I’m going to be in New York City for the first time in several years tonight, and it’s going to be a New York City without Lou Reed in it. Weird. Come over to Union Pool, hear some tunes and drink a toast to the man.
I’ve gone through and rounded up the still active links to Lou/VU rarities that have been posted over the last year or so. There are some other things I’ll get around to re-posting once this tour is over. Until then …
Chic Mystique - The Velvet Underground
An April 1966 performance at The Dom in NYC, later used as the soundtrack to Jonas Mekas’ film “Walden.” Is it good? Yes, it’s totally awesome. The mighty Moe Tucker lays down an immovable proto-motorik (protorik?) pulse, as Cale, Reed and Morrison wreak havoc all around her. You can almost see the strobe lights.
Boston Tea Party, January 10, 1969 - The Velvet Underground
So says Jonathan Richman, who was there: “[T]he crowd was FUN! Wall-to-wall hippies, bikers, Harvard students, Northeastern students, fashion models, professors, drug dealers, art teachers, groupies, MIT students, photographers, local thugs, local disc jockeys, skinny-bohemian-artist girls, visiting dignitaries from the New York art scene, and the royalty of the Boston music set — the local singers and guitar-players in their mod suits strolling around with their beautiful girlfriends.”
Matrix Rehearsals, November 1969 - The Velvet Underground
Listen in on the VU as they try out new songs like “Just Too Much” (“Rock on, Sterl!” Lou exclaims at one point), “Lisa Says” and the embryonic slow version of “Sweet Jane.” “Bonnie Brown” features Reed singing some of “Suzie Q” towards the end! A fun, loose document.
Matrix Tapes Sampler - The Velvet Underground
After all these years, is it still possible that some of the Velvets’ greatest work remains unreleased and mostly unheard? Absolutely.
Sister Ray, live 69 - The Velvet Underground
The End of Cole Avenue version. Instead of blowing the house down, this “Ray” is almost playful in the way it eases its way into the maelstrom. The Velvets are locked in tight with each other, Yule’s organ swirling, Morrison’s guitar dancing nimbly over the groove, Tucker switching tempos at will, Lou’s vocals going from seductive whispers to shrieks of … ecstasy? Terror? A little bit of both, I guess. “Ooooooeee! What’s gonna happen to me?” he wonders at the end. “Ohhhh no! I don’t care and I don’t know!” Exactly.
Max’s Kansas City, August 1970 Sampler - The Velvet Underground
Another “sampler” of unreleased/un-bootlegged VU live recordings, this time from the band’s final days as the house band for Max’s Kansas City in the summer of ‘70.
1970 Demos - Lou Reed
Visit with his Lou-ness way back in late 1970, right after he left the Velvet Underground. These solo acoustic demos were probably recorded to create interest in Lou Reed, the solo artist — there are tunes that would end up on his self-titled debut, Transformer, and Berlin.
Little Sister - Nico and Lou Reed
Old friends play together sweetly on a Cale-penned Chelsea Girl tune. In some alternate reality, these two had a Sonny & Cher-style variety show.
Berlin Acetate - Lou Reed
Check out an alternate mix of Lou’s doom/gloom masterpiece, with a little bit of music that didn’t make the final cut.
Bottom Line, 1978 - Lou Reed
Two tracks from the Take No Prisoners era that I’m kind of fascinated by — “Heroin” and a medley of “Waiting For The Man” and “Temporary Thing.” I think parts of the latter were edited onto the official Take No Prisoners take — but you need to hear the whole thing in all of its slow, sleazoid glory, as Lou and his Everyman Band boogie mercilessly for 22+ minutes.
What Goes On, live 93 - The Velvet Underground
Even though the reunion tour ended in general acrimony, the reunited VU sound like they’re having fun: “Go, Sterl!” Lou hollers encouragingly at the start of the ever-chooglin’ instrumental break.