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Firstborn Is Dead


Price: CDN$ 51.46
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Jan. 12 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Mute U.S.
  • ASIN: B000003Z6G
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #179,100 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Tupelo
2. SAy Goodbye TO THe Little Girl Three
3. Train Long-Suffering
4. Black Croa KIng
5. Knockin' On Joe
6. Wanted Man
7. Blind Lemon Jefferson
8. The Six Strings That Drew Blood
9. Tupelo (Single Version)

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

By A Customer on Sept. 3 2002
Format: Audio CD
I always wrote Nick Cave off as a messiah in his own mind with literary pretentions. I don't know what possessed me to pick this one up some 10-odd years ago, but I got hooked. Line and sinker. Despite having a great admiration for THE BOATMAN'S CALL & NO MORE SHALL WE PART, I still keep coming back to this one. Perhaps because it was my first exposure, or maybe it's just a damn good album. In my opinion, this ranks as one of his most obssessively focused works and The Bad Seeds are at their atmospheric best.
Alot's been said about Cave's "Southern Gothic" phase and here it is in spades. I'd go so far as to say it's influenced a whole generation of artists from 16 Horsepower to greats like, Bob Dylan (who's professed a lasting admiration for it).
Next to "The Mercy Seat", "Tupelo" has to be one of Cave's great singles. This fevered meditation on the birth of Elvis would come off as ludicrous if not for the vivid imagry and the intense conviction of Cave's delivery. The "Fat Elvis" is all this generation seems to remember of the man who single handedly changed popular music. Cave goes for the throat in terms of mythologizing, putting some dignity back into the legend of his self-confessed hero. "In The Ghetto" does much of the same. It was certainly one of Elvis' sappier moments. Here, Cave claims it for his own. Say what you want, but he gives it his all, narrowly rescuing it from parody. Like, "Moon In The Gutter" it's a reprise from the previous, FROM HERE TO ETERNITY. Though both songs seem tacked on as filler, they not only enhance the overall mood of the album but "Ghetto" makes for a nice break from all the storm, rage and misery.
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By E. Winslow on Feb. 20 2002
Format: Audio CD
Don't not give this a try based on the other reviews, especially if you've discovered Nick lately. This was the first album I bought of his (woops, betraying my age!) and it definately stands up. I love his later stuff too, but to really understand the changing trajectory of his songwriting and style, this album, with its reinvented Delta blues, is crucial. "Tupelo" and "Say goodbye to the little girl tree" rank in my top 10 Nick songs ever, and "Knocking on Joe" is so chilling it's hard to listen to: Wonderful!
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By C. Bray on Oct. 17 2001
Format: Audio CD
This album is sort of boring.. it seems all of Nick's creativity went into "Tupelo" and he didn't know what to do with the rest of the album. There are maybe two other songs that are passable but then he waxes a little too experimental with his delta blues persona. I could live without this one in my collection, but I suppose since I already own it...
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Format: Audio CD
Although it's not as wild and frenetic as From Her To Eternity, The Firstborn Is Dead is a more focused effort featuring better overall playing from Cave & The Bad Seeds, and stronger songwriting. Drawing particularly on the deep well of American blues and folklore for this album, rather than Goth obsessions, Cave here has an album that is a bit different, lyrically and musically, from anything else in his catalog. Tupelo is incredible, one of his classic tracks, filled with all kinds of surreal imagery, and a commanding performance brings it across. Wanted Man which was written by Bob Dylan and recorded by Johnny Cash, is covered here, and to great effect. It only further signifies the album's theme. Slow, brooding songs like Knockin' On Joe, Blind Lemon Jefferson (the old blues theme again) and The Six Strings That Drew Blood serve to make this album totally excellent, and a masterpiece of dark imagery. When Cave sings on the Black Crow King "I am the King of nothing", you believe him. A decidedly good second effort.
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Format: Audio CD
Nick Cave is a man who has inspired extremes of loyalty. Heralded as a Messiah of Goth during his Birthday Party years in the early '80s, his career as singer-poet with Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds has followed a perverse and fascinating road.
Melding Captain Beefheart with bone-hard blues, the record suggested a new melancholy in Nick Cave's writing. First Born Is Dead is all about Nick Cave's obsession with Elvis Presley, as the opening rainstorm of Tupelo bears out. The accents of the American Deep South tangle with grim Biblical imagery of retribution, death and prophecy: Well Saturday gives what Sunday steals/A child is born on his brother's heels/Come Sunday morn the first-born is dead/In a shoebox tied with a ribbon of red.
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