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on 14 December 2003
I saw John Cale on the tour supporting this album back in 1993 having had no experience of his solo work. It was the best concert I have ever been to. Just Cale and a grand piano or acoustic guitar, but the power of his performance left me absolutely stunned. I bought the album the next day and it has remained one of my favourites ever since.
Ther are some songs of true beauty like Paris 1919, Close Watch and Style It Takes , moments of pure ham as Cale concludes Guts and Fear with dischord and screams, and cover versions of Hallelujah and Heartbreak Hotel which Cale simply takes possession of.
Truely great.
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on 5 May 2003
I saw what was effectively this CD live and it was one of the best concerts of my life. If it had been sold as miserable ex-velvet sits and sings piano toons, with a break for a few accoustic songs, I wouldn't have fancied it at all. I'd heard some of Songs Without Words (Carmen Miranda being a favourite), and obviously tons of Velvets stuff, but no other John Cale. This is a great mix, some slightly serious, some tongue in cheek, but all just slightly off beam and quirky.
A music fan from Nottingham musn't get out much. Buying this just to get a Leonard Cohen cover (a good one) is missing the point. Have you tried any of the studio albums? You should get The Island Years!
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on 24 January 2003
This is a brilliant live album,Cale over the years has produced some fine albums and "Paris 1919"must be an all time classic !
This is a very intimate concert with John playing mostly piano and in the middle of the set acoustic guitar. You tend to forget how many beautiful songs he has performed.
"A child's Christmas in Wales " starts things off and you really are spoilt for choice"Paris 1919 " "Ship of fools" "Buffalo ballet" and the intense and unhinged "Fear(Is a man's best friend")
Most of the songs cover a wide range of his solo albums plus work with Eno and "Style it takes " with Lou reed
An excellent gig finishes with the majestic "Hallelujah "
Go on,treat yourself,go on,go on,go on !
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on 13 December 1999
I caught a chance hour and a half of John Cale (and ex wife Rise) on German satellite TV singing all the songs from Fragments of a Rainy Season in what looked like a small, smoky, crowded club. I was so transfixed I didn't even think of recording it. I've been trying to locate a video ever since. This album is an equisite portrait of one of the best artists around singing and playing the pick of his own songs (plus one beauty from Leonard Cohen) from the past twenty years, accompanied by himself on piano or guitar. The original "unplugged". Delicious. If you can only afford to buy one John Cale album, go for this.
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on 15 November 1999
John Cale is virtually deadpan throughout much of his performance, yet somehow imbues his songs with such emotional power that they take over the house. I can only listen to this alone, preferably on a rainy, empty afternoon... Most inscrutable, and evocative. I am mystified yet compelled by: "Ballad of Cable Hogue", "Cordoba", "Chinese Envoy" - does anyone know the origin of these captured scenes?
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on 27 October 2012
This has to be in the top 10 CDs that I own. I think John did something terrific here, which is to show off his greatest songs, unencumbered by any distancing production or avant garde aesthetics, and almost inadvertently reveals himself as one of the great singer song writers of the age. I remember feeling that the piano/ guitar patterns were needlessly plain at times, but give it a good 30 listens and all you will hear is honesty, and if there's a sense of alienation, it's more subtly applied than the studio albums. Just sublime art.
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on 26 October 1999
This is close as you will get to seeing John Cale live in concert without actually going down and waiting in line for tickets.
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on 5 January 2003
I bougth this cd for the track "Hallelujah" which appears in the film, Shrek. I hoped that the others would be as good but they aren't at all. The sound of one man and a piano becomes boring after a while and Cale doesn't seem to know that many different rhythms. Halleluja is a fine song, however and it is well performed.
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