Friday, March 9, 2012

Greatest Living Welshman

After Lou Reed's 70th birthday last week comes John Cale's today.

Co-founding members of the Velvet Underground, no band could support 2 such monsterous egos for very long. And  there have been times it seemed unlikely either would make it this far. But here they are and Cale even has an OBE for his pains, confirming his status as the Greatest Living Welshman.

(No, that title does not  belong Anthony Hopkins aka The Welsh Ham, scenery-chewer extraordinaire)

Back in the mid-70s Cale made 3 albums for Island records that as often as I take them off the iPod to make room for something new I think 'hell I need that' and put them back again.

Fear, Slow Dazzle and Helen of Troy are just pure gold, ranging from the sweetest lovesongs through sweeping ballads he wrote with an eye for a Sinatra cover to rampant howling paranoia. The rampant howling paranoia increases over the span of the albums in line with Mr Cale's cocaine consumption apparently.

You can thankfully still get them as a set on CD too called The Island Years and I whole-heartedly recommend that you do so you can have this:

Mr Wilson, for Brian Wilson.
'And you know its true
That Wales is not like Cal-if-orn-ia in any way'

And this:

'Life and Death are things you just do when your bored'

And this:
'We picked up Dracula in Memphis
It was just about the break of day
And then hastily prayed for out souls to be saved
There was something in the air that made us kind of weary'
 .....and lots lot more.

Don't be cheap, you know it makes sense.

And finally today, neither living, nor so far as I know Welsh despite the name, was John Jenkins (1592–1678) a composer whos works for viol were brought to my attention today by Nige over at Nigeness and who clearly deserves further investigation now my ears have been opened.

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