Ralph Stanley Covers The Velvet Underground for Nick Cave’s “Lawless”

Nick Cave is one of those performers, like Tom Waits and Neil Young, that occupy a music landscape outside of genre.

I always thought Cave would make a create a great Americana roots album if he wanted to.

His love for the genre is evident. Cave covered Johnny Cash, one of his heroes. Cash’s “The Singer” (originally “The Folk Singer”) appeared on Cave an his band the Bad Seeds third album Kicking Against the Pricks album. Cave also cut Hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” a duet with Cash himself for Cash’s American IV: The Man Comes Around album (2002). Johnny Cash returned the favor by covered Cave’s “The Mercy Seat” on the album American III: Solitary Man.

Cave also penned the script for the western The Proposition, which was set in his native Australia. Cave also created the film’s soundtrack with violinist Warren Ellis. Cave is back at it again. He has written the screenplay for the upcoming Lawless, based on a novel by Matthew Bondurant about a family of bootleggers living in Virginia during the Depression. Cave and Ellis have again collaborated on the movies soundtrack.

the two christened themselves the Bootleggers and recorded punk-bluegrass versions of songs, including Link Wray’s “Fire and Brimstone,” Townes Van Zandt’s “Fire in the Blood,” Captain Beefheart’s “Sure ‘Nuff Yes I Do” and the Velvet Underground’s “White Light/White Heat.”

Because Cave wasn’t interested in singing the whole soundtrack they recruited vocalists to accompany them. Emmylou Harris and the Duke Spirit’s Liela Moss signed on without reservation. Stanley wasn’t such an easy sell.

According to RollingStone.com the conversation between Cave and Stanley just about as well as the one between DJ Pretty Lights for the RE:GENERATION film.

In the end Cave prevailed and Ralph Stanley’s cover of VU’s “White Light/White Heat” is pretty damn excellent. I can’t wait for the rest of the soundtrack.

What do you think?


One Reply to “Ralph Stanley Covers The Velvet Underground for Nick Cave’s “Lawless””

  1. this is a great cover, the song translates well to the ‘bootlegger’ atmosphere. lou reed should be proud. ralph stanley is the last of his kind.

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