Tuesday, March 10, 2015

slow dazzle

John Cale found a new place to dwell with menace, melodicism, guts, and dirty ass rock and roll.  His work with The Velvet Underground ('The Velvet Underground & Nico' and 'White Light/White Heat') and role as producer on seminal debut albums by The Stooges, The Modern Lovers, and Patti Smith had established Cale as a cutting edge craftsman.  His own albums ('Vintage Violence' and 'Church of Anthrax' on Colombia Records, and 'Academy in Peril' and 'Paris 1919' on Reprise Records) went back and forth between folk rock and art rock until he moved back to London in 1974 where he signed with Island Records and recorded a trilogy of albums ('Fear', 'Slow Dazzle', and 'Helen of Troy') within the span of a year.

Cale would look back:    "I lived in my basement flat in Shepherd’s Bush and just stacked the turntable up with Beach Boys...That was one of the most productive periods because I had a solid contract with the label. You know I knew that I had three albums to do. Ever since then it has become a little sporadic...There are some strange songs on there...It was pretty slap dash. I mean most of the songs were written in the studio...It was whatever you could do with a drum, bass, piano and guitar...[‘The Jeweller’] was to attempt to do what ‘The Gift’ did. I had a written a short story and I thought it was very nice and I thought I’d record it...[The collaboration with Brian Eno] was suggested by Island. I didn’t know at the time. I had seen him when he was signed to Warners. I had seen them at the Roxy in LA and I knew Bryan Ferry so I remembered him from before. Actually that first Roxy album was something which I was up for producing but Chris Thomas got it ... It was exciting for me. I got my teeth into having a band. I got a lot of help from Chris Spedding. It’s a little brutal, but he helped me figure out how to take what we did in the studio and make it work live. I had this penchant for making up new songs on stage. Chris was always there—he was like an eagle. He’d spot a change coming up. That’s where I got closer to the idea what the VU was—on stage."

'Slow Dazzle' features John Cale on piano, organ, clavinet, vocals, production, cover, and writing;   Gerry Conway and Timi Donald on drums;  Pat Donaldson on bass; Brian Eno on synthesizer;  Phil Manzanera and Chris Spedding on guitar;  Chris Thomas on violin and electric piano;  and Geoff Muldaur on harmony vocals on "Guts" and "Darling I Need You".  


"Heartbreak Hotel"
"Well, the lyrics were the first thing that struck me about it. You can hear every personality of he people involved in it in each of the verses. I tell you, I sang it at the Elvis fiftieth anniversary show in Memphis at the arena, and Aaron Neville and Iggy [Pop] and everyone was doing an Elvis song, and they were doing it really well, uptempo versions - I came out with a string quartet and did this really dark screeching gothic version of it, and the average age of the people at the places was between sixty and seventy - they were all just sitting there with their mouths open, they didn't know what to make of it. They took it off the broadcast, I think. But they put it on the international broadcast, because some friends of mine saw it."

"Mr. Wilson"


'Slow Dazzle' 
full album:

All tracks composed by John Cale; except where indicated

Side A
"Mr. Wilson" (3:17)
"Taking It All Away" (2:59)
"Dirty-Ass Rock 'N' Roll" (4:44)
"Darling I Need You" (3:38)
"Rollaroll" (3:59)
Side B
"Heartbreak Hotel" (3:14) – Mae Boren Axton, Tommy Durden, Elvis Presley
"Ski Patrol" (2:12)
"I'm Not The Loving Kind" (3:12)
"Guts" (3:27)
"The Jeweller" (5:07)

bonus tracks

"All I Want Is You" (2:55)
"Bamboo Floor" (3:24)

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