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Domino to Reissue Two Classic Nico Albums - 'The Marble Index' and 'Desertshore' - on March 29

The LPs - originally released on Elektra and Reprise, respectively - were her first albums to be produced by John Cale.

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Source: Domino

'The Marble Index' and 'Desertshore,' the two Nico albums set for reissue on Domino

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Although she’s arguably best known for her brief stint for one of the most famous cult bands of all time, Nico – yes, as in The Velvet Underground & Nico – also had a solo career, one that was possibly even more cult-y that the band that initially raised her profile, but it brought her considerable critical acclaim.

Domino has announced that two of those albums – 1968’s The Marble Index and 1970’s Desertshore – are being reissued on vinyl and CD on March 29 after spending many years out of print. These new editions of the albums, both of which were produced by Nico’s former VU bandmate, John Cale, feature audio mastered from the original tapes.

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Source: UMG Recordings

The cover art for Nico's debut solo album, 'Chelsea Girl,' released on Verve in 1967.

To set the stage for these albums, one should probably be aware of how Nico felt about her debut solo album, 1967’s Chelsea Girl and, well, as it happens, there’s a quote in the liner notes for the deluxe edition of The Velvet Underground & Nico that aptly sums up her feelings:

"I still cannot listen to it, because everything I wanted for that record, they took it away. I asked for drums, they said no. I asked for more guitars, they said no. And I asked for simplicity, and they covered it in flutes! ... They added strings, and— I didn't like them, but I could live with them. But the flute! The first time I heard the album, I cried and it was all because of the flute."

In other words, whatever Nico was going to do for the follow-up, it was absolutely, positively going to be of her choosing and damned well not of anyone else's.

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Indeed, that was the case, and it was a transformation aided in no small way by having a close encounter with Jim Morrison, frontman for the Doors, who encouraged her to write her own songs and pick up an instrument. The instrument she chose was the harmonium, and as you might expect, it’s all over The Marble Index, resulting in an LP which music journalist Lester Bangs once described as “the greatest piece of ‘avant-garde classical,’ ‘serious’ music of the last half of the 20th century so far.”

As for the follow-up, well, we'll just quote directly from the press release, if only because it sums up the album so well:

"Desertshore affirms that [Nico] had evolved into a more confident musician and Cale accentuates that growth with arrangements that soar skyward. Desertshore pulls, however obliquely, from recent tragedies in Nico’s life: the attempted murder of Andy Warhol ('The Falconer'); the death of her mother ('Mütterlein,' which Nico delivers in her native German) and the drowning of the Rolling Stones’ Brian Jones ('Janitor of Lunacy'). 'You are beautiful and you are alone,' Nico sings on 'Afraid,' words that cut to the heart of her complicated mythos."

The Marble Index tracklist

1. Prelude

2. Lawns Of Dawn

3. No One Is There

4. Ari’s Song

5. Facing The Wind

6. Julius Caesar (Memento Hodie)

7. Frozen Warnings

8. Evening Of Light

9. Roses In The Snow (Bonus Track)

10. Nibelungen (Bonus Track)

Desertshore tracklist

1. Janitor Of Lunacy

2. The Falconer

3. My Only Child

4. Le Petit Chevalier

5. Abschied

6. Afraid

7. Mutterlein

8. All That Is My Own


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