Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – B-Sides & Rarities

B-Sides & Rarities (2005)


1. Deanna (Acoustic Version) 2. The Mercy Seat (Acoustic Version) 3. City Of Refuge (Acoustic Version) 4. The Moon Is In The Gutter 5. The Six Strings That Drew Blood 6. Rye Whiskey 7. Running Scared 8. Black Betty 9. Scum 10. The Girl At The Bottom Of My Glass 11. The Train Song 12. Cocks ‘N’ Asses 13. Blue Bird 14. Helpless 15. God’s Hotel 16. (I’ll Love You) Till The End Of The World 17. Cassiel’s Song 18. Tower Of Song 19. What Can I Give You? 20. What A Wonderful World 21. Rainy Night In Soho 22. Lucy (Version #2) 23. Jack The Ripper (Acoustic Version) 24. Sail Away 25. There’s No Night Out In The Jail 26. That’s What Jazz Is To Me 27. The Willow Garden 28. The Ballad Of Robert Moore And Betty Coltrane 29. King Kong Kitchee Kitchee Ki-Mi-O 30. Knoxville Girl 31. Where The Wild Roses Grow 32. O’Malley’s Bar Pt. 1 33. O’Malley’s Bar Pt. 2 34. O’Malley’s Bar Pt. 3 35. Time Jesum Transeuntum Et Non Riverentum 36. O’Malley’s Bar Reprise 37. Red Right Hand (Scream 3 Version) 38. Little Empty Boat 39. Right Now I’m A-Roaming 40. Come Into My Sleep 41. Black Hair (Band Version) 42. Babe, I Got You Bad 43. Sheep May Safely Graze 44. Opium Tea 45. Grief Came Riding 46. Bless His Ever Loving Heart 47. Good Good Day 48. Little Janey’s Gone 49. I Feel So Good 50. Shoot Me Down 51. Swing Low 52. Little Ghost Song 53. Everything Must Converge 54. Nocturama 55. She’s Leaving You 56. Under This Moon


Hello loyal readers! I’ve been feeling kinda bummed that I’m gonna miss Nick Cave on his current tour so I thought this might be a good time to go back and review this compilation that for some reason I never got around to writing about when I originally did my Bad Seeds page. Maybe I was too busy or something? OK, no I wasn’t – the only things keeping me from taking the time to write reviews back in the Spring of 2012 were beer, fried food from the student center, the urge to masturbate, and the occasional homework assignment. So I was just being lazy, I guess.

Anyway, this career-spanning rarities collection (or at least it would have been career spanning had the Earth been swallowed by black hole in 2005. I guess that wouldn’t have been so bad. That way no one would have ever heard of Justin Beiber) is way too massive and eclectic for me to tackle meaningfully right now (10:19 PM on a Sunday night), so I’ll just share with you some song notes I took as I listened to it over the span of the last like three days (hey, there’s over three hours of material here, and my time is limited! Like today, in between grocery shopping and taking a nap, I barely had to time to shower. It just never stops).

-The Christian acoustic versions of “Deanna” and “City Of Refuge” are HILARIOUS. This time, when Nick sings, “I’m down here for your soul,” he means he’s gonna save it instead of viciously murdering you!

-“The Six Strings That Drew Blood” is really annoying. Not sure why I didn’t notice that before.

-“Rye Whiskey” is a wonderful singalong folk drinking song! Even if Nick can’t stay in tune to save his life.

-The clangy, echoey “The Girl at the Bottom of My Glass” actually sounds like it feels to be really, really drunk. The guitar playing sounds drunk, at least, which makes sense since it turns out Nick is doing it. As far as I know that’s the only time he played guitar on record outside of Grinderman.

-The drum machine intro of the near-instrumental “Cocks ‘N Asses” makes it sound like it’s gonna turn into a Van Halen song. It doesn’t. It does have jungle animal noises though. It’s also almost 6 minutes long, for some reason, despite the fact that it’s really annoying and nothing interesting happens.

-The ramshackle gospel send up “God’s Hotel” is hilarious (“Everybody is blind/Everybody is dumb/Everybody is dumb and blind in God’s hotel”)

-What the fuck is going on with the Leonard Cohen cover “Tower of Song”? Whatever it is, it’s something truly godawful.

-Hearing a couple of drug addicted, key challenged mugs like Nick and the Pogues’ Shane McGowan sing “What A Wonderful World” is kinda goofy. Besides, it’s got nowhere near the ironic bite of the Flaming Lips’ version.

-“There’s No Night Out In The Jail,” apparently a cover of an Australian country song, sounds like a sea shanty. I like it.

-I LOVE YOU NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS FOR MAKING THE FREE FORM JAZZ PARODY “THAT’S WHAT JAZZ IS TO ME.” I especially love the pretentious vocal affectation – sounds like a pasty white fedora wearing undergrad jazz theory major.

-“Willow Garden” is a fantastic traditional folk ballad. Nick sounds like he’s trying to imitate Freewheelin’-era Bob. Warren Ellis’ violin line is stunning.

-“Froggie Went A-Courtin’” is done in the original spirit of the song (i.e. a murder ballad) instead of cute kid’s song!

-In fact, the four Murder Ballads b-sides are probably the highlights of the entire collection.

-The clichéd “Hollywood” orchestral arrangement on the re-recorded version of “Red Right Hand,” done for the Scream 3 soundtrack, is really overblown and annoying.

-“Little Empty Boat” has an intriguing little dissonant guitar lick and amusing lyrics about a bothersome evangelical chick. “Give to God what belongs to God and give the rest to me/Tell our gracious host to fuck himself/It’s time for us to leave.”

-Likewise, the moderately noisy, classic rockish “Come Into My Sleep” and (to a lesser extent) “Babe I Got You Bad” are way more exciting than pretty much all of The Boatman’s Call. Why did he insist on filling that album with so many dull ballads when he had some uptempo material that would have at least livened the record up a bit? The other TBC b-sides and outtakes on here fit in much better with the album’s general feel, unfortunately. Dreadfully dull.

-Disc 3 in general kinda drags as it documents the band venturing boldly into the Piano Ballad Era. It is punctuated here and there by some surprises, like the poppy and brazenly happy (!) “Good Good Day” and the short, rambunctious blues cover “I Feel So Good”

-“Under This Moon” is just more of that take on pop-inflected classic rock that made Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus so enjoyable (love that diggity guitar lick!). Why did it take Nick so long to start writing this kind of song? Oh that’s right, he was too busy doing drugs and weeping about PJ Harvey.

Overall, there’s a lot of fun stuff on here. A lot of dull balladry too, but a lot of fun stuff. And it’s amusing to hear Nick slowly learn how to sing in tune as the material moves chronologically from the reckless early years to the more mannered later years. You know what’s not amusing? Cancer. Cancer is probably the least amusing thing ever. Except possibly that fucking cover of “Tower Of Song.”

One Comment

  1. victoid wrote:

    Hmmm…”Rye Whiskey”, “Bottom Of My Glass” and four full songs devoted to O’Malley’s bar.
    Splains a lot about ole Nick’s persona. Mebbe thass why he don’t write more coherent poppy stuff.
    But you’re right- he sure is fun for a degenerate.

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