Come On Pilgrim

Come On Pilgrim
Studio album / mini-LP by Pixies
Released September 28, 1987 (1987-09-28)
Recorded March 1987 (1987-03) at Fort Apache Studios, Roxbury, Massachusetts
Length 20:28
Language English,Spanish
Label 4AD MAD 709
Producer Gary Smith
Pixies chronology
Come On Pilgrim
Surfer Rosa
Professional ratings
Review scores

Come On Pilgrim is the debut mini-LP release by the American alternative rock band Pixies. Produced by Gary Smith, the album was released in September 1987 by 4AD.


In March 1987, Pixies (Black Francis, guitar/lead vocals; Kim Deal, bass/vocals; Joey Santiago, guitar; David Lovering, drums), entered Boston's Fort Apache Studios with Fort Apache owner/record producer Gary Smith to record a demo tape. The resulting 17-song cassette, later dubbed "The Purple Tape" eventually found its way to Ivo Watts-Russell, president and co-founder of the influential British record label 4AD. Pixies' manager, Ken Goes, was also the manager of Throwing Muses, who had become the first American band to sign to 4AD a year earlier. Despite being initially unimpressed by the demo, Watts-Russell was urged to sign the band by his girlfriend, a secretary for 4AD. After her insistence, he walked the streets of New York listening to The Purple Tape on his Walkman and, in his words, finally "got it."

Watts-Russell hand-picked eight of The Purple Tape's 17 songs to make up a debut "mini album." Expressing regret that some other previous 4AD debuts had failed to live up to the power of their demo versions, he decided to slightly re-mix eight of The Purple Tape's 17 songs for release, rather than have the band re-record the songs. Pixies later re-recorded and included eight of the nine remaining Purple Tape tracks over the course of their albums and EP releases. The only song not to be re-recorded and released was "Rock A My Soul." This, along with the rest of the nine "missing" Purple Tape tracks were released as Pixies by the Canadian label Sonic Unyon in 2002.

The title of the album derives from Christian rock singer Larry Norman, whose catchphrase was "Come on pilgrim, you know He loves you",[5] which was used as a lyric in the song "Levitate Me".


Come On Pilgrim showcased much of Pixies' variety and set up the beginnings of many trends in their music. It includes two songs partly sung in Spanish ("Vamos" and "Isla de Encanta") which drew upon some of Francis's experiences in Puerto Rico (Isla de Encanta is an alteration of the island's nickname, Isla del Encanto meaning "isle of enchantment"). Two songs explicitly mention incest— "Nimrod's Son" and "The Holiday Song". "I've Been Tired" refers metaphorically to sex and rock & roll culture, and there are four songs with overt religious references or language ("Caribou", "Nimrod's Son", "The Holiday Song" and "Levitate Me"). "Caribou" is about reincarnation. "Ed Is Dead" is about a brain-damaged girl known to Francis.[6] Beyond lyrical trends, Come On Pilgrim displayed Joey Santiago's innovative guitar leads, Deal's sunny vocal harmonies, and Francis's vocal range, which varied from screaming to traditionally-sung melodies.[7] A version of the song "Vamos" would appear on Pixies' next two releases: re-recorded with Steve Albini for their first full-length album, Surfer Rosa, and as a live B-side on their first single, "Gigantic".


The original 1987 UK release entered the UK indie album chart on October 24, 1987, spending 29 weeks on the chart and peaking at number 5.[8] Come On Pilgrim failed to secure distribution in the United States when it was first released. It was released in the United States in August 1988, when Rough Trade included it on their CD release of their first full-length album Surfer Rosa. At the same time, the two releases were issued on separate vinyl records by Rough Trade. Also in August 1988, 4AD released Surfer Rosa and Come On Pilgrim on CD together in the UK. This has been the standard UK CD release ever since, only being out of print for about six months in 1998. Subsequent U.S. CD releases have split them in two.

In 1992, Elektra Records issued Come On Pilgrim and Surfer Rosa on separate CDs in the US. After 4AD re-acquired the band's US distribution rights in 2004, they were again released on CD separately; this version of Come On Pilgrim was the first CD release to carry the 4AD catalogue number (MAD 709).[9] The album received far more attention from the British music press than in the United States. It was reviewed in Q Magazine, Sounds and NME.[10][11][12]

Track listing

All songs by Black Francis except "Levitate Me" by Black Francis/Kim Deal/David Lovering/Jean Walsh

  1. "Caribou" – 3:14
  2. "Vamos" – 2:53
  3. "Isla de Encanta" – 1:41
  4. "Ed Is Dead" – 2:30
  5. "The Holiday Song" – 2:14
  6. "Nimrod's Son" – 2:17
  7. "I've Been Tired" – 3:00
  8. "Levitate Me" – 2:37



Chart performance

Chart (1987) Peak
UK Indie Chart[8] 5

Notes and references

  1. 1 2 Schwab, Nick (January 20, 2009). "Pixies - Come on Pilgrim (1987)". Retrieved December 13, 2015.
  2. Allmusic review
  3. Dolan, Jon. "Come On Pilgrim - Blender". Blender. Archived from the original on April 20, 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-14.
  4. Powell, Mike (April 25, 2014). "Pixies catalogue review". Pitchfork. Retrieved April 25, 2014.
  5. Buckley, Peter (2003) [2003]. The Rough Guide to Rock. Rough Guides. p. 793. ISBN 1-84353-105-4. Retrieved 21 March 2008.
  6. Spitz, Marc (September 2004). Life to the Pixies. Spin.
  7. Sisario, Ben. Doolittle 33⅓. Continuum, 2006. ISBN 0-8264-1774-4, p. 18
  8. 1 2 Lazell, Barry (1997). Indie Hits 1980-1999. Cherry Red Books. ISBN 0-9517206-9-4.
  9. 4AD EP releases are given "BAD" catalogue numbers, and mini-albums are given "MAD" catalogue numbers.
  10. New Musical Express, October 1987
  11. Q Magazine, December 1987
  12. Sounds Magazine, December 1987

External links

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