Paris 1919 Import, Original recording remastered
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The reissue is what I'm really reviewing, and if I were to rate it on its own I would give it three stars. It's a case of quantity over quality, with unfortunate results.
First, the good. The booklet has great new liner notes by a writer who thoroughly understands the album. Burned Out Affair, despite a flat, possibly drunken vocal, is quite interesting. Though I'm glad it was cut from the album proper, I'm equally glad to hear it. Two alternate versions are fantastic: the Drone Mix of Hanky Panky Nohow and the hidden instrumental take of Macbeth (with masterful electric slide guitar) give new insights into the material and are great listening on their own.
Second, the bad. Pretty much all the other sketches are not particularly interesting at best. The piano mix of Paris 1919, the vocal mix of Antarctica Starts Here, and the informal takes of Endless Plain of Fortune and Graham Green are all good listening, just nothing special or revealing. Some, however, have mumbled partial vocals, muddy arrangements, lyric mistakes, and pitch problems.
Sure, these things happen while recording. This is probably the most honest set of rehearsals and takes I've ever seen on a commercial record -- there appear to be no overdubs or edits of any kind. I'm not at all convinced that's a good thing, however. It seems to me that including alternate versions of every song was overkill, and even undermines the album itself with material that obviously was never meant for public consumption.Read more ›
If you read `mellow' as `boring', however, you'd be sadly mistaken - the songs here are built upon some lovely, memorable melodies and arrangements, but they're far from boring. Cale's lyrics here are as wry and intelligent as on any of his more raucous releases - there's insight, humor and irony aplenty in these tunes. He comments on an array of subjects - loneliness, history (and the lessons we either learn or don't, as the case may be), morality, longing, love, pretension, art, religion (this subject being mentioned/invoked more than a couple of times), and more. For instance, in `Hanky panky nohow' Cale sings: `Nothing frightens me more than religion at my door - I never answer panic knocking...' In `Andalucia', a beautiful love song, the image of `castles and Christians' is painted; and in `Paris 1919' which I read as a ghost story of sorts), the perceived threat or terror felt at the encounter with the unexplainable is answered with `I'm the bishop and I've come to claim you with my iron drum'.Read more ›
The 9 track original LP is just about the best LP to be released in the early 1970's (it was released in 1973) and the lousy sounding Warner Archives CD has remained a good catalog seller after all these years.
Now, UK Rhino has released a 20 track CD (US Rhino is too damn stupid to put it out here....). Even tho at the time of this review, Amazon has not updated their listing. Here's the extra tracks:
10.Burned Out Affair (amazing outtake....slightly flat vocals...could've used another take)
11.Child's Christmas In Wales (alt version)
12.Hanky Panky Nohow (drone mix)
13.The Endless Plain Of Fortune (alt version)
15.MacBeth (alt version)
16.Paris 1919 (string mix)
17.Graham Greene (rehearsal)
18.Half Past France (alt version)
19.Antarctia Starts Here (rehearsal)
20.Paris 1919 (piano mix)
21.HIDDEN TRACK; Macbeth (wild unissued backing track!)
.....wow these are just plain fabulous....early versions, rough rehearsals, alternative versions of 9 of the greatest pieces of serious pop music ever!)
Anyone who like this classic album needs this reissue.
Wouldn't it be nice for Amazon to update their listing?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I just want to point out that there are at least (and probably only) 2 very different versions of this album on the market: this version (which is also on the vinyl reissue and... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Joshua D. Sites
This review is for the 180 Gram Vinyl release, reissued on the 4 Men With Beards label. The music is fantastic (5 stars), but this vinyl reissue is sourced from a CD, not the... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Jules Ryan
A great album, deep and intriguing, remastered very well. Enjoy!Published 19 months ago by Mrs. Gayle Garza