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4.4 out of 5 stars
23
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 21 October 2012
One of the great lps. I've already bought on vinyl and again as a cd. Why, when I try to convert it to a FLAC file, does it come up like it's being played with a bent needle? Is this one of those cds with something in it to prevent switching it to another device? I've successfully ripped it before as a 320 mp3.
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This classic 1973 album has been enhanced by the addition of 11 tracks of demos and alternate takes. Paris 1919 is atypical for John Cale, being consistently tuneful and mainstream with little experimentation. Some of his most poetic lyrics are found on these elegant songs, most of which are ballads that bring to mind the music of Scott Walker at his creative peak on Boy Child 67-70. A reggae ditty and a powerful rock song ensure stylistic variety.

There is a subdued, desolate air about Child's Christmas in Wales, Hanky Panky Nohow and Half Past France while subdued, whispered vocals make Antarctica a brooding, moody track. With its impressive orchestral backing Paris 1919 is less of a rock album than most of his best later work, like for example the three Island Years albums. The exception is Macbeth, a robust, even blistering slice of up-tempo rock.

The ballad arrangements may be orchestral but the melodies are simple and appealing for the most part, as on the lovely Andalucia. The delightful title track with its edgy arrangement, birdsong and refrain of "you're a ghost, la la la" is especially striking, while the lilting reggae beat and trenchant lyrics of Graham Greene render it catchy and charming. Paris 1919 is simultaneously a very 'literary' album and Cale at his most accessible. The bonus tracks are interesting but there's nothing exceptional about any of them.
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on 23 June 2014
i know john cale was a brilliant musician, but this album, ably assisted by Lowell George & Richie Hayward is very enjoyable. McBeth is great rock'n'roll with Richie Hayward giving a humdinker of a beat and Lowell George wailing guitar. Great
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on 3 May 2010
brilliant album full of melodic, beautiful, witty, creative stories but all touched by john cale's sharp edgy style
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on 15 March 2014
Very pretty tunes, and Cale has a charming deep voice. Don't pay too much attention to the lyrics though - for the most part they make little sense (there are a couple of exceptions). Like his fans, Cale is irresistibly drawn to pretension - no bad thing in itself, but a bit of self-editing is what's lacking. Or the humility to find a decent lyricist.

He can do better (see "Slow Dazzle" for lyrics, "Wrong Way Up" for melody - despite his pronunciation of the town name "Cordoba" as "core-dober").

But it's the bonus tracks that make this release, especially the first "Burned out affair" and the last, the instrumental "Macbeth".
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on 13 December 1999
This sumptious album has to be one of the best this century by any artist. John Cale is vastly underrated as a singer/songwriter; but although he has produced lashing of good music since, this second solo album of his remains my favourite. Buy it: it is pure class!!!
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on 13 April 2008
Even after 25 odd years, this album produced by Chris Thomas still shines as Cale's easy-listening Masterpiece.

Highly recommended!
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on 19 February 2013
While this is a terrific album as far as the music is concerned, the actual disk is terrible. There is extreme distortion and fuzz overlaying the music, very noticeable, for instance, in the first 20 seconds of the second track. I have the original LP from 1973, and there's no noise on it, so it was apparently introduced in the making of the CD. I have just gotten my second one from Amazon, both having identical problems, so I'm giving up now. I would have loved to have gotten a good disk, in particular because of the bonus tracks, which are not on the CD available in the US.
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on 11 September 2010
How many other bands could have accommodated the viola as well as the Velvet Underground? Even more to the point, how many other bands could have accommodated John Cale as well as they did? Both questions are merely hypothetical in view of what Cale went on to achieve in his solo `career' and `Paris 1919' sums a fair bit of that up, not the most insignificant part of which is the fact that he proved to be a damn fine songwriter.

In view of his iconoclastic ways `A Child's Christmas In Wales' hits the wistful button almost as squarely as anything by Clifford T. Ward, albeit without that man's almost tangible Englishness.

If anything `Hanky Panky Nohow' gets closer still. The bridge is tellingly lyrical and Cale, in this reviewer's opinion an undervalued singer, puts over the cryptic lyric with a panache that few others could match.

Cale's no `sensitive singer-songwriter' giving it some of the intense jingle-jangle however, and just to lay any fears on that score to rest he makes a rocker out of `Macbeth' (now there's a turn of phrase the reviewer doesn't get to write very often)

Like Neil Young Cale is a person who manages to make a living out of music through doing just as he pleases. As a result this album is on one level a report on a work in progress. On another however it's a great piece of work by a musician far too cussed to ever play the game. Because of that I'm giving it five stars only because nine isn't an option.
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on 13 February 2013
This is one of the albums that I will play over and over again and never tire of the lyrics.
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