Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, “The Carny” live 1997

Excellent stuff – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds performing the Carny, a little more upbeat, more accordian, more gypsy, more circus!

Filmed for Live and Loud on MTV on 18 May 1997 after Nick Cave had been nominated for the best 1996 male artist and refused the honor (see his letter to MTV on http://www.nick-cave.com). The songs performed were: Into My Arms, Brompton Oratory, West Country Girl, Far From Me, and The Carny. Sorry for the mess up in the middle of the clip, it’s how it was on my copy.

Warren Ellis’ appearance on the accordion makes version even more mad and circus-like. The Carny is one of my all time favorite pieces of music ever, full of savage beauty and an intensity that only Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds can bring …

  • And no-one saw the carny go
  • And the weeks flew by
  • Until they moved on the show
  • Leaving his caravan behind
  • It was parked out on the south east ridge
  • And as the company crossed the bridge
  • With the first rain filling the bone-dry river bed
  • It shone, just so, upon the edge
  • Dog-boy, atlas, half-man, the geeks, the hired hands
  • There was not one among them that did not cast an eye behind
  • In the hope that the carny would return to his own kind
  • And the carny had a horse, all skin and bone
  • A bow-backed nag, that he named Sorrow.
  • How it is buried in a shallow grave
  • In the then parched meadow
  • And the dwarves were given the task of digging the ditch
  • And laying the nag’s carcass in the ground
  • And boss Bellini, waving his smoking pistol around
  • saying “The nag is dead meat”
  • “We can’t afford to carry dead weight”
  • The whole company standing about
  • Not making a sound
  • And turning to dwarves perched on the enclosure gate
  • The boss says “Bury this lump of crow bait”
  • And the rain the rain came
  • Everybody running for their wagons
  • Tying all the canvas flaps down
  • The mangy cats growling in their cages
  • The bird-girl flapping and squawking around
  • The whole valley reeking of wet beast
  • Wet beast and rotten hay
  • Freak and brute creation
  • Packed up and on their way
  • The three dwarves peering from their wagon’s hind
  • Moses says to Noah “We shoulda dug a deeper one”
  • Their grizzled faces like dying moons
  • Still dirty from the digging done
  • And as the company passed from the valley
  • Into a higher ground
  • The rain beat on the ridge and on the meadow
  • And on the mound
  • Until nothing was left, nothing at all
  • Except the body of sorrow
  • That rose in time
  • To float upon the surface of the eaten soil
  • And a murder of crows did circle round
  • First one, then the others flapping blackly down
  • And the carny’s van still sat upon the edge
  • Tilting slowly as the firm ground turned to sludge
  • And the rain it hammered down
  • And no-one saw the carny go
  • I say it’s funny how things go

via Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – The Carny – YouTube.

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