Fragments of a Rainy Season

(1992), 9/10
Fragments of a Rainy Season is a live album, compiled from different dates on John Cale’s 1992 tour, with Cale performing completely solo and accompanying himself on piano and acoustic guitar. The album cherry picks selections from his back catalogue, with highlights like ‘Paris 1919’, ‘Guts’, and ‘(I Keep A) Close Watch’ from his 1970s albums. It also showcases a strong 1980s for Cale; the three songs from Words for the Dying sound much better in this stripped down context, as well as tracks from his collaborations with Brian Eno and Lou Reed. Fragments for a Rainy Season closes with Cale’s version of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ – it was Cale’s version that Jeff Buckley picked up on and turned into a standard. With a strong selection of songs, and the intimate performances, Fragments is a masterful live album, to the point where if I was limited to just one John Cale album, Fragments of a Rainy Season would be my pick.

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