Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Desert Island Disks - a continuing series

If I remember correctly, John Cale's 1973 LP Paris 1919 was not originally released in the US. Regardless I had to hunt it down via Gem Imports (anyone remember those good old days?) after reading about it in Stereo Review. Upon arrival I carefully removed the vinyl, removed all surface dust with a disc washer, and placed it on my turntable. What followed was one of those little epiphanies that occur too rarely. A collection of songs that hang together as a single unit of work via the underlying mood and textures. Not to mention the lyrics, which globe trot from post-WW1 Paris to Antarctica.

An obvious choice for this post would have been the title track by virtue of its haunting melodies and ghostly back story. But this album has one rocker that deserves equal attention. A chunky rhythm section starts Macbeth off like gangbusters. In a typical obtuse John Cale fashion the lyrics do not give away enough information to make it clear who or what the song is about. But it does not matter for the music is upbeat and joyful, and the fiery guitar work by Lowell George of Little Feat is top notch. Something about this groove here reminds me of Paul MacCartney and Wings circa the same 73-74 period. Cale was firing on all cylinders.

And you know it's true
You never saw things quite that way
She knew it all
And made you see things all her way
Somebody knows for sure
It's gotta be me or it's gotta be you
Come on along and tell me it's alright
It's alright by me

Macbeth (press ctl-enter)

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