John Cale :: Fragments of a Rainy Season

caleJohn Cale is well-known as a man of many talents — producer / arranger / multi-instrumentalist / singer / songwriter / possessor of an insane scream, to name just a few. But one listen to his essential 1992 live album Fragments of a Rainy Season (just reissued/re-jigged by Domino Records) may be enough to convince you that his greatest skills are those of a live solo performer. With just acoustic piano and guitar, Cale delivers a devastating, note-perfect recital of his finest work, from well-loved favorites like “Child’s Christmas In Wales” and “Fear Is A Man’s Best Friend” to deeper cuts like the rollicking “Darling I Need You” and his gorgeous Warhol tribute “Style It Takes.” There’s also, of course, his stark rendition of “Hallelujah,” which as far as I’m concerned is the only cover of this Leonard Cohen tune. Inarguable!”

The new reissue reworks the running order of the original and adds some worthy bonus material (some with strings + pedal steel backing — dig the horror show “Heartbreak Hotel,” or the pounding “Waiting For The Man”) … but however you experience Fragments, you’re in for a treat. This is Cale at his unadorned best, raging against the dying of the light ’til the end.   words / t wilcox

Related: John Cale :: The Aquarium Drunkard Interview / John Cale :: The John Peel Session (1975)

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