Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Fragments of a Rainy Season
Genres: Alternative Rock, Special Interest, Pop, Rock
An excellent overview
Jason Kruppa | New Orleans, LA United States | 05/30/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"John Cale, it seems, is often at his best in a live setting. When I saw him in 1995 with the Soldier String Quartet, Cale himself on piano and occasional guitar, and pedal steel player BJ Cole filling out the ensemble, it was one of those rare transcendent occasions where every audience member seemed to be experiencing the same hypnotic glow, held in sway like the tide under a powerful lunar magnetism. A (regrettably) long out-of-print live document, "John Cale Comes Alive," captures Cale's strength on the other end of the spectrum, bashing out brutal rockers with a hot, stripped-down backing band of guitar, bass and drums. In this regard, then, it should come as no surprise that "Fragments of a Rainy Season" (1992) is an excellent set. However, as it covers his work from "Paris 1919" (1973) to "Songs For Drella" (1990), it also illuminates certain songs in Cale's catalog and in effect smooths out a lot of the rough spots in an interesting but erratic career.Accompanying himself only on piano (and guitar on four songs), Cale reduces each song to its essence. His playing ranges from lyrical ("Style it Takes") to chaotic ("Guts," "Fear"), but the overall mood is a reflective one that suits these songs well. Most of these compositions, in fact, have never been on more effective display. "Chinese Envoy" and "Thoughtless Kind," both from the dissonant "Music for a New Society" (1982), are clear and melancholy in this setting, as are "Buffalo Ballet" and "I Keep a Close Watch." The three songs from the uneven, orchestrated "Falklands Suite" are given a much more forthright interpretation, with "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" coming out as one of those rare cases of a poem set to music without being trivialized. Cale's famous spooky deconstruction of "Heartbreak Hotel," carried along mostly by a slow, repetitive piano figure, shows up as well; his previous versions are fine, but this one squeaks by as the winner. The closer, Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," also trumps the studio version that appeared on the Cohen tribute, "I'm Your Fan." The previous recording seemed rushed, but here Cale takes his time with the transcendently mournful lyrics, his voice at points virtually cello-like in its resonance.Simply put, "Fragments" provides a consistency and depth that, as a whole, few of Cale's studio albums do. He has done himself as well as his fans a great service, and for those who have yet to discover Cale, this is arguably the place to start. Choosing between this one and the lush "Paris 1919" (1973) requires a coin toss, but anyone interested in the searching, melodic side of this man's very unique work should probably own them both."
A strikingly mature performance
m_noland | Washington, DC United States | 11/23/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Given Cale's background in classical music and the sheer diversity of musical settings that he has performed in over the years, it is oddly ironic that perhaps his most effective recording is of a live concert during which he simply accompanies himself on piano or guitar. Stripped of artifice, some of these performances surpass the more elaborately orchestrated originals, "Dying on the Vine" and "Hallelujah" in particular. (Not to knock the late Jeff Buckley, but his version of "Hallelujah" is to Cale's as boys are to men.) Despite his limited vocal range and the simplicity of the instrumental accompaniment, Cale manages to convey a kind of hardboiled maturity that virtuosos like Buckley can't touch. And he can still scream ("Leaving It Up to You.") By this 1990 concert Cale had put behind him some of the problems that contributed to a career that another reviewer correctly described as "uneven," and behavior that might be charitably described as "erratic." He had more than twenty years of output to draw upon, so there is little "filler." Some of the songs are more effective than others (lyrically they range from musical settings of Dylan Thomas poems to free association doggerel). The breath of themes and emotions traversed in these compositions is such that it would be surprising if they evoked uniform responses across listeners. Different listeners will have different favorites. I have mine. Not background music, this disk rewards serious listening."
One Of The Best Live Albums Of All Time!
M. Scagnelli | Brandon, Florida | 07/13/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When you think of John Cale, you think of many different things. You think of his days with the Velvet Underground. The poetry of Paris 1919. The seminal Island Years. His Music For A New Society. His reunion with Lou Reed for Songs For Drella. Fragment's of a Rainy Season is a completely different side of Cale. This entire album is John Cale live with only a piano or guitar, both acoustic. The effect is some of Cale's best recordings ever. Every facet of Cale is on this album. The Island Years, Songs For Drella, Paris 1919, etc. Although all the songs here are great, and done beautifully, there are a few standout tracks. Dying on the Vine is done incredibly. The best version of the song ever. Darling I Need You is also a standout. Also, an incredibly beautiful version of Thoughtless Kind makes the album worth buying. All the other tracks are great, also. This album is more than essential for fans of Cale."