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John Cale

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4 stars As an overview of John Cale's 1970-1990 output, this collection almost cannot be beaten.

"Almost" I say, because SEDUCING DOWN THE DOOR was very thoughtfully put together and offers the listener representative tracks from all the major albums Cale released during this period, including some that are very hard to find on CD.

Thus, listeners can enjoy themselves with obvious highlights from Cale's career such as "Amsterdam", "A Child's Christmas in Wales", "Fear is A Man's Best Friend", "Thoughtless Kind" and "Cordoba": songs easily on the same level as anything ever written by John Lennon, Neil Young, Nick Drake, Randy Newman or that OTHER guy from a certain well-known New York Band. There are acoustic ballads, orchestral ballads and there's plenty of near-psychotic rock 'n' roll: a little of everything, really!

However, it must be admitted that one or two choices seem perverse. "Buffalo Ballet" and "Ship of Fools" would have been far more suitable selections from FEAR than the dreary, eight-minute "Gun", and surely the haunting "Cable Hogue" (off HELEN OF TROY) much more deserved to be here than the relatively minor "Dirty Ass Rock 'n Roll" or Jonathan Richman's "Pablo Picasso".

So if you're already familiar with John Cale and like his style but do not own any of his albums, I suggest you go straight for FEAR or MUSIC FOR A NEW SOCIETY, and take it from there.

However, if you simply adore anthologies, and you want one that has been compiled with a great deal of respect for the artist concerned, you can't go wrong with the album under review.

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Posted Thursday, January 7, 2010 | Review Permalink

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