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Headless Body in Topless Bar

Die Haut was a prolific and accomplished instrumental group from Berlin that featured Bad Seeds drummer Thomas Wydler. They began collaborating with singers when Nick Cave appeared on four songs from their 1983 LP Burning The Ice. On Headless Body in a Topless Bar Cave sings on the stellar cover of Mickey Newberry’s “I Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)” (bizarrely popularized in high psychedelic fashion in 1968 by The First Edition, a band featuring Kenny Rogers and other ex-members of The New Christie’s Minstrels). Mick Harvey and Anita Lane also take stabs at a couple of tunes. This album is significant for Kid Congo Powers because he steps up to the mic for the first time since The Fur Bible for “You Seen Angel Jesus?” and “My Gift To You.” Overall, for a the band known more for Teutonic heavy brawn and precision, they exhibit a surprising amount of versatility and soul in working with vocalists.

Head On
XXX, 1992

Head On celebrates Die Haut’s tenth anniversary with a bang. Whereas their previous albums were at least half instrumental, the primary distinction of Head On is that it features a guest vocalist on each track - and not just any guest vocalists - Kim Gordon, Alan Vega, Christina Martinez, Debbie Harry, Jeffrey Lee Pierce, Blixa Bargeld, Lydia Lunch, Anita Lane, and, of course, Kid Congo Powers. Here you will find Kid on a couple of duets – “Excited” with Anita Lane and “Parts Unknown” with Lydia Lunch – transforming him overnight into the Kenny Rogers of the underground. Kid has included a live bootleg version of the “Parts Unknown” duet from a gig in Kiev on his Solo Cholo compilation.

XXX. 1993

The appropriately titled Sweat was recorded live in Berlin in 1992 to celebrate Die Haut’s tenth anniversary and support their new album Head On. In addition to returning to a format that includes their blistering instrumentals, they again have an all-star cast of vocalists sans Kenny Rogers. This time Nick Cave returns to fold - joining Einsturzende Neubauten’s Alex Hacke, Lydia Lunch, Blixa Bargeld, and Kid. Cave tackles another sixties chestnut, The Loved Ones’ “Sad Dark Eyes” – plus a couple of numbers from his 1983 collaboration with Die Haut, Burning The Ice. Blixa covers Peggy Lee’s “Johnny Guitar.” Here Kid sings more songs than on any record up to this point: “In The Heat Of The Night” from his 1989 solo EP with the same title, “(You Seen) Angel Jesus?” from 1988’s Headless Body in Topless Bar, “Golden Gate,” and his duet with Lydia Lunch from Head On, “Parts Unknown.” They also filmed a seperate show for a live video with the same cast - also entitled Sweat.


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