With Nick Cave’s rasping vocals erupting out over a heavy, taut melody its no wonder this song packs more tension than a box of coiled springs! For its jerky, close atmosphere I keep thinking of Toydrum’s God Song when I hear this and love its relentless jumpiness!
Tupelo was the second single from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ second album The Firstborn is Dead, released in 1985. Ranked number 5 among the “Tracks of the Year” by the NME, the song was written by Barry Adamson, Nick Cave and Mick Harvey in mid-late 1984. Using biblical imagery, the track describes the birth of Elvis Presley during a heavy storm in Tupelo, Mississippi and is loosely based on the John Lee Hooker song of the same title, which also focuses on a flood in the same town. The “looky looky yonder” motif that is featured in the song is derived from a song of the same name recorded by Lead Belly, (also usually found as part of a medley which Cave himself covered under the title Black Betty on Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ third album, Kicking Against the Pricks. ) …its another Cave corker! Listen above.