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John Cale - Fragments of a Rainy Season CD (album) cover


John Cale


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4.18 | 9 ratings

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4 stars An excellent example of the kind of solo concert John Cale has been giving throughout the years, accompanying himself on acoustic guitar and piano. Some tracks work better than others. The ones which in their studio incarnations sounded especially lovely because of their orchestrations (such as "Paris 1919" and the magnificent "Ship of Fools") make less of an impact because Cale's solo accompaniment makes the music sound rather choppy. Harsher tunes like "Leaving it up to you" and "Cable Hogue", on the other hand, are more effective than in the studio because Cale's vocals now sound even sadder and more deranged. Deep sadness really takes hold of the listener during "Thoughtless Kind", "Chinese Envoy" and "Close Watch": jewels all, yet far from sentimental. On the other hand, "Style It Takes" (which depicts Andy Warhol and the Velvet Underground) is sheer bliss: one of the loveliest rock ballads I've heard, and Lou Reed (who muttered a few words on the original studio version) isn't missed a bit. (I always imagine this song is really about Nico...) FRAGMENTS OF A RAINY SEASON ends on the most beautiful performance of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" ever released; this alone makes the album worth buying.

In conclusion, although FRAGMENTS OF A RAINY SEASON has its flaws (these days I tend to skip half of the album), the good stuff really is superb. Top-drawer "art-rock" - what else can I say? I only hope you can get a copy, since the CD originally appeared on Fnac Music, the house label of France's leading books-and-multimedia chain.

fuxi | 4/5 |


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