Nick Cave’s Albums: Lawless Soundtrack (2012)

So here’s a very huge post just all about that! While doing this I’ve not really known what to file/tag/title this post under? So that’s what I’ve called it because that’s what it is and I guess? I’m starting to do blog every single NC album as a post now, lucky everyone out there! God knows how long that’s going to take me to that? Just re-watching that movie last night, they played the music on the Bad Seed Teevee listen a-long a month or two ago now. I’ve been stuffing about typing this post ever since then, taking a very longtime and not posting it up until, well now because as you can tell or you can see/read it now!

If you have no idea what this thing listen-along thing is, I’m talking about is? You are not much of a Nick Cave fan so Bad Seed Teevee is a youtube 24 hours 7 days a week Nick Cave music streaming channel they set-up earlier this year, playing video footage of The Bad Seeds and his many other projects. Coolest things really before this listen a-long because I’ve seen all the video clips, docos etc. they did have some never seen before footage of making the Ghosteen, Skelton Tree and Push The Sky Away albums also they did have fan-made video clips and fan cover songs weekends which both were very cool!

Then a month or two ago they played the 2012’s Lawless film soundtrack album, that’s the films imbd page if you need more details about it? The music from the soundtrack was played in full from start to finish while Nick Cave, Warren Ellis, film’s director John Hillcoat and on set photographer Polly Borland plus an American movie critic who’s name isn’t on the flyer below and I’ve forgotten his name? Joined in the comments down one side of the website flowed insanely. It is where fans are normally talking to each other, not that many really at any other time but thousands of fans joined in this, not surprisingly! I was more interested in what those four had to say but it was very hard keeping with all the comments for them so myself didn’t add to the flow of comments. Some of the stories told I’ve known about before were repeated but I did learn a couple of new facts or a little more about about the movie and soundtrack album. I guess, mainly this is a very late response or just me using this to note them down them, if anyone else interested? Well, here it is!

I don’t know why I haven’t done posts on each of his albums before so I guess, that gave me a little push to do this this kind-of thing. They have already done 1996’s Murder Ballads album since then and yeah, I’ve made a start on that post about that one too but who’s knows when I’ll get it finished and post that one? I don’t know if they’re going to do any more albums as listen a-long on Bad Seed Teevee too? We’ll see I guess? Oh yeah, should really have a link to Bad Seed Teevee! If you never seen it?

OK, I’m just going to embedded from youtube each song from the soundtrack which are mostly covers so included the original too just for the hell of it all! I don’t know if you’ve heard this soundtrack album by now or maybe not? First you should know, if you know nothing about it? Some tracks have a couple of versions of the same song by different singers and Nick Cave himself only sung one song on the whole soundtrack. So in my little/long blog post about it you are now going to get third version of these songs by the original songwriter and their band or whatever? If you don’t wanna keep pressing play on Youtube clips you could get out your copy, if you have one? Or here’s Spotify link, if you need it? I do have a copy of the movie on DVD, if you wanna lend it? But that might be a bit hard so it’s most likely on some streaming site/s which you’re going to have to find yourself but here’s the trailer:

So on with the opening track Fire And Brimstone sung by Mark Lanegan. Which was written by Link Wray from his 1971 self-titled album. In the movie Lawless itself ML Fire And Brimstone can heard over the opening credits:

Should say playing almost of the music is credited on the front album cover is to Nick Cave and Warren Ellis who by this time have had done a few scores/soundtrack as a duo together. But this time they formed yet other band just for this movie project called The Bootleggers, members are Bad Seeds’ Marty P. Casey on bass, George Vjestica on guitar plus the movie score guy David Sardy who’s one of the album’s co-producers. The next or second song is the only one sung by Nick Cave himself with a cover of John Lee Hooker’s Burnin’ Hell of 1959. Also including Hooker own re-recording with band Canned Heat in 1971 from album simply called Hooker ‘n Heat:

Third track is the first performed by Ralph Stanley, the old bluegrass bloke which more details about Ralph recording sessions for Lawless a little bit later. His a cappella cover of Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band 1967 Sure ‘Nuff ‘N Yes I Do from their Safe As Milk album.

