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Baker's Dozen

"You Can't Escape Your Influence" - Mark Lanegan's Favourite Albums
Julian Marszalek , January 26th, 2012 04:35

In one of our best Baker's Dozens yet, Mark Lanegan talks Julian Marszalek through the most played discs in his collection


John Cale Paris 1919

I got into John Cale via The Velvet Underground. I love Lou Reed; Berlin, Street Hassle and Transformer are three great, great records but over the years I’ve really gotten into the Cale records. Again, they’re records that I will always listen to and one of the reasons is his voice – he’s one of my all-time favourite singers, especially when he’s straining a little bit. No matter what he sings – and oftentimes his lyrics are like paragraphs or chapters from a novel – it hits me in a way that makes me emotional. And I love all of his records.

This one in particular is great and his has three of my all-time favourite songs on it. It has a great sense of melancholy. ‘Hanky Panky Nohow’ has a wonderful yearning which is bizarre because the opening lyrics of that song are, “If the sacheting of gentlemen/Gives you grievance now and then” and I’m thinking, ‘Why does that make me so sad?’ [laughs] and ‘Why are you singing about elephants and cows and why is that making me so sad?’ But it does because the melody is so incredible. It makes me feel sad but in the best possible way.

I wasn’t even aware that the Little Feat guys were playing on it until maybe a couple of years ago when John was playing the Paris 1919 album in LA a couple of years ago. I did a few songs with him in the second half of the set – ‘Ghost Story’ and a Nico song – but whilst reading a preview of that show that I found out that the Little Feat guys had played on it and I was like, ‘Wow! This is not like anything I’ve heard those guys play!’ And it was because of that preview that I sang with Cale. I called his manager to get on the guest list and she said, ‘Would you like to do a couple of songs?’ and I was like, ‘Even better!’ So at least this is one Little Feat record that I love [laughs]!