February 25, 2007

Come sail your ships around me

I’ve been pulling some songs together for a possible Glastonbury retrospective and smiled when I found a live version of Nick Cave‘s “Ship Song.” I used to have a cover of this by Pearl Jam on a mix tape that I made in 1995 of all the scorching shows from that tour.

To my unbounded joy, I was able to find it also on mp3, from their summer show at Red Rocks — I love impromptu covers that have that innocence to them, and this . . . well, this is just an enchanting few minutes.

The song is pretty off-the-cuff (Eddie acknowledges at the end, “Well, we need to work that one out one out a little bit”), but it was the only time they ever played it live, and I bask in the wavering simplicity of this moment. Combine it with the wistful, almost mythical lyrics and it is a song I’ve gotta listen to on repeat.

By Nick Cave
Come sail your ships around me
and burn your bridges down
We make a little history, baby
Every time you come around

Come loose your dogs around me
And let your hair hang down
You’re a mystery to me
Every time you come around

We talked about it all night long
Define our moral ground
But when I crawl into your arms
Everything comes tumbling down . . .

Ship Song (Nick Cave cover) – Pearl Jam
Live @ Red Rocks, Colorado, 6/20/95

The Ship Song (live) – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Glastonbury 6/28/1998

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  • I’ve had that cover on a bootleg for ages now and what you wrote about it is exactly how I feel! Part of me wants them to actually work on it and bring the whole song, the other part of me wants to preserve the innocence of that one time thing.

    Thanks for posting it.

    Stefan — February 25, 2007 @ 11:16 pm

  • Thanks for this post. I have always enjoyed the B-side Concrete Blonde version. Nick and Johnette Napolitano are an odd vocal pair, but the contrast makes it work. If you like this song, you should hear that version.

    Anonymous — February 26, 2007 @ 4:37 am

  • I was at that show…or I was at least there the day before or after (As I recall they played two nights in a row at Red Rocks). If memory serves, that was also my first time being drunk. The big sis hooked it up with 7-Up and Bacardi Limon.

    JJ — February 26, 2007 @ 11:43 am

  • JJ, that is awesome. Give it up for big sibs. My sister did the honors for me too with about 9 shots of Malibu Rum at once. Geez. I kept saying, “I don’t think I’m drunk yet!” And then it all hit me at once, and the Billy Joel singalong commenced.

    And this song was from the second night of a 2 night stand at Red Rocks, I believe. I haven’t been to Red Rocks yet, but Pearl Jam would be pretty much my dream concert to see there.

    heather — February 26, 2007 @ 12:02 pm

  • How long have you been here that you’ve never been to Red Rocks? It’s like mecca for concert goers.

    JJ — February 27, 2007 @ 9:22 am

  • Only a year and a half, and there’s been no one that I was aware of that I wanted to shell out for. I was hoping PJ would play there in July, but they chose Pepsi Center. Booooo.

    heather — February 27, 2007 @ 9:59 am

  • Thanks for this!
    came across the song via Hype Machine and have it somewhere on a bootleg (among hundred of DAT, CDs and now MP3s). Actually going to London this summer for vacation with the wife,oh and to catch Pearl Jam.

    David T. — February 27, 2007 @ 2:26 pm

  • That’s brilliant, thank you! Love it…

    You heard Grinderman yet? nick Cave’s new project with 3 of the Bad Seeds, raw, dirty, superb!

    Joe — March 1, 2007 @ 5:46 am

  • I’m SOOO glad I found this thread! I have a cover of that as well, with Pearl Jam, Nick Cave and Johnette Napolitano, but not sure where it was recorded… Was it from the Red Rocks show? Anyway, here it is and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! Cheers to you! Pearl Jam, Nick Cave & Johnette Napolitano – The Ship Song.mp3

    Bald Eric — March 24, 2007 @ 10:59 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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