Fourth track is the first of very short song that has a few diff versions on this soundtrack album called Fire In The Blood. It’s one of three new songs written from this movie by Cave and Ellis, here’s one of a couple that’s sung by the great country & western singer Emmylou Harris:

Fifth track in is the Mark Lanegan sung White Light/White Heat original by The Velvet Underground in 1968, a little more about it further down or that’s about the Ralph cover.

Next up or track number six is entitled Cosmonaut, it’s Emmylou Harris sung on the second of the three written by Cave & Ellis and this is the last one with lyrics. Gotta add I think, is my most favorite track on it! Do you have a fave track?

Track seven includes both Ralph Stanley and Emmylou Harris on vocals which is kind-of really two song joined together, I don’t know why? I was hoping someone would say something about this on the listen a-long on YouTube but didn’t. Emmylou sung the two different versions of Fire in the Blood before and after Ralph version here. Then Emmylou does Snake Song cover, originally by Towns Van Zandt of 1978. Let’s include other cover, only a couple of years before Lawless, Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan on their Hawk album of 2010 did a cover of this very same song:

Eighth song is Grandaddy’s So You’ll Aim Towards The Sky cover sung by Harris again. Songwriter Jason Lytle has just re-recorded the whole album which was released only last month simply entitled The Sopthware Slump…..On A Wooden Piano because that’s what it is him solo on piano playing all the songs from The Sopthware Slump of 2000 which just got to included both band and solo versions:

Track nine is the third version of Fire In The Blood sung again by Harris, it’s only very little different if you really compare the two done by her:

Tenth track is getting to Stanley’s cover of Fire And Brimstone which if you remember Lanegan opened the soundtrack with a more pumping band version of this same song. Before Lawless soundtrack the song was covered by The Neville Brothers in 1989 on their Yellow Moon album which was the most well known cover before. So now I’ve decided to give a fourth version of these same songs because why the hell not? I can’t think of a good reason not tooo, can be or could be a bit of a history of each song or something?

Track number eleven is Mark Lanegen’s cover with the Bootleggers band of Beefhearts Sure ‘Nuff ‘N Yes I Do which off course is the second cover of the same done previously by RS. The earlier cover I’ve picked this time is by the Aussie band The Cruel Sea with shorted song title Sure ‘Nuff but it’s the very same song from their album This Is Not The Way Home of 1991:

The main story I’ve heard before from making the Lawless soundtrack is how Ralph Stanley cover version of The Velvet Underground’s White Light/White Heat made songwriter Lou Reed so pleased and happy, he cried when one of the soundtrack co-producers Hal Willner played it to him back in New York. All three of those guys Ralph, Lou and Hal are no longer with us, you know? You might have known? Stanley was supposed to sing on the songs Mark Lanegan ended up singing on but didn’t know too much details on why? Ralph didn’t seem to like the music as recorded by the band The Bootleggers, so Stanley recorded his own version of those songs himself. A little more explained on the listen a-long RS didn’t seem to like the look of Woz and his huge beard too, everyone on the listen a-long seem to think that was pretty funny and few beard jokes were told then. So here’s track twelve plus let’s call David Bowie cover on BBC in 1972 the best cover of this song before RS:

Almost at the end with number thirteenth track with Cave & Ellis duo End Crawl instrumental so only the third new song by the pair on this whole album soundtrack. If you watch/listen to the end credits in full there’s four tracks played which are this one, Ralph’s White Light/White Heat, Willie’s Midnight Run and seems to be a second Cave & Ellis/The Bootleggers song played but on it’s not on the soundtrack album!

As listed as a bonus track on my copy as the closing song is Willie Nelson’s Midnight Run which is credited to the Willie Nelson Band but it’s been Warren Ellis re-worked adding Violin, Mandolin, Bass and Drums himself. Learning on the listen a-long everyone that is Hillcoat, Cave & Ellis hated what Nelson handed in and even didn’t want it included in movie or soundtrack but here’s were Harvey Weinstein is talked about! I was wondering if they would talk about him when their said they were doing this thing on Youtube? Everyone knowns who he is now and want he’s done but it’s worth to note Cave & Ellis has done some other scores for Weinstein Company after this one, leading up pretty close to his arrest. It was the last movie John Hillcoat did for that production company, he’s made only one America movie since this. On the listen a-long John made it pretty clear he hated that man, Cave did say something like he has “problems” but does have “good taste in music” or something like that? Anyway all three guys didn’t want to use this Nelson’s song but someone say Harvey “won” and can be heard as one of songs in the movies closing credits too. So it seems Ellis try to re-work it the best he could but himself, Nick and John still seem to not like it very much at all. I’ll say now after learning all this, I don’t know why all the hate? Off course, it’s not greatest song ever record but it’s OK plus it’s from a big Hollywood film so I guess they need a big huge C&W name on the soundtrack or something? Anyway it seems to me Woz did a pretty great job on this song but then again, I’ve never knew what it sounded like before all that work was done:

I would say it’s pretty good soundtrack, maybe not the greatest thing ever. If I’m trying not being a totally NC obsessed or biased fan or something? I’m not giving it a score of of five or ten or something, I never liked doing that dumb idea. I do really love the whole pile of covers just for the fact because Cave hasn’t done very many around the 2000’s/2010’s so made up for that in one go, even if he’s not singing them. I do love cover songs but some don’t so I guess, might not find it that entertaining to them? The kind-of three new Cave & Ellis songs are pretty wicked great. It’s great thing Ralph did his own takes on those songs but then it was a killer idea to get Mark to the sing The Bootleggers band versions too!

Bonus extra tracks that were in the film but NOT on the soundtrack album, that I can find on YouTube are:

Detroit by Western Massachusetts Sacred Harp Convention was used for the religion’s nutcases.

Cuckoo Bird by Clarence Ashley is an old traditional song and can found on Smithsonian Folkways comp or the Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music.

It was Nick last time doing the screenwriter job, on the Conversation Aussie 2019 tour someone asked about that here at the Perth gig “it’s a shit job” was his words about that, if I remember right? The movie was based on a book called original The Wettest County in the World by Matt Bondurant, here’s it’s goodreads page link. It’s based on a true story written by the grandson of actually real life people as you can see the actors playing them, the movie ends pretty much in a big shoot-out but the book was different, going into more details about their real lives, if I remember it right? It was ages ago when I read it. Both the book and the movie are OK, in different ways and far from the greatest movie ever made or the best book ever written. I will say, the film got a killer cast of Guy Pearce, Tom Hardy, Jessica Chastain, Gary Oldman, Noah Taylor, Mia Wasikowska, Shia LaBeouf, Jason Clarke, Dane DeHaan etc. Is a pretty cool movie but I’ve seen it by now more than a few times over and maybe, too many times? Maybe, it’s more like a first time viewing movie is the best than it gets better on repeat viewing kind-of movie. Anyway than means I still enjoy the soundtrack album by itself much more, I guess?

While on the listen a-long the Lawless soundtrack album played and everyone typed comments some photographs taken by Polly Borland on the movie set were shown on loop while the music played but here’s only a couple fave of mine, off course it’s NC:

NC made his cameo as a dead man full of bullet holes!
NC still full of holes with actor Shia LaBeouf (left).
The Bad Seed Teevee Lawless flyer!

If you’ve watched that thing on YouTube/Bad Seed Teevee? Or listen to songs here? Or the soundtrack some other time? Or watched the film sometime? Or even read the book? Please feel free to add anything below! Like to know what’s your fave track on it?

Cheers! 🙂



  1. What an epic post William! I listened to quite a few of the songs, and I think my favorites are the version of “White Light/White Heat” by The Bootleggers ft Mark Lanegan – love that stomping beat, fiddle and banjo – and “Cosmonaut” ft. Emmylou Harris.

    Liked by 1 person

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