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14 August 2009

Kevin Ayers / John Cale / Eno / Nico - 'June 1, 1974' (Island)

I think this is actually one of the most overrated live albums ever, and I wouldn't own it except I found it for $2 somewhere and John Cale's 'Heartbreak Hotel' is pretty great. Actually the Eno songs are cool too, starting out with 'Driving Me Backwards' which is a wonderful and perverse choice to start an album with, though I would never reach for this when Here Come the Warm Jets is just a few shelves down. The four artists here don't really do a whole lot with each other and the record is dominated by Ayers whose renditions are somewhat lackluster. But as I mentioned, 'Heartbreak Hotel' is pretty killer-- and it was performed because the night before the show (May 31, 1974), Ayers banged Mrs. John Cale. Of course, the liner notes don't say anything about this, but it's sure in the performance. Some wasted dude named Rabbit plays organ on almost every track and I'd like to know what happened to him. Robert Wyatt also fails to liven things up. But maybe I'm just being a bit negative because I'm starting to get sick of Kevin Ayers by this point. Nico supposedly performed 'Janitor of Lunacy', but it was cut in favor of the Doors cover 'The End'. I used to think her studio version of this was super intense but now I'm not sure that I can ever bear to sit through it again. (Well, I'll have to when I get to the N's). Maybe this just isn't the night for me.

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