Saturday, 14 February 2015

The Genius of... Tim Smith #7

Nurses Whispering Verses by Cardiacs

This one dates right back to the early days in Cardiacs history. It first appeared on the band's second self-recorded, self-released low-budget cassette album 'Toy World' in 1981. A similar, but better quality version was then included on the next album 'The Seaside' in 1984. Both these versions are very rare; 'Toy World' has never been re-released, and the CD reissue of 'The Seaside' only comprised nine of the original 13 tracks as the master tapes containing the other four songs was damaged and could not be used. Nurses Whispering Verses was one of the casualties.

Therefore the song was only available on bootlegs for many years as even the band's official live albums never included a rendition. Then, during recording for Cardiacs' greatest work 'Sing For God', it was resurrected. Partly re-written with new lyrical contributions from drummer Bob Leith, Nurses Whispering Verses became a monster, a towering shrine to the majesty of the band's past and an audacious vision of the grandeur and sumptuous delights still to come. 'Sing To God' was a magnificent record, the sort of album Nurses Whispering Verses was born to grace.

The central guitar riff will stick in your head, the lyrics will bamboozle you (no surprise there then) and the whole thing should make you smile like a goon if you have any kind of feeling. It's another of Tim's masterpieces that has more than stood the test of time - 34 years, no less, since the original broke loose. Testament indeed.

Here's the original version from 'Toy World...

And here's the version from 'The Seaside.


  1. Thank you for this. Excellent track, never heard this before, my only exposure to The Cardiacs has been the original single of Is this the life and this blog. If I could point out the new version & the 1984 version appear to be the same link?

    1. Thanks Stevo. Blond moment on my part. New link for the 1984 version now active. Really glad you're enjoying the series.

    2. Thanks for these, especially the Toy World version. I also have a version from a Mark Radcliffe Session in 1995 which is a 6 minute track like the Toy World and Seaside ones you posted, as opposed the the 10 minute epic on Sing to God.