Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds released a cover album in 1986, quite early into their career. The album had the effect of broadening their range, in terms of the type of material found here, but also indicating their influences.
Many of the tracks here fit very neatly into the “Cave moody ballad” box. Tracks such as Muddy Water and the Johnny Cash song The Singer are full of smouldering attitude. Others, such as Long Black Veil and the gospel Jesus Met The Woman At The Well have an almost jaunty feel to them.
Elsewhere, Sleeping Annaleah is like a fairground in a nightmare, Hey Joe features a ridiculously doomy vocal from Cave and creepy arrangement, while The Velvet Underground’s All Tomorrow’s Parties is probably the liveliest thing here, driven by a pounding rhythm section.
Nick Cave also tries his hand at crooning, with mixed results. By The Time I Get To Phoenix fares pretty well here, as a fairly straight version. On the other hand they really camp it up for Something’s Gotten Hold Of My Heart, which proves to be a little beyond Cave’s range. However, his misshapen, almost cretinous vocal works really well on this version, making it arguably the best track on an album which, though it doesn’t work at times, at other times fascinates.