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John Cale

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John Cale Slow Dazzle album cover
2.77 | 23 ratings | 2 reviews | 9% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Mr. Wilson (3:15)
2. Taking It All Away (2:56)
3. Dirty Ass Rock 'N' Roll (4:42)
4. Darling I Need You (3:36)
5. Rollaroll (3:59)
6. Heartbreak Hotel (3:09)
7. Ski Patrol (2:05)
8. I'm Not The Loving Kind (3:07)
9. Guts (3:28)
10. The Jeweller (4:28)

Total time 34:45

Line-up / Musicians

- John Cale / vocals, piano, organ, clavinet, composer (excl. 6), arranger & producer

- Geoff Muldaur / harmony vocals (4,9)
- Chris Spedding / guitar
- Phil Manzanera / guitar
- Brian Eno / synthesizer
- Chris Thomas / violin, electric piano
- Pat Donaldson / bass
- Timi Donald / drums
- Gerry Conway / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Michael Wade with Keith Morris (photo)

LP Island Records ‎- ILPS 9317 (1975, US)
LP Wax Cathedral ‎- MELT 013 (2015, US)

CD Island Records ‎- CID 9317 (1987, UK)
CD Universal Music ‎- ILPS-9717 (2013, US) 24-bit remaster

Thanks to snobb for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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JOHN CALE Slow Dazzle ratings distribution

(23 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(9%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(26%)
Good, but non-essential (48%)
Collectors/fans only (13%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

JOHN CALE Slow Dazzle reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Money
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Slow Dazzle more or less picks up where Cale left off with his previous album, Fear. Both albums feature a similar mix of sentimental ballads and harsher rockers, with the difference being that Slow Dazzle has a bigger slicker orchestrated sound and production, and less of Fear's harsh proto-punk vibe. As usual with any Cale album, the songwriting on here is classy and the lyrics portend to be mini classic novellas, and as usual, some of his attempts at high art in rock are more successful than others.

Album opener Mr Wilson rates with the best of Cale's ballads on the beautiful but ironically titled Vintage Violence. From there the rest of side one slowly descends in quality till we get to Rolleroll, an annoying dirge that has Cale shouting the title phrase constantly towards the end backed by 'gospel vocals'.

Side two likewise opens with the best when John's cover of Heartbreak Hotel comes crawling out of the darkness. Comfortable as a beautiful balladeer and a proto-punker, Hotel has Cale pre-dating post-punk gothic rock with this dark droning deconstructionist version of the Presley classic that features futuristic 'scary' synthesizer textures from Brian Eno. Hotel is nice stuff, great dark humor and way ahead of it's time. Ski Patrol, which follows, has John back to his pleasant artsy pastoral mellow rock mode. I'm not the Loving Kind is nice, but the chorus comes on a little too heavy. The last two songs on side two end the side on a bad note, particularly the narrative on The Jeweller.

I guess you could call this a typical mid-70s album by John Cale, some good stuff, and some not so good.

Review by fuxi
2 stars SLOW DAZZLE contains a couple of first-rate songs, a couple of interesting ones, and a lot of second-rate material. In that respect it's similar to the studio albums John Cale has been releasing during the past ten years.

In my view, "Guts", "Mr Wilson" and "I'm not the Loving Kind" are all first rate songs. The first is probably the strongest rocker Cale has ever released (and definitely the bleakest); the second is an exquisite ballad which sounds like an escapee from the masterly PARIS 1919; and the third is an overly lush ballad on the subject of sexual impotence. (It opens with these lyrics, exquisitely intoned: "When my lady passes me by, I lose the love I thought I had in mind....")

If you happen to have a John Cale compilation which features all three of the above-mentioned tracks, you need not bother with the rest of the album. You could buy THE ISLAND YEARS, of course, a two-disc set which combines SLOW DAZZLE with all of FEAR and HELEN OF TROY, both of which are superior. As a collection, THE ISLAND YEARS really can't be faulted, especially since it contains some first-rate bonus material.

Anyway, you will probably want to hear Cale's notorious cover version of "Heartbreak Hotel", but the piano-and-voice-only version on FRAGMENTS OF A RAINY SEASON is far more chilling than SLOW DAZZLE's Grang Guignol performance. Nevertheless, "Heartbreak Hotel" (as played here) is what I'd call one of the "interesting" tracks, together with "The Jeweller", which is really no more than a Poe-esque horror story, read out by Cale in his lugubrious Welsh accent.

The remainder of the album is throwaway pop. I've always assumed Cale was trying to make a commercial album at the time. However, by including at least three tracks on scary or unsavoury subjects he immediately sank his own ship. And a good thing too, since this allowed him to become a mentor to Patti Smith and the entire punk/New Wave movement.

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