Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Gone to Seed

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds Live at the Royal Albert Hall, was a recording that passed many by originally. Issued as a limited bonus with the Best of album, it was hardly targeted at Cave fans.

Ten years later in 2008, Mute, or Cave or who ever decided to re-release Live at the Royal Albert Hall; basically the original free disc (less 'The Weeping Song'[!]) plus a few extra tracks.
Now deleted, a second hand copy appears to change hands for around thirty-five quid!
Mad innit, the music biz; no wonder it's going down the toilet.

Recorded in May, 1997, the sumptuous Royal Albert Hall makes for a lush recording; and I believe this is easily their best collection.
(Admittedly I'm not the biggest fan of their music - too much forced pathos for me - I find it difficult to take a whole album; except for this one and Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!)

The set list is very similar to one that appears on a bootleg album entitled Black Session, recorded a year later.
The clue's in the title. I guess he was going through a difficult patch at the time.
But back in May 1997, he must have been enjoying a brief moment of joviality as the recording captures Cave in an upbeat mood, and despite featuring several songs from the lugubrious The Boatman's Call this is very much a celebratory gig.

His mood makes for great delivery; the band respond to it; and in my opinion all the tracks (bar two; I'll come on to that...) benefit emormously from the live setting, the general good mood and the superb playing (and recording; knocks spots off Black Session), making for a greater and more pleasurable listen than the original studio recordings.

There are those two tracks though, not that they're bad: just different.
Originally the two Murder Ballads singles were sung as duets; one with his then lover Polly Harvey and the other with fellow antipodean, Kylie Minogue.
Both female collaborators are absent on this recording, so their places are taken by Bad Seed Blixa Bargeld, bringing a different kind of camp to the murder ballads, one not evident, obviously, on the original recordings.

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - Live at the Royal Albert Hall (1998)

Lime Tree Arbour
Stranger Than Kindness
Red Right Hand
I Let Love In
Brompton Oratory
Henry Lee
The Weeping Song
The Ship Song
Where the Wild Roses Grow

CD rip to mp3s
Re-Seed here


Mona said...

Yeah I like this, but the 'Black Session' is actually a French radio sessions series, not sure where NC's head was at tho!
(there are many other acts with the Black Sessions label if I didn't explain that too well)

roy rocket said...

The series' title was certainly apt for Cave's edition...
Cheers for the words.