Song of the Day, October 22: Chinese Envoy by John Cale

CaleCEnvoyLiveToday’s song is Chinese Envoy by John Cale. It was originally recorded for his stark, experimental album Music For A New Society. Like most of that album, it was created on the fly in the studio. A tale told in fragments, it hints of intrigue, power, and danger, with an overlay of sorrow.

She was a princess, much lower than people thought
A master of nothing a mistress of something she thought

Chinese Envoy fares better than most of the album with the original version featuring delicate guitar work and minimal avant noise. Like the best of Music, however, it was much upgraded as a regular part of Cale’s live show. With a simple piano backing and a clear vocal, the story is more brittle and harrowing. This was captured perfectly on Cale’s 1992 concert disc Fragments of a Rainy Season.

Enjoy this powerful live performance today.


About Robert Hulshof-Schmidt
Freelance writer, researcher, online comic vendor, and project manager. Fan of a wide range of music -- especially folk and 80s pop -- vintage comics, British TV, and LGBT fiction.

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