Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Live Seeds

Live Seeds (1993)

B+

1. The Mercy Seat 2. Deanna 3. The Ship Song 4. Papa Won’t Leave You, Henry 5. Plain Gold Ring 6. John Finn’s Wife 7. Tupelo 8. Brother, My Cup Is Empty 9. The Weeping Song 10. Jack The Ripper 11. The Good Son 12. From Her To Eternity 13. New Morning

 

Question: who the hell listens to Henry’s Dream and thinks, “hey, this album sounds like shit, these songs really need to be re-recorded?” Nick Cave, apparently, but he’s gotta be the only one. Dream sounds just about perfect to me, but perhaps influenced by his disenchantment with David Briggs’ contributions to the album, he decided to record a live album of the subsequent tour so that he could mix the songs his way and have them be “done justice.” Fine, I’m willing to get on board with Nick’s revisions, if that’s the way he wants it… or at least I would be, if this album wasn’t mixed so damned poorly. There’s no dynamics to any of the instrumentation, which all kind of blends together into an indistinct grey mass behind Nick’s bellowing, snarling and shrieking, which is mixed as loudly and up front as possible. Of course, the sorts of performances Nick turns in here can carry an album virtually alone, which they basically do in this case.

There isn’t all that much here you can’t get on the studio albums in better-mixed form, but the performances are consistently, furiously high energy, and a couple of curios are worth making note of. A studio-recorded cover of Nina Simone’s “Plain Gold Ring” appears and sounds great, but that dirty practice of adding crowd noise to studio outtakes and sticking them on live albums just kinda bugs me, you know? If you spent time making a track sound good in the studio, why mar your hard work by adding a bunch of idiots screaming over it? Whatever, I’m glad I get to hear it in some form, in any case. It’s the only non-album track on here, and there are no significant rearrangements of the familiar tunes, save for the shortened, somewhat mellowed-out acoustic-based version of “The Mercy Seat” that opens the proceedings. It still builds up a pretty raging head of steam by the end, and might be easier to get into for new fans than the comparatively cacophonous Tender Prey version. Unsurprisingly, 10 of the 13 songs they play come from the band’s previous three albums, but the oldies they do pull out—“From Her To Eternity” and “Tupelo”—equally unsurprisingly, are superior to their more rag tag studio counterparts.

Not a whole lot else to say about this one. Awesome setlist, great energy, poor mix. But hey, as long as you can still hear the songs, it doesn’t matter too much.



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