sly fox whose antipathy towards conventional vocal stylings and formulaic song formats invented a fresh vocabulary. Eschewing cliché, the album roared with pain and anger, rang out with the wit of a natural storyteller, and blossomed with the vitality of romance.
Cave himself had recently moved to Berlin. Im not really sure why, but it seems to offer just about everything that London doesnt, he told Melody Maker. The people there have drive and imagination and spirit. These are qualities the album certainly possesses in droves, while Caves musical associates overflow with them. Inventively accompanying Caves voice and harmonica are the matchless and loyal Mick Harvey on piano, drums, guitar, organ, bass and backing vocals; the enduring legend that is Barry Adamson on bass, guitar, organ, drums and backing vocals; and the true one-off Blixa Bargeld on guitar and backing vocals.
The Firstborn Is Dead was described as the most evocative blues record for years (Sounds). I could listen to very little other contemporary stuff near this as itd seem facile and silly, opined Zigzag. Sordid, predictable, sickening and quite indispensable, offered Melody Maker.
The Firstborn Is Dead was released in June 1985 and almost made the top 50. Its an album that helped to define Caves new role, his niche on the map as fire-and-brimstone preacher and post-modern ironist, as a wizard with words, as a master of the heartfelt howl thats tinted with a twisted smile. Much of his work since has taken the blues as a basis, before spiraling off into exhilarating new sparks and shards
2. Say goodbye To the Little Girl Tree
3. Train Long Suffering
4. Black crow King
5. Knockin' On Joe
6. Wanted Man
7. Blind Lemon Jefferson