John Cale

John Cale & Opinions on Annie Lennox

Jim and Greg welcome musician, producer and Velvet Underground founder John Cale for a conversation and live acoustic performance.

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Last week Jammie Thomas, the first of 20,000 people the RIAA accused of infringement to go to trial, lost her battle with the record labels. A jury in Duluth, MN found Thomas liable for infringing copyright on 24 major-label recordings and awarded the record industry $220,000 in damages. Most of the other people sued settled out of court, but as her attorney Brian Toder explains to Jim and Greg, Thomas insisted that she did not download copyrighted songs to make them available for sharing in a folder on the KaZaA peer-to-peernetwork. Eric Bangeman, the managing editor of the website Ars Technica, also speaks to Jim and Greg about this issue, and he notes that this was a key point in the trial. The judge in the trial instructed the jury that the prosecution didn‘t have to prove that any music was actually shared, just that Thomas made the files available for sharing. Toder and his legal team are gearing up for an appeal, and Thomas has proclaimed herself a permanent thorn in the side of the record industry, but until actual laws are changed to reflect the digital age, it’s doubtful any thorns will be able to penetrate the thick hide of the RIAA.


John Cale

John Cale is known for many things: co-founding The Velvet Underground, producing major albums for The Stooges and Patti Smith, and doing one of the best covers of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah." So when John Cale was touring in support of his most recent album Black Acetate in 2006, Jim and Greg wanted him to stop by the Sound Opinions studio to be their first guest on public radio. Now almost 100 episodes later, we wanted to revisit that terrific conversation.

During Cale's visit, the three men covered everything from Brian Eno to Lou Reed to Snoop Dogg. And, Cale played two of his songs live: "Set Me Free" and "Gravel Drive," which he names as his favorite track on the record. He explains to Jim and Greg that this song was his way of talking to his daughter about some complicated issues, and why“Dad”sometimes wasn‘t around. Greg notes that despite Cale’s admitted anger, and his undeniable punk rock attitude, a number of the songs on Black Acetate are equally heartfelt and beautiful.

reviewSongs of Mass Destruction (Bonus Track Version)Songs of Mass Destruction available on iTunes

Annie Lennox Songs of Mass Destruction

Songs of Mass Destruction is pop diva Annie Lennox's first album in over four years, but for her die-hard fans, anything she does is well worth the wait. On this effort, she not only tackles life post-divorce, but also the African AIDS crisis. The track "Sing" features 23 singers including Madonna, k.d. lang, and Celine Dion, and was written to raise awareness about the pandemic of HIV/AIDS in South Africa. Both Jim and Greg praise Lennox for this song and her always impressive, soulful voice. But Greg for one wishes she wasn't attracted to such glossy production. For Songs of Mass Destruction, she hired Glen Ballard, the producer who is responsible for some of the most generic,“schlocky”albums ever made by people like Barbra Streisand and Aerosmith. The slickness doesn‘t allow Lennox’s voice to shine, so Greg has to give this album a Try It. Jim agrees Lennox would benefit from a turn with a more authentic producer and grittier band, but he can't deny her voice. He gives it a Buy It.



“The Look of Love”Dusty Springfield

The Annie Lennox review prompted Greg to think about other UK soul singers. Of course there's Amy Winehouse now, but the mother of them all was Dusty Springfield. Many people know Dusty for her song "Son of a Preacher Man," which was featured in the movie Pulp Fiction. But the track Greg wants to take with him to the desert island is "The Look of Love," which was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. For Greg it highlights Dusty's subtle sexy voice, one that is almost doing a duet with the saxophone. And it also summed up, at one time, what Greg thought marriage was going to be all about: lust, romance and glamorous hair.

Featured Songs

  1. Journey, Don't Stop Believing, Escape, Columbia, 1981
  2. Prefuse 73, Beaten Thursdays, Perparations, Beat, 2007
  3. John Cale, Perfect, Black Acetate, EMI, 2005
  4. John Cale, Hush, Black Acetate, EMI, 2005
  5. Snoop Dogg, Drop It Like Its Hot, Drop It Like Its Hot, Interscope, 2004
  6. Brian Eno and John Cale, Been There Done That, Wrong Way Up, Opal, 1990
  7. John Cale, Gun, Fear, Island, 1974
  8. John Cale, Set Me Free (Live on Sound Opinions), Walking on Locusts, Island, 2005
  9. John Cale,“Gravel Drive (Live on Sound Opinions),”Black Acetate, 2005
  10. John Cale and Lou Reed, Style It Takes, Songs for Drella, Sire, 1990
  11. Annie Lennox, Love Is Blind, Songs of Mass Destruction, Arista, 2007
  12. Annie Lennox, Sing, Songs of Mass Destruction, Arista, 2007
  13. Annie Lennox, Ghosts In My Machine, Songs of Mass Destruction, Arista, 2007
  14. Annie Lennox, Lost, Songs of Mass Destruction, Arista, 2007
  15. Dusty Springfield, Son of a Preacher Man, Dusty In Memphis, Atlantic, 1969
  16. Dusty Springfield, The Look of Love, The Look of Love, Mercury, 1967
  17. The Replacements, I Will Dare, Let It Be, Twin Tone, 1984
  18. Steve Earle, Satellite Radio, Washington Square Serenade, New West, 2007
  19. Tom Waits, Sixteen Shells From Thirty-Ought Six, Swordfishtrombones, Island, 1983
  20. Radiohead, Everything in its Right Place, Kid A, Parlophone/Capitol, 2000

Footnotes RIAA Announces New Round Of Music Theft Lawsuits Greg on the Jammie Thomas trial Ars Technica John Cale The Stooges Patti Smith Black Acetate Songs of Mass Destruction Annie Lennox Annie Lennox's Sing album Glen Ballard Barbra Streisand Aerosmith Amy Winehouse Pulp Fiction soundtrack“The Look of Love”lyrics Anyone Who Had A Heart: The Songs of Burt Bacharach and Hal David Dusty Springfield's hair