The Good Son (album)

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The Good Son
Studio album by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
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 Chamber folk, Roots rock
Length 45:12
Label Mute
Producer The Bad Seeds
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds chronology
Tender Prey
The Good Son
Henry's Dream
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[1]
Drowned in Sound 9/10[2]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 4/5 stars[3]
Entertainment Weekly B[4]
Los Angeles Times 4/5 stars[5]
Paste 7.8/10[6]
Q 3/5 stars[7]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3.5/5 stars[8]

The Good Son is the sixth album by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, released in 1990 (see 1990 in music). It was preceded by the release of "The Ship Song" single. A different version of "The Weeping Song" was later also released as a single. After an album as dark and intense as Tender Prey, some fans were disappointed to hear a more relaxed-sounding 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, some fans consider this album as a classic that was unfairly judged at the time.

The 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.

Cave later said, "I guess The Good Son is some kind of reflection of the way I felt early on in Brazil. I was quite happy there. I was in love and the first year or two was good. The problem I found was... in order to survive you have to adopt their attitudes towards everything, which are kind of blinkered."[9]

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

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Cave unless otherwise stated.

  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

The songs[edit]

"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 Ship Song" (MUTE 108) (March 12, 1990)
    • b/w: "The Train Song"
  • "The Weeping Song" (MUTE 118) (September 17, 1990)


Bad Seeds[edit]

String Section[edit]

  • Arranged by Mick Harvey and Bill McGee
  • Violins - Alexandre Ramirez, Altamir Tea Bueno Salinas, Helena Akiku Imasoto, Lea Kalil Sadi
  • Violas - Akira Terazaki, Glauco Masahiru Imasoto
  • Cellos - Braulio Marques Lima, Cristina Manescu


  1. ^ Raggett, Ned. "The Good Son – Nick Cave / Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds". AllMusic. Retrieved 24 January 2011. 
  2. ^ Bliss, Abi (9 April 2010). "Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – The Good Son (remastered)". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 10 November 2015. 
  3. ^ Larkin, Colin (2007). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-857-12595-8. 
  4. ^ Sandow, Greg (4 May 1990). "The Good Son". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 26 February 2013. 
  5. ^ McKenna, Christine (3 June 1990). "Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, 'The Good Son,' Enigma/Mute.". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 10 November 2015. 
  6. ^ Vrabel, Jeff (1 June 2010). "Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: Tender Prey, The Good Son, Henry's Dream Reviews". Paste. Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  7. ^ "Nick Cave / Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Good Son CD". CD Universe. Retrieved 26 February 2013. 
  8. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. (2004). "Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds". The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 151–52. ISBN 0-743-20169-8. 
  9. ^ Dwyer, Michael (July 1998). "Album by Album with Nick Cave". Rolling Stone Australia. No. 550. Sydney, NSW: Tilmond Pty Ltd. p. 41.