John Cale played a pivotal role in the seminal creak, howl and rumble of the Velvet Underground’s first two LPs. After that, he embarked upon a fascinating solo career that continues today. When, however, Reed engineered his ousting, Cale made a sideways move into production that began in 1969 and ran in tandem with his solo outpourings.
With Cale’s classical training, this was a natural progression and this fantastic compilation cleverly fuses together a 20-track sampler of Cale at the controls. We have The Stooges’ vital I Wanna Be Your Dog, with the producer’s pivotal one-note piano throughout. Rather than a track from Nico’s 1969 LP, the Cale-arranged The Marble Index, we get Afraid, from her 1970 Cale-arranged- and-produced album Desertshore. Aptly, Cale also produced Pablo Picasso from The Modern Lovers’ 1973 demos, released in 1976 as Home Of The Hits and gloriously referencing the Velvets’ (Cale-devoid) third album. The producer was also the perfect foil for Patti Smith’s seminal Horses.
Cale spread himself thickly from thereon in, from the little known Ventilator to Siouxsie & The Banshees, Happy Mondays and Mediæval Bæbes. Aptly, the compilation ends with Spinning Away from Land, Cale’s 1990 album with fellow maverick Eno.