Monday, January 5, 2009

John vs. Lou
















Over at Boogie Woogie Flu, one of my fave music blogs, former dB´s drummer Will Rigby tackles the solo legacy of John Cale. In his guest post, illustrated with a couple of great and not so well known Cale tunes and a fun video clip, Rigby writes: "Count me among those who consider John Cale's post-Velvet Underground work superior overall to that of Lou Reed. Not to belittle Dirty Boulevard or Waves Of Fear or Kicks or all the other LR songs I love (and I can't say I've gone ga-ga over a JC album in years), but Cale's albums from the '70s find their way onto my speakers more often."

Can´t agree more, Will. I still play the eccentric Welsman´s seventies albums quite a lot too, and found that the baroque Paris 1919 (´73), the stark Fear (´74) and the heavy live onslaught of Sabotage (´79) still sound remarkably fresh on a modern day iPod. And while Slow Dazzle and Helen Of Troy (both ´75) may not be that consistent, they still have their moments of utter brilliance. Of Reed´s solo oeuvre on the other hand, I guess only the dark (melo-)drama of Berlin (´73) has stood the test of time quite well. Of his other seventies albums, only isolated tracks (Perfect Day, the evergreen Walk On The Wild Side, Street Hassle, Kicks) stand out.

Here are two tracks from the aforementioned Sabotage/Live album. Not an obvious best-of-live collection but a fresh batch of terrific songs, it was recorded in New York City´s punk mecca CBGB´s with a John Cale who was ready for war.

John Cale - Mercenaries (Ready For War) MP3
John Cale - Baby You Know MP3

9 comments:

notthere56 said...

Thanks for the tip o' the hardhat.
The dB's opened for one of the CBGB shows at which Sabatoge was recorded. --Will R.--

Hal said...

Overall I agree with you, but I would put Reed's New York album against the best of Cale. Another good Cale album is the collaboration with Eno (can't remember the name now), though it's kinda spotty. Thanks for posting the tunes.

Curt Shannon

Alex said...

Musically, Lou Reed is pretty great at one or two things, but John Cale is amazing at about a dozen.

Ramone666 said...

Curt, New York was a wonderful comeback for Lou, but I was talking seventies albums exclusively.

jonderneathica said...

I haven't listened to much John Cale (although I recently watched a documentary about his career). But as a Little Feat fan I am curious about Paris 1919. Can you hear much of Lowell George's guitar on there?

Ramone666 said...

You can hear his guitar alright , but don´t expect to find his trademark slide stuff here. Hoy Hoy.

notthere56 said...

Now will somebody please post "Wilson Joliet," my vote for masterpiece/centerpiece of the criminally hard to find on CD Honi Soit?

Ramone666 said...

Sorry Will, I only have Honi Soit on good old vinyl. Excellent album.

halfpear said...

Not 'former' I hope...