|Lou Reed - France Single 1973|
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Some Artwork Included
The career of Lou Reed defies capsule summarization. Like David Bowie (whom Reed directly inspired in many ways), he has made over his image many times, mutating from theatrical glam rocker to strung-out junkie to avant-garde noiseman to straight rock & roller to your average guy. Few would deny Reed's immense importance and considerable achievements. As has often been written, he expanded the vocabulary of rock & roll lyrics into the previously forbidden territory of kinky sex, drug use (and abuse), decadence, transvestites, homosexