Reissue of Second Studio Album from Nick & the Seeds on Vinyl LP!
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's 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. It's 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. "I'm not really sure why, but it seems to offer just about everything that London doesn't," he told Melody Maker. "The people there have drive and imagination and spirit." These are qualities the album certainly possesses in droves, while Cave's musical associates overflow with them. Inventively accompanying Cave's 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 it'd 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. It's an album that helped to define Cave's 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 that's 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...
The moody obsessions of rural blues - trains, floods, imprisonment, sin, fear, and death - seemed made to order for Cave, and he was able to tap into the doomy iconography of this music with potent emotional force...the blues helped transform Cave's music as well as his lyrics; the brutal sonic pummel of the Birthday Party here gave way to a more subtle and dynamic approach that still made effective use of dissonance and bare-wired electric guitar noise while proving the balance of loud and soft only made each side deeper and more resonant....The Firstborn Is Dead proved Nick Cave's musical palate was significantly broader than his debut album suggested and pointed to a path (channeling the sounds and emotions of American roots music) he would return to on many of his albums that followed.
- Vinyl LP
- 2009 Remastered Version
- Made in the EU
- Say Goodbye to the Little Girl Tree
- Train Long-Suffering
- Black Crow King
- Knockin' on Joe
- Wanted Man
- Blind Lemon Jefferson