Thursday, September 20, 2007

Baby, What You Want Me to Do?

The sole song that the repertoires of John Cale and Neil Young share is this Jimmy Reed chestnut. Many critics near and far have called both covers variants on "bad," but I love 'em! Maybe they "butchers the charm of the original." Maybe they're "sodden." But there's something about the song that does, Lord preserve us, call for playing it drunk, and these two covers - surprisingly similar in their 4AM stumblingness - heed that call.

Cale's version features tasty guitar playing from favorite guitarist and frequent touring companion Chris Spedding - I'm remembering that I really do love Helen of Troy, and Spedding is a major reason why - and a burbling rhythm track that really eases my burning heart. His vocal's not without charm, Starostin be damned - it's sung with the self-mocking knowingness of a guy who married the most unstable of the Girls Together Outrageously. Chagrin is the emotion on display here, but it's showed off with a wry smile, and that makes this a rare and worthwhile artifact in the Cale catalog.

2 comments:

Mark of the Asphodel said...

Now, that's unfair. I would argue that Miss Mercy was very nearly as unstable as Miss Cynderella. They were partners-in-crime, at any rate, at least according to Miss Pamela.

Andrew said...

Yeah, I have always thought that this was a great rendition.