John Cale will re-issue the classic live album Fragments of a Rainy Season, featuring his revered interpretation of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ amongst many solo versions from his enduring catalogue and previously unreleased outtakes, on December 9th 2016 through Double Six / Domino.
Alongside the announcement, Cale has shared a new video for ‘Hallelujah’, directed by Abby Portner – watch it now below and read more on his version as featured on Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History below.
Revisionist History: Hallelujah by Malcolm Gladwell
The following transcript is taken from the ‘Revisionist History’ podcast ‘Hallelujah’. Reproduced with the kind permission of Malcolm Gladwell.
One night, Cohen is playing this version at the Beacon Ballroom in New York and the musician John Cale happens to be in the audience. Cale is a legend, used to be in The Velvet Underground, a really pivotal figure in the rock ‘n roll avant-garde. He hears this song come out of Cohen’s mouth and he’s blown away. So he asks Cohen to send him the lyrics. He wants to do a version of it. So Cohen faxes him fifteen pages – who knows what the lyrics actually are at this point! Cale says, that for his version, he took the “cheeky” parts. He ends up using the first two verses of the original combined with three verses from the live performance. And Cale changes some words – most importantly, he changes the theme and brings back the biblical references that Cohen had in the album version.
Cale is really the one who cracks the code of Hallelujah according to Alan Light. This cover version appears on a Leonard Cohen tribute album put together by a French music magazine – it was called “I’m Your Fan”- came out in 1991. Almost nobody bought “I’m Your Fan”, except, weirdly, me. I think I found it in a remainder bin in a little record store on Colombia Road in Washington, DC. Another person who bought “I’m Your Fan” was a woman named Janine, who lived in Park Slope in Brooklyn. She was good friends with a young aspiring singer named Jeff Buckley. He used to house sit at her apartment. And one time, when Buckley’s there, he happens to see the CD of “I’m Your Fan” – he plays it – he hears John Cale’s version of Hallelujah and decides to do his own version of that version. He performs it at a tiny little bar in the East Village called Sin-e where he happens to be heard by an executive at Columbia Records. So Columbia Records ends up signing Buckley and he records his version of Hallelujah for the album ‘Grace’ which ends up being Buckley’s first, and only, studio album. It came out in 1994.
Now I’m guessing that Buckley’s version is the one you’re most familiar with – it’s the famous one, the definitive one. It’s not really a cover of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’, it’s a cover of John Cale’s cover of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ only with Cale’s piano swapped out for a guitar and of course, Buckley swaps out Cale’s voice for his own extraordinary voice.
Fragments of a Rainy Season is the the first live John Cale album to feature him performing solo and "unplugged" – before that term became a mid-'90s buzzword.
In contrast to the jaundiced punk truculence of Sabotage/Live (1979) or Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1986), Fragments gives us Cale at his most melodic and moving, a mellowed and certainly a soberer man in a Yamamoto jacket and a lopsided haircut running through a selection of his prettiest songs.
It's a Cale many of us love deeply, a man alone at a concert-hall Steinway revisiting the pop-rock of 'Paris 1919' and 'A Child's Christmas in Wales', as wistful and whimsical as any '70s singer-songwriter holding court at L.A.'s Troubadour club.
On Fragments of a Rainy Season – fragments of pain from a long and sometimes mystifying career – the rain comes down in buckets.
Fragments of a Rainy Season will be released on limited edition triple gatefold 12” vinyl, standard double 12” vinyl, double CD and digital download.
Pre-order on limited edition triple gatefold 12” vinyl from Domino Mart HERE
Pre-order on standard double 12” vinyl from Domino Mart HERE
Pre-order on double CD HERE
Pre-order digitally HERE
Steve Mason has announced details of the release of his new album, Meet The Humans, which is out on Double Six on Friday 26th February 2016.
Meet the Humans is his third solo album following Boys Outside (2010) and Monkey Minds In The Devil’s Time (2013).
The track listing of the 11-track album is as follows:
1. Water Bored
4. Another Day
5. Run Away
6. To A Door
7. Hardly Go Through
8. Through My Window
9. Planet Sizes
10. Like Water
11. Words In My Head
Planet Sizes, the first track to be revealed from the album, is accompanied by an animated video directed by Anna Ginsburg (http://www.annaginsburg.co.uk) which can be viewed below.
Written at home by Mason, the tracks were then rehearsed in Brighton with touring band mates Steve Duffield and Greg Nielson, before being recorded with Elbow keyboardist and producer Craig Potter at Blueprint Studios in Salford. Recorded in the studios ‘big room’, an ex-factory space with floor to ceiling windows, the album took shape during a smooth and enjoyable six weeks in the early summer of 2015.
Following from his ‘double political concept album’ ‘Monkey Minds In The Devil’s Time’ this album is a move towards a more simple ethic; ‘an album where each song is a separate entity, where there is no great narrative running through it.’
‘Meet The Humans’ is shot through with a sense of renewal following Steve’s recent move to Brighton, swinging musically across dance, pop, folk, dub, and deep house influences. It’s a record which repeatedly returns to core themes, the possibility of others to redeem the self, the opportunity of change for the better in the individual, the joy of life and the world we inhabit, it’s arguably the most complete and direct of Steve’s long discography - eleven personal stories combined into one positive and proper whole, the sweep of the human condition written large and full of love and hope and joy.
Steve has also announced a couple of shows around the release of the record. Further shows will be announced shortly.
The list of current dates is as follows:
10th Southampton Engine Rooms
11th Brighton Concorde 2
Tickets for both shows are available via www.seetickets.com