Note: With apologies for this reposting, due to technical glitches beyond my control.

The excellent recent article The Story Behind Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah made me start thinking about my favorite version of the song. Again.

Years ago I wandered around Goodwill, looking for treasure. I always gravitate toward the CDs in any store that has them. A cover caught my eye. Why I do not know, since it was minimal at best. It was John Cale’s Fragments of a Rainy Season. I turned it over. Some of the song titles leapt out at me, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night in particular. I love that poem, by Welsh poet Dylan Thomas.

On the strength of the Welsh influence, I got the CD. I’ve traveled around Wales and it quickly became one of my favorite places I’d ever been. The coastal areas in particular are breathtaking and unforgettable.

That CD has become one I have to force myself to stop listening to. Particularly the above mentioned songs and another, Paris 1919. Cale’s piano skills are amazing and his unique, emotion filled voice accompanies the songs and music beautifully. That in combination with gorgeous songs, several of Welsh origin, makes Fragments of a Rainy Season one of my favorite albums. A treasure indeed.

I listened to Hallelujah several times after reading the article. The way John Cale sings it makes it the lament of a man broken by love. To me at least. It seems that song is many things to many people.  Then I listened to my other favorites…more than once.  Eventually, I managed to lower the music and back away slowly…until the next time I cannot resist its allure. 

I like The Velvet Underground…the band Cale is most famous for, but I love his Fragments of a Rainy Season to the point of near obsession. I’d never heard of him, before chance brought me one of my favorite CDs. Now, because of it, I’ll never forget him.

John Cale Singing Hallelujah

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