Kicking Against the Pricks

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Kicking Against the Pricks
Studio album by
Released18 August 1986
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds chronology
The Firstborn Is Dead
Kicking Against the Pricks
Your Funeral... My Trial
Singles from Kicking Against the Pricks
  1. "The Singer"
    Released: 16 June 1986
  2. "Running Scared" / "Black Betty"
Professional ratings
Review scores
Record Collector[4]
Record Mirror4+12/5[5]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[6]
Spin Alternative Record Guide8/10[8]

Kicking Against the Pricks is the third album released by the rock music group Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. First released in 1986, the album is a collection of Cave's interpretations of songs by other artists. The title is a reference to a biblical quote from the King James version of the Bible, Acts 26, verse 14.

The album marked the Bad Seeds debut of drummer Thomas Wydler, expanding the Bad Seeds line-up to Cave (vocals and keyboards), Wydler, bassist Barry Adamson, and guitarists Mick Harvey and Blixa Bargeld.

Cave would later downplay the importance of the record, but said it helped the band develop musically:

It allowed us to discover different elements, to actually make and perform a variety of different sorts of music successfully. I think that helped subsequent records tremendously.[10]

Remarking on the song selection, Cave said:

They were all done for different reasons. Basically a list of songs were made and we tried to play them. We tried songs by the Loved Ones and the Saints and all sorts of people that never got on the record. Some songs were tributes, like the Tom Jones song; other songs we didn't think the song was ever done particularly well in the first place. Some songs had just kind of haunted my childhood, like "The Carnival Is Over", which I always loved.[11]

The strings were arranged by Harvey and played by the Berliner Kaffeehausmusik Ensemble. "The Hammer Song" is not to be confused with the song of the same name from the 1990 Bad Seeds album The Good Son.

The album was remastered and reissued on 27 April 2009 as a collector's edition CD/DVD set. The CD features the original 12-song vinyl LP's track listing, while "Black Betty" and "Running Scared" are featured as bonus audio tracks on the accompanying DVD.

Recordings of seven of these songs, performed by the original artists, were later issued on the Original Seeds compilation CDs.

Track listing[edit]

Vinyl version[edit]

  1. "Muddy Water" – 5:15 (Phil Rosenthal)
  2. "I'm Gonna Kill That Woman" – 3:44 (John Lee Hooker)
  3. "Sleeping Annaleah" – 3:18 (Mickey Newbury, Dan Folger)
  4. "Long Black Veil" – 3:46 (Danny Dill, Marijohn Wilkin)
  5. "Hey Joe" – 3:56 (Billy Roberts)
  6. "The Singer" (a.k.a. "The Folksinger") – 3:09 (Johnny Cash, Charlie Daniels)
  7. "All Tomorrow's Parties" – 5:52 (Lou Reed)
  8. "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" – 3:39 (Jimmy Webb)
  9. "The Hammer Song" – 3:50 (Alex Harvey)
  10. "Something's Gotten Hold of My Heart" – 3:44 (Roger Greenaway, Roger Cook)
  11. "Jesus Met the Woman at the Well" – 2:00 (traditional, arranged by the Alabama Singers)
  12. "The Carnival Is Over" – 3:16 (Tom Springfield)

CD version[edit]

  1. "Muddy Water"
  2. "I'm Gonna Kill That Woman"
  3. "Sleeping Annaleah"
  4. "Long Black Veil"
  5. "Hey Joe"
  6. "The Singer" (a.k.a. "The Folksinger")
  7. "Black Betty" (Leadbelly)
  8. "Running Scared" (Roy Orbison, Joe Melson)
  9. "All Tomorrow's 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"

Track listing errors[edit]

Some of the songs were re-titled (possibly through error), and one was miscredited, as follows:
1. "Muddy Water" by Phil Rosenthal. On the Cave LP the song is credited to John Bundrick, who wrote a song of the same title, recorded by the band Free. Previously recorded by the Seldom Scene, and Johnny Cash.
3. "Sleeping Annaleah" is the song "Weeping Annaleah", previously recorded by Tom Jones.
6. "The Singer" is the song "The Folk Singer", previously recorded by Tommy Roe, Johnny Cash, Glen Campbell, and Burl Ives.
7. "Black Betty" is actually three songs recorded by Leadbelly as a medley: "Looky Looky Yonder/Black Betty/Yellow Women's Doorbells".
12. "The Carnival Is Over" was not co-written by Frank Farian; this credit appears as a consequence of his creating an extra verse for Boney M.'s cover of the song.
13. "Jesus Met the Woman at the Well" is credited as "traditional, arranged the Alabama Singers". While this song was recorded by the Alabama Singers, it follows the arrangement of an earlier recording by the Pilgrim Travelers, which is credited as "traditional, arranged J. W. Alexander".

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1986) Peak
UK Albums Chart[13] 89
UK Independent Albums Chart[14] 1


  1. ^ Raggett, Ned. "Kicking Against the Pricks – Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds / Nick Cave". AllMusic. Retrieved 24 January 2011.
  2. ^ Berman, Stuart (6 May 2009). "Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds: From Her to Eternity / The First Born Is Dead / Kicking Against the Pricks / Your Funeral... My Trial". Pitchfork. Retrieved 24 January 2011.
  3. ^ Fyfe, Andy (May 2009). "Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: From Her to Eternity / The Firstborn Is Dead / Kicking Against the Pricks / Your Funeral... My Trial". Q. No. 274.
  4. ^ Staunton, Terry (May 2009). "Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: From Her to Eternity / The Firstborn Is Dead / Kicking Against the Pricks / Your Funeral... My Trial". Record Collector. No. 362. p. 79.
  5. ^ Strickland, Andy (23 August 1986). "Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: Kicking the Pricks". Record Mirror. p. 26.
  6. ^ Sisario, Ben (2004). "Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 151–152. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  7. ^ Pouncey, Edwin (16 August 1986). "Kick Out the Gems". Sounds. p. 17.
  8. ^ Reynolds, Simon (1995). "Birthday Party". In Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig (eds.). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. pp. 43–44. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.
  9. ^ Cavanagh, David (26 March 2009). "Album reissues: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds". Uncut. Archived from the original on 5 December 2010. Retrieved 11 March 2017.
  10. ^ Dwyer, Michael (July 1998). "Album by Album with Nick Cave". Rolling Stone Australia. No. 550. Sydney, NSW: Tilmond Pty Ltd. p. 41.
  11. ^ Tracee Hutchison (1992). Your Name's On The Door. Sydney: ABC Enterprises. p. 115. ISBN 0-7333-0115-0.
  12. ^ "Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Kicking Against The Pricks (Vinyl, LP, Album)". Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  13. ^ "Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds | Artist". Official Charts Company. British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 30 September 2014.
  14. ^ Lazell, Barry. "Indie Hits: "C"". Cherry Red. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 30 September 2014.