Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Tres: Day 273

Mon. Dec 30, 2013

“The Ballad of Grimaldi”
Carl Barât; Peter Doherty


“♫ Because
she knows
how I adore
you/ we
won’t be

Welcome to the battle for “The Ballad of Grimaldi,” in this corner we have the poster lyrical boy of excess Peter Doherty squaring off against his former Libertines mate Carl Barât. Although “Girmaldi” was first tracked by The Libertines for the infamous Babyshambles sessions in 2003, Doherty actually struck first in this musical battle when Peter recorded an acoustic version for his Shaken and Withdrawn sessions of 2004.

Six years later after Carl helped Peter co-write “A Little Death Around The Eyes” on Doherty’s Stephen Street produced solo album Grace/Wastelands. Soon after, the Babyshambles vocalist recorded a studio version for the b-side of “Broken Love Song.” Unfortunately, that flip side is probably my least favorite versions of all the “Grimaldi’s;” but Doherty redeemed himself this year when Peter shared an exquisite live rendition for the Raise the Bar compilation to help save the Kentish Town pub The Torriano. It’s difficult to capture the essence of Doherty in the studio when the Babyshambles vocalist is such an enigmatic presence on the stage. Watch Peter shine in this gloriously live acoustic version, enjoy:

Capitalizing on the 2010 Libertines reunion shows, Carl used his own newly re-recorded rendition of “The Ballad” to re-spark the battle of “Grimaldi.” I also thought that Barât was the more promotionally savvy between the two, and the proof can be found when Doherty’s former collaborator was Carl’s when talking to This Fake DIY about songs his former band should have recorded, Barât said, “I think The Ballad of Grimaldi, which just happens to be on my EP (ho ho – I’m doing some corporate plugging – oh what’s the world become!) should have been recorded as something more colossal.”

As you can hear, Carl’s version is a little more polished and refined. Barât’s studio version sounds like an almost Libertines recording that’s beginning for his former songwriting partner, Peter Doherty’s vocals. A duet between the two would definitely be a hit single for all of us Libertines fans longing for a reunion beyond on the stage and inside the studio again. Until then we’re going to have to settle for these brilliant versions by solo artists Peter Doherty on the Raise the Bar charity album and Carl Barât on his EP, Death Fires Burn at Night.

Relive the glory of the track that Carl recently called “the beauty […] of an old Libertines’ song that I did with Pete years ago on there called the Ballad Of Grimaldi.” So you choose the victor in the battle for “The Ballad of Grimaldi.” Who do you prefer Carl or Peter’s version? You decide!