Artist: JOHN CALE; Title: ANIMAL JUSTICE; Label; ILLEGAL; Format: 7" EP;
Cat. No.: IL003; Year: 1977; Country: UK
Some 10 years on from the Velvet's debut John Cale issued this 3 track EP "Animal Justice" on Miles Copeland's Illegal label at the height of punk, as you'd expect from the Welsh One at this point his career he's not taking prisoners. A case is in point is the opener on Side One "Chicken Shit" is pretty much about the vegetarian drummer in the band quitting after a) refusing to cut his hair when Cale and went for a more punk look, and b) after the refusal of doing a) when Cale cut the head off chicken live on stage (and not Ozzy as some would have it) just to really piss said drummer off. Next up you get a rather good version of Chuck Berry's "Memphis" on which Cale displays his Rock'n'Roll in no uncertain terms, and it's a pretty faithful interpretation compared to say the direction taken on 'Heartbreak Hotel'.
Side two of the EP (and the reason it's classed as an EP rather than 3 track single - or Maxi-Single of you're of an early 70's persuasion) is devoted entirely to 8 plus minutes that is the somewhat amazing "Hedda Gabbler". Loosely based on the narrative of Ibsen's play it's Cale at his best - all the elements kept in check and has a spectral grace to it with the electric piano the main instrument, with guitar fills and other instruments coming when needed, and the synth stings giving that underlying sense of menace. Which shouldn't come as too much of surprise as this is a John Cale song after all!