Monday, November 16, 2015

helen of troy

John Cale kept a close watch on sudden death like a banshee blistering up his spell with portraits, stories, paintings, lovers, and things.  His contract with Island Records kept him busy with his own music while he made numerous guest appearances with other artists (June 1, 1974 with Kevin Ayers, Eno, and NicoLeon Russell's Stop All That Jazz, and Brian Eno's Another Green World)  as well as producing Horses for Patti Smith and  The End for Nico.

'Helen of Troy' features  John Cale on vocals, keyboards, guitar, and production;   Chris Spedding on guitar;   Pat Donaldson on bass guitar;   and  Timi Donald and  Phil Collins on drums;   Brian Eno on synthesizer;   Robert Kirby on string and choir arrangement;   and  Liza Strike on background vocals.

According to Cale:  "It could have been a great album. I came back from finishing Patti Smith and had three days to finish "Helen Of Troy" before I went on Italian tour. I was spending eighteen hours a day in the studio. When I got back, I found the record company had gone ahead and released what amounted to demo tapes. The trouble was that Island had their own ideas of what that album should sound like. They wanted to include songs I don't particularly like, but it was also an impertinent assumption on my part that I was capable managing myself. My determination to have "Helen Of The Troy" the way I did was not really fair to Island or my management, especially at a time when Island was losing it's percentage of the market, which was making everybody very paranoid."

'Helen of Troy' completes a trilogy of albums on  Island Records with Fear and Slow Dazzle .  Cale says:   "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...I listen to [those records]. There are some strange songs on there...[The production process] was pretty slap dash. I mean most of the songs were written in the studio, Engine especially. It was whatever you could do with a drum, bass, piano and guitar."


"Helen of Troy"

 "Leaving It Up to You"

"Pablo Picasso"

'Helen of Troy' 
full album:

All songs composed by John Cale, except where indicated.

Side A
"My Maria"
"Helen of Troy"
"China Sea"
"Save Us"
"Cable Hogue"
Side B
"I Keep a Close Watch"
"Pablo Picasso" (Jonathan Richman)
"Leaving It Up to You"
"Baby What You Want Me to Do" (Jimmy Reed)
"Sudden Death"

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