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John Cale - Close Watch - An Introduction To John Cale CD (album) cover

CLOSE WATCH - AN INTRODUCTION TO JOHN CALE

John Cale

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4 stars This compilation, named after one of Cale's best-known songs, is undoubtedly an ideal one-disc introduction to the man's oeuvre.

Quite a lot of first-rate material has been included from Cale's early and sometimes lushly orchestrated albums , e.g. "Paris 1919", "Mr Wilson" and "A Child's Christmas in Wales": each and every one of them melodies to die for! I'm especially happy that space has been found for "Ship of Fools", probably my favourite John Cale song of all time.

Cale's angry, haunted and paranoic side is equally well-represented by "Fear is a Man's Best Friend", "Leaving It Up To You" and "Cable Hogue": dark and haunting classics all, undoubtedly familiar to anyone who's attended more than one of Cale's live concerts.

John Cale at his saddest can be heard on "If You Were Still Around" and "I Keep A Close Watch", while those who enjoy no-holds-barred rock'n'roll will be cheered by the splendid "Guts". The compilers of the album can even be applauded for digging up a few relatively obscure gems (from the HONI SOIT album, if I remember well): "Riverbank" and "Wilson Joliet". Both are worth hearing.

My only complaint concerns the dreary, eight minute long rocker "Gun". It would have been far more useful to give us some more true SONGS, such as "Amsterdam", "Hanky Panky Nohow" or "Chinese Envoy". But nothing is perfect, and some people may enjoy "Gun" because of Phil Manzanera's extended solo.

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Posted Thursday, January 7, 2010 | Review Permalink

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