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Today: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds released – The Good Son – in 1990

nick cave the good son

“The Good Son” is a haunting collection of vintage Nick Cave songs that tell of loss, sorrow, death and despair. Those subjects may be standard Cave fare, but the amazing string arrangements featured on almost every tune add an epic sweep to the album, imbuing it with a grandeur found in the work of Jacques Brel and his protoge, Scott Walker. ..
~amazon.com reviewer

…the Seeds followed up Tender Prey with the equally brilliant but generally calmer Good Son.
~Ned Raggett (allmusic.com)

Come sail your ships around me
And burn your bridges down
We make a little history, baby
Every time you come around
~Nick Cave (The Ship Song)

The Ship Song (original)


Released April 17, 1990
Recorded by Victor Van Vugt at Sao Paulo, October 1989, mixed by Flood,Gareth Jones at Berlin, November-December, 1989
Genre Post-punk, alternative rock
Length 45:12
Label Mute Records
Producer The Bad Seeds

The Good Son is the sixth album by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, released in 1990. It was preceded by the release of “The Ship Song/The Train Song” single. “The Weeping Song/Cock’s ‘n’ Asses” was later also released as a single. After an album as dark and intense as Tender Prey, some fans were disappointed to hear a relaxed and loving Nick Cave on this record. The change of mood was due in great deal to Nick Cave falling in love with Brazilian journalist Viviane Carneiro, and an apparently salutary spell in rehab which purged the despair and squalor of the previous two albums. However, today, most fans consider this album as a classic that was unfairly judged at the time. Indeed, “The Weeping Song” and “The Ship Song” are now Bad Seeds standards, and the relatively obscure closing track “Lucy” was resurrected in 1993 as a B-side of “What a Wonderful World”, a collaboration of the Bad Seeds and the Pogues’ Shane MacGowan.

The album was remastered and reissued on March 29, 2010 as a collector’s edition CD/DVD set.

nick cave the good son back


Father, why are all the women weeping?
They are weeping for their men
Then why are all the men there weeping?
They are weeping back at them
~Nick Cave (The Weeping Song)

The Weeping Song:

Track listing:

  1. “Foi Na Cruz” – 5:39 (Singers – Clovis Trindade, Rubinho)
  2. “The Good Son” – 6:01
  3. “Sorrow’s Child” – 4:36
  4. “The Weeping Song” – 4:21 (“Father” Vocal by Blixa Bargeld)
  5. “The Ship Song” – 5:14
  6. “The Hammer Song” – 4:16 (Guitars by Mick Harvey)
  7. “Lament” – 4:51
  8. “The Witness Song” – 5:57
  9. “Lucy” – 4:17 (words: Cave. Music: Cave, Bargeld, Roland Wolf) Piano on reprise section by Roland Wolf

 Comments on the Songs:

  • Foi Na Cruz” is based partly upon the traditional Brazilian Protestant hymn of the same title. The title translates roughly as “It Happened on the cross”.
  • The Good Son” – the opening is based loosely upon the African-American traditional song “Another Man Done Gone”. A recording of this traditional song, by Odetta, later appeared on Original Seeds Vol. 1. The lyrics appear, at least in part, to have been influenced by the Cormac McCarthy novel Child of God, with references to a “malign star” and laying down “queer plans” appearing in both, as well as common themes of dislocation and rejection.
  • The single mix of “The Weeping Song” is a different mix than the one found on the album.
  • The Witness Song” is based loosely upon the traditional American gospel song “Who Will be a Witness?”.
  • Four of the songs on the album were left with their working titles (“The Ship Song”, “The Weeping Song”, “The Hammer Song”, “The Witness Song”).
  • The instrumental b-side “Cocks ‘n’ Asses” was retitled “The B-side Song” for the USA release.

The Good Son:


  • Nick Cave – Vocals, Piano, Hammond, Harmonica
  • Mick Harvey – Bass, Acoustic Guitar, Vibraphone, Percussion, Backing Vocals
  • Blixa Bargeld – Guitar, Backing Vocals
  • Kid Congo Powers – Guitar
  • Thomas Wydler – Drums, Percussion

nick cave the good son 2


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