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Paris 1919

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iTunes Review

Though John Cale is best known as the classically trained avant-garde musician who held down the bottom end for The Velvet Underground, he's had an inspired solo career that has forever sought new ground. 1973's Paris 1919 is one of his finest solo albums and easily his most accessible. With esteemed producer Chris Thomas at the controls, members of Little Feat providing the warm, sympathetic backing, and Cale's inventive orchestration complementing many of the tracks, Paris 1919 works as an impeccable song cycle, rich with poetic images and an inscrutable logic. It helped that Cale came to the sessions with several of his finest songs, including "A Child's Christmas in Wales" (a tip of the hat to poet Dylan Thomas, a fellow Welshman), "Hanky Panky Nohow," "Andalucia," "Half Past France," and the title track. "Macbeth" is the album's one rocker, with the remaining tales using a restrained approach that ends with the whispers of the gorgeous "Antarctica Starts Here." Flawless.

Customer Reviews

It's about time

I had to order this on CD a couple of months ago because it wasn't on iTunes. Luckily for those coming to the album for the first time now, it's here and at a steal of a price. The first listen confirms Cale's genius. This album is absolutely essential.

Is this the remaster?

This album itself most definitely deserves 5 stars: lush, mature, eclectic, beautiful and different than what most people expect of him (no drones!). However, listening to the samples, some of the songs here have murky sound quality (noticeably Macbeth, though most of the others have similar issues). It sounds as if it were recorded straight from the vinyl. I got the remastered edition from a friend and it sounds blatantly clearer than this. While it may be hard to find a reissue of this album, go for that if the chance arises. Not that this sounds completely horrible, as I can like a throwback with old vinyl quality, but it's definitely not the remaster. In the end, though, it shouldn't matter too much. This album's marvelous either way.

Brilliant, erudite pop Cale

I can't say enough about this album. Bought it on the strength of the "A Child's Christmas.." and the title track. It turns out that there is not one weak composition on this album. Yes, the recording has that analog top roll-off; on some tracks, it's pronounced. Doesn't matter to me. Unsung. History should accord this piece the status that, say, Television's Marquee Moon now has. Maybe it does; I haven't talked John Cale music with anyone recently.


Born: March 9, 1942 in Garnant, Wales

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

While John Cale is one of the most famous and, in his own way, influential underground rock musicians, he is also one of the hardest to pin down stylistically. Much has been made of his schooling in classical and avant-garde music, yet much of what he's recorded has been decidedly song-oriented, dovetailing close to the mainstream at times. Terming him a forefather of punk and new wave isn't exactly accurate, either. Those investigating his work for the first time under that premise may be surprised...
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Paris 1919, John Cale
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