Title: In The Ghetto
Format: 7" Single
Catalogue Number: 7MUTE032
Year of Release: 1984
A In The Ghetto (4:03)
B The Moon Is In The Gutter (2:34)
Début release from the band that became Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, the 'featuring' being dropped pretty quickly. Picked up very recently on Ebay for a pretty incredible 99p.
In The Ghetto you'll know from the more famous Elvis Presley version, and was released to promote the From Her to Eternity album, which it strangely didn't feature on. It was included on the future CD reissues, as was the B-side, but these songs only appear on vinyl on this record and an American Tupelo 12" on Homestead Records from 1985. In The Ghetto then resurfaces on a Mute compilation called Nervous Systems in 1992, but that's it.
So that's why I was surprised it was only 99p.
This is a much sparser version than Elvis's, which as I recall had full strings and choir accompaniment. This is just the band (at this point, Mick Harvey on drums, Blixa Bargeld on guitar, Hugo Race on guitar and Barry Adamson on bass - someone plays keyboards here, either Barry or Mick I guess) and Nick's voice, sounding like the angry young man of the lyrics.
And whilst the Elvis version is emotionally affecting in a tear-jerking sentimental way, this version is as affecting for different reasons. Nick seems angry at the inevitable tragedy, and nothing will be done because that's the way people are.
The B-side is a short, impressionistic number, mostly Nick's vocals and some piano, with occasional feedback on guitar and some drumming. There's an odd, short, instrumental mid-section where the pace picks up, but it winds down again quickly for the last verse. The lyrics seems randomly assembled, but are trying to tell a story, and kind of failing, but failing well.