Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Welsh Wednesday #43

#43: Fear Is A Man's Best Friend by John Cale

After all those young upstarts I featured last month, it's time for a true, distinguished veteran of the Welsh scene...

You all know who John Cale is; you all know what band he was in. There's no point therefore in giving you any biographical stuff. Well, other than my fave Cale factoid: in 1963, he took part in an 18-hour piano marathon when composer John Cage staged the first full-length public performance of Satie's Vexations. It was $5 a ticket, audience members could enter when they pleased and claim 5c back for every 20 minutes attended. Only six people were present at the end, and only one of them had been there from the start. At the climax, some wag shouted "Encore!"

Anyway, I digress. Cale is 73 years young now, but continues to be a respected musician, composer, producer and occasional actor. His solo career as a so-called 'rock musician' (for want of a better term) has been a bit of a rollercoaster, and his output has reflected that over the years. Despite spending much of his adult life in the USA, Cale still carries the Welsh lilt he acquired in his formative years in Carmarthenshire.

A couple of suggestions for Cale tracks have come my way[1], but in the end, I decided to go for Fear Is A Man's Best Friend, the opening track from his fourth studio solo album 'Fear' from 1974. It's one I've always liked, especially the crazy, screaming breakdown he seems to be having at the end. I might go for something a little 'easier' by Cale in a future post, but for now, this fits quite well with where I am in the world.

Here he is performing it live on the BBC with Chrissie Hynde and Nick Cave in attendance...

[1] I haven't ignored those suggestions, I'll probably revisit them for a future article. This track just fits the bill right now.


  1. The older I get, the more I appreciate John Cale. Excellent.

  2. I'd somehow forgotten (a) he was welsh, and (b) how GREAT record Fear is. It's the only one of his records I have, but it's just great!