The first of Cale's albums I bought, guided (I think) by its inclusion in the NME's 1985 list of the Top 100 albums of all time.
To me it's always sounded like there's a really great album in here, struggling to make itself heard through a dense eiderdown — or from the room next door. Something about the sound of the record is just weak, especially the vocal, which too often blends into the background of the mix, while the phrasing has uncharacteristically (for Cale) smooth edges. I wondered at first if it this might be something to do with the pressing, or the production, in which case it might be fixed by the remastered version that came out about five years ago. The free streaming services all seem to have the original version, so I can't check, but it seems to me there's no amount of digital cleaning up that could add some bite to the vocal when it's just not there.
As always, Fragments of a Cale Season has plenty of insight and anecdote, but somehow I'm just not that bothered by Paris 1919. Guy also has a much deeper appreciation, prompted by seeing the album performed live a year ago. I didn't bother to book a ticket, and even turned down Guy's offer, a day or two beforehand, of a spare in the third row. That last bit may be more to do with parenthood, being knackered and short of cash, than the quality of the album.
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