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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Back in the summer of 1977 I was flipping through sides at J&R Music World when I came across this. Well, I'm not made of iron you know. I'm sure there was something
else that I'd meant to buy that day, but I snapped up Guts as soon as I saw it, and I slapped that puppy down on the turntable as soon as I got home. I was not disappointed. Guts, a compilation of John Cale's work with Island Records, featured some amazing players doing some of the toughest sounding rock and roll I'd ever heard. It was and is the sort of record you'd have hoped the members of the Velvet Underground would have made after imploding, and with the arguable exception of Uncle Lou's Street Hassle probably as close as any of them will ever come to that ideal. There wasn't a lot of Cale on the racks at the time, which is why Guts was out there in the first place, but I knew I had to hear more of this stuff. Paris 1919 which I bought next, is a charming record, but it wasn't what I was looking for. I wanted slash and yowl. Then one day, in the cut-out bin, I spotted a copy of Vintage Violence. Well, with a name like that-- hell, with a cover like that-- what could go wrong? Hey, it even had Garland Jeffries playing on it! I brought it home and discovered to my dismay that it was one of the worst buck ninety-nine records I'd ever heard. It was
sort of like Paris 1919, only with no good songs and lots and lots of orchestra. It was nothing like the wonderful Guts. I mention it for two reasons. First, and most importantly, if you ever see a copy of Vintage Violence, just leave it be. Second, I was reading this interview with Cale, and he mentioned it. "Perhaps I was wrong", thought I, so I pulled it up on Spotify. I was not wrong. Vintage Violence is so bad it is the worst album I have ever streamed on the internet. Too bad. It really is a great looking cover.

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