Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Our Founding Fathers, Seventh in a Series

John Cale - Live in Stockholm, Sweden (1975)
John Cale - Live at the Rockpalast, Essen, Germany (10-14-84)

I think of one thing immediately when I hear the name of John Cale - fear. Sorry, I mean "Fear Is a Man's Best Friend," the song. It was the first song I heard by him, sitting dopily in our kitchen on a darkening Saturday winter afternoon, watching the sun set early behind the mountainous piles of snow either side of the road at the end of our driveway and pretending that I was doing my homework. But really listening to Harry Rag's tribute to John Lennon on WORT. This would have been probably January or so, 1981. I dunno why Harry threw that song in there - he jams mysterious playlists sometimes - but he had his reasons. It was a couple two or three years before I finally scored a copy of the album. And longer yet until my brother taped it for me because I didn't have a turntable, only a boombox, putting Jeffrey Lee Pierce's mindblowing Wildweed on the flip.

So, I was a John Cale fan before I was a VU fanatic. I didn't have my life-changing introduction to Lou and Company for about another year after that. Damn. I always remembered it as the other way around before this. Funny thing, memory. We rearrange a lot of stuff in our heads to suit our later preconceptions of ourselves. Was I never really the first man on Mars, then?

Two great short concert selections from the coolest Welshman in the world. Got Welsh blood in my mongrel-American veins myself, going back to a John W___ who snuck into Canada back in the 1780s. The family ashes didn't get hauled south to Wisconsin until about 70 years later. There's a big cemetery full of dead people who share my last name in a really nice little town in southwestern Wisconsin. Spent a lovely afternoon there a few years ago, chowing at the local diner and walking amongst the marbles. Good times.

Before I get all weepy about graveyards, one of our favorite trip destinations for some reason, I wanted to talk a little more about the subculture of bootlegs. These two shows come from one pirate CD, released in Europe as Down At The End Of Lonely Street. Very common for audience recordings and radio broadcasts to become "legitimate" releases in Europe due to differences in the copyright laws. Especially in Italy - pretty much everything goes there! (If my info is out of date, somebody correct me, please). You can buy the same Pink Floyd concert packaged a dozen different ways, cut up and rearranged to make it look like a different show, songs added or left out, inferior versions used, etc. Prime example - there's one song here that's from neither concert but was tacked on to fill out the disc. Don't worry - I've labelled it for you because I love you. These kind of releases create a discographical nightmare that only true weirdos relish the sorting of.

Thank god for weirdos.

Remember, kiddies - buy shit!

Now playing: Luna - Crazy People
via FoxyTunes

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thanks for these - saw Cale on the 75 show was on the floor front row directly in front of him - great show - was in the days when he came on wearing a ski mask, fencing mask AND shades all at the same time. After that though I did take all the reports [including his own] of his drug crazed stage antics with a bit of salt - at least twice i caught him peering over his shades and carefully working out his next move/tumble. always trust a classicist to plot his next move....