Paris 1919

Paris 1919

Though John Cale is best known as the classically trained avant-garde musician who held down the bottom end for The Velvet Underground, he's had an inspired solo career that has forever sought new ground. 1973's Paris 1919 is one of his finest solo albums and easily his most accessible. With esteemed producer Chris Thomas at the controls, members of Little Feat providing the warm, sympathetic backing, and Cale's inventive orchestration complementing many of the tracks, Paris 1919 works as an impeccable song cycle, rich with poetic images and an inscrutable logic. It helped that Cale came to the sessions with several of his finest songs, including "A Child's Christmas in Wales" (a tip of the hat to poet Dylan Thomas, a fellow Welshman), "Hanky Panky Nohow," "Andalucia," "Half Past France," and the title track. "Macbeth" is the album's one rocker, with the remaining tales using a restrained approach that ends with the whispers of the gorgeous "Antarctica Starts Here." Flawless.

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