Wednesday, 10 November 2010

John Cale - Autobiography and an old recording

Now I have finished Bockris's biography of Lou Reed, I have moved onto John Cale's autobiography (written with Bockris), What's Welsh for Zen? This is a superb book - exactly what an autobiography of a musician should be like. I particularly enjoyed the early chapters about the pre-Velvet Underground stage when Cale was working with La Monte Young. Once again, I was inspired to listen to some of these recordings, but they are extremely hard going.

I once saw John Cale in concert at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in Soho. This was when I had my Sony Walkman Pro tape recorder and used to try and smuggle this in to all the show I saw. I went to this show with Steve Cleary, who lived just round the corner from me in Leytonstone. He was a real fan of John Cale and had most of his albums. He was then able to identify all the tracks on the tape I made. We sat at a table about 10 feet from Cale, who performed more or less solo. This certainly made recording difficult, though the end product was really good. It was definitely one of the best I ever made. A year or two ago I transferred the show to digital and posted it on a file sharing website.

So encouraged by my reading, I have been looking out for a few John Cale live shows. And much to my surprise I stumbled across a new upload of my Ronnie Scott's show. I have no idea where my copy of this now is, so was rather pleased to download it again. What I surprise. I left a comment for the newest uploader. In his view, this is another good reason why people should share their recordings - you never know when you might want to hear something you yourself recorded!

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