John Cale – Conflict and Catalysis (Productions and arrangements 1966 -2006) (CD Big Beat)


John Cale has had a very successful career as a producer/arranger with classic albums/singles by Nico, The Stooges, Patti Smith, The Modern Lovers, Sham 69, Nick Drake and The Jesus Lizard all having his talents applied to them.

Conflict and Catalysis collects 20 tracks produced and/or arranged by him. The collection shows how diverse a range of artists have wanted to be associated with him and have his name on their records and you go from tracks as classic and peerless as the Stooges “I Wanna Be Your Dog” or the Modern Lovers “Pablo Picasso” to more lacklustre pieces by Disco Clone and Siouxsie and the Banshees.

It’s interesting to watch Cale moving from those bands so clearly influenced by the Velvets  in the early days of his producing to more unlikely bands to seek out his talents later on such as the Medieval Babes and Squeeze.

I’m sure licensing plays a part here in the choices but there are for me some Cale productions that should be in here, in part for his place in their history and also for their own value. There is no Nick Drake or Silverhead. From the Punk era Sham 69’s “I Don’t Wanna” and Menace’s “I Need Nothing“ singles should have been included. Punk seems to have been somewhat bypassed.

But for all the omissions this is a fairly comprehensive overview with appearances from The Stooges to Nico to the Happy Mondays to Goyaland to the Necessaries. DB