Kicking Against The Pricks
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|1. Muddy Water|
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|3. Sleeping Annaleah|
|4. Long Black Veil|
|5. Hey Joe|
|6. The Singer|
|7. Black Betty|
|8. Running Scared|
|9. All Tomorrows Parties|
|10. By The Time I Get To Phoenix|
|11. The Hammer Song|
|12. Something's Gotten Hold Of My Heart|
|13. Jesus Met The Woman At The Well|
|14. The Carnival Is Over|
Deluxe digitally remastered and expanded two disc (CD/DVD) edition of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds' 1986 album including a bonus DVD. Contains the remastered stereo album, a new 5.1 surround mix, a specially commissioned short film plus b-sides from the singles and exclusive sleeve notes. Kicking Against The Pricks was an all-covers album, recorded long before releasing a 'covers album' became the hip thing to do. Available in crystal clear digitally remastered sound - so you can listen to them how Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds intended. Mute. 2009
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Looked at this way, Kicking Against the Pricks is a big middle finger to fans & especially critics alike. But it was also a genuine ode to the music Cave & The Bad Seeds sincerely loved, which is precisely how they pull this stunt off.
In terms of ballads like "By The Time I Get To Phoenix" & the pure Pop embrace of "Something's Got A Hold Of My Heart", a startling side to Cave is revealed for the 1st time: Nick The Crooner. He genuinely gives his all to "Sleeping Annaleah", while the Bad Seeds provide suitably demented backing.
More than any other recording artist, Johnny Cash has the honor of being paid tribute to the most. This album boasts not 1 but 3 songs cut by the Man In Black. But you have to remember that Cash's resurgence of popularity was more a few years away. At the time, he was far from hip.
The brooding opener, "Muddy Water" is from Cash's 1979 Silver album, an obscure choice that fortunately did not escape Cave's notice. The same goes for Cave's menacing interpretation of the Cash rarity, "The Folksinger". As for "Long Black Veil", while the version here can't hope to compete with The Man In Black's, in terms of mood & atmosphere, it's certainly commendable. If some journalist wanted to coin a genre for these 3 I'd suggest, "Gothic Country".
The Bad Seeds' previous, First Born Is Dead was steeped in John Lee Hooker's influence & Cave launches into "I'm Gonna Kill That Woman" with merciless abandon. Amid the plethora of Hooker covers out there, I'll go so far as to say this is up there along with Them's "Baby Please Don't Go" as being definitive.
Another standout is The Hammer Song which I feel surpasses Alex Harvey's original.
As for the full on Gospel of "Woman At The Well", this was something that just was not done at the time. Then the curtains draw to a close with a gorgeous, haunting rendition of The Seekers' classic, "The Carnival Is Over".
As with all the re-issues in this series the sound is amazing. You can hear every pin drop. In terms of the bonus tracks, Cave's ferocious near a cappella take on Leadbelly's "Black Betty" is essential.
To say this is the Bad Seeds at their least ground breaking would be missing the point. All that's absent is any hint of cynicism or mockery. In many ways this is Cave's most innocent & nostalgic offering since he 1st "released the bats". He would later cut many a fine love song, but at this point in his career anything resembling a traditional ballad was a rare commodity.
Despite all the musical inanities that prevailed in the 80's, what's so remarkable is how this & all of Cave's records hold up so well some 23 years later. They simply don't sound dated. And Kicking is if anything, as much out of step as it is out of time. This is Ham Radio Oldies AM 101...Bad Seed Style.
As it turns out, there is little extra offered. The songs are the same as on the one I already own but on the remastered version, two of them are subtracted from the CD and offered on the DVD as "bonus tracks". The main benefit to getting this one is the variety of formats in which it can be listened which is useful only if you have a decent stereo system. I do and the sound is a vast improvement over the original. Other extras are one video and the ongoing project of having band members and fans natter on about Nick and his band at the point in his career the featured recording was made. That is interesting exactly once.
As for the body of work, Kicking Against the Pricks is an album which set Cave apart from his contemporaries and gave the musical world notice that his talent is far deeper than most suspected. This is an eclectic album of covers, and Nick covers his picks with panache. He covers the work of a wide array of artists, some of whom were the antithesis of cool. That surely surprised his fans and perhaps caused some of them to view those made newly cool in a new way. Johnny Cash, Gene Pitney, and Jimmy Webb all gained new admirers as a result of Cave's record. Here's what I like best: Muddy Water, Sleeping Annaleah, By The Time I Get to Phoenix, Something's Gotten Hold of My Heart, The Carnival is Over, and what is now a bonus cut, Running Scared.
This CD/DVD package is presented in a handsome tri-fold and comes with a booklet containing pictures, notes on the remaster, pertinent album information, but unfortunately no lyrics as none of the songs are Cave's. I recommend this highly only to those who are able to take full advantage of all the listening options the remaster offers. You won't be disappointed.