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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars John Cale - A National Treasure, 28 May 2006
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This review is from: The Island Years (Audio CD)
Just because an artist is great, does not mean the artist will sell a lot of records. Mr Cale (along with Mr Thompson et al) is one of Britain's geatest musical treasures. For almost 40 years now, he has consistently proven himself a highly inventive, original and visionary composer of pop songs and avant-garde instrumental works. He is unique and remarkably at 63, still producing stunning music. I went to see him play this year and although, sadly isn't nearly as manic as he once was (climbing under his keyboard for song or screaming like a lunatic!) seeing and hearing the statesman (for me a first) was still a powerful and wonderful experience. He genuinely appears to be one of the few artists that does not believe in pandering to his audience. It's his world and we can take it or leave it. It's easy to feel dissapointed that such an enduring artist is playing to appoximately 400 people per town and that his records (if ever they were not cult and lacked media attention) are selling mostly to harcore fans only now.

It doesn't matter.

John Cale, like all great artists transcends record sales and popularity polls. We are lucky to be able to enjoy such music from a genuine talent. Celebrate the man.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rock n roll nirvana, 1 Mar 2007
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This review is from: The Island Years (Audio CD)
If there is one good thing to be said about CD's, this-John Cale's Island anthology- should be exhibit A. All 3 of his Island albums plus a couple of extra tracks, in glorious sound, in a neat 2 CD package. It is among the most invigorating rock'n roll recorded in the 70's, a decade not exactly short of musical contenders. Cale's music in his Island years, to my ears, outstrips them all- yes, even his old buddy Lou Reed's work. Now this might seen like an outlandish claim, but listen to the music again, with the volume turned up loud. Some Dirty A-- Rock n' Roll !
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure genius, 26 Jan 2007
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KRL (Northants, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Island Years (Audio CD)
Lou Reed is far and away the most famous of the former members of The Velvet Underground, a situation that is grossly unfair to at least one of his fellow band members. John Cale has assembled a body of work that should have guaranteed him fame and fortune, but while he has received much critical acclaim, he remains criminally under-appreciated by the wider public.

In the first half of the '70s, he recorded 5 albums that are absolute classics: "Paris 1919", "Vintage Violence", and his 3 Island records ("Fear", "Slow Dazzle" and "Helen of Troy"). This 2CD anthology collects the whole of those Island albums (along with a handful of other tracks recorded at the same time) and shows a musical genius at the height of his powers.

Imagine a compilation including "Hunky Dory", "Ziggy Stardust" and "Aladdin Sane", or "Here Come the Warm Jets", "Taking Tiger Mountain" and "Another Green World". That's how great this music is: it is original, intelligent music of the highest calibre.

Actually, the Eno comparison is apt, as the man himself collaborates with Cale throughout this set. Phil Manzanera is there as well, but the result sounds nothing like Roxy Music. There's a hint of Eno's early solo work (which is exactly contemporaneous with these recordings), but nevertheless the three albums are very much Cale's.

Don't let the fame fool you: buy this anthology and discover the real musical talent behind The Velvet Underground.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Indispensible, 8 Mar 2012
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This review is from: The Island Years (Audio CD)
What a magical release! I've had Cale's most accessible album Paris 1919 for some time. I used to play it as a kooky alternative to what I usually listen to (Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Nick Drake et al.) but slowly figured that this guy far outstrips them. I haven't figured out particularly why - it simply feels more truthful, everything from the voice to the arrangements. Check out the jeweller for faux-pas prose poetry. Do yourself a favour and buy it immediately.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CALE�S MOST ACCESSIBLE WORK, 14 Aug 2001
By 
Pieter Uys "Toypom" (Johannesburg) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Island Years (Audio CD)
This brilliant collection contains John Cale's most accessible work, including some his most melodic songs like The Man Who Couldn't Afford To Orgy, Mr Wilson (tribute to Brian W), Ski Patrol (which reminds me of the John Berryman poem, "Song Of The Tortured Girl"), I Keep A Close Watch, Leaving It Up To You, Coral Moon, and also his most menacing: Fear, Gun, Guts, Heartbreak Hotel and the power trio of Dirty-ass Rock 'n Roll, Darling I Need You and Rollaroll, the high point of the "Slow Dazzle" album.
Of course, Cale is my favourite musician of all time and I'm saying this from the perspective of a mainstream rock fan. I also love his more experimental work, including his collaborations with Brian Eno, Bob Neuwirth and Lou Reed, and of course his earlier stuff like Paris 1919. One can see how artists like Patti Smith and others were influenced by Cale's vision.
So, not only is this the best entry point for those wishing to investigate the work of this genius, it is also handy to have those three seminal Island albums together in one place. For completists, I also recommend his anthology "Seducing Down The Door," with the warning that it only contains Dirty-Ass Rock 'n Roll without the other two of the "power trio" mentioned above.
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5.0 out of 5 stars john cale, 19 Feb 2014
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This review is from: The Island Years (Audio CD)
excellent value! was looking for "helen of troy" when i saw this which is that album plus "fear is a man's best friend".brilliant.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A must have, 25 Mar 2013
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This review is from: The Island Years (Audio CD)
If you are a fan of John Cale, of course you must have this record. Some of the music has become a bit old (or maybe vintage), some has not, there are great songs forever and anyway it's an essential part of the history of rock music
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CALE IS KING, 26 Jun 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Island Years (Audio CD)
I bought this at the same time as "Seducing Down The Door" because I wanted THOSE 3 TRACKS from Slow Dazzle in sequence: Dirtyass Rock 'n Roll, Darling I Need You & Rollaroll. I think his Island period produced his most accessible work --tracks that should have made it Top 5 on the charts are: Fear, Gun, Man Who Couldn't Afford To Orgy, Ski Patrol, My Maria, Mr Wilson, Taking It All Away and Those 3! . New tracks I hadn't heard before are all good: You & Me, Coral Moon, Mary Lou, Bamboo Floor. Buy this one and buy "seducing Down The Door" too -- only about 7 tracks are duplicated.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great collection., 3 Oct 2014
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This review is from: The Island Years (Audio CD)
Excellent collection. Only beef is that 'The Jeweller' (from 'Slow Dazzle' 1974) is missing the forehead vagina, which is on the 1974 original. A great collection at a great price.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Cale has sprinkled his magic on many other artists work ..., 17 Dec 2014
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gingerjo (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Island Years (Audio CD)
Cale has sprinkled his magic on many other artists work. This album shows he can hold his own as an artist
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The Island Years by John Cale (Audio CD - 1996)
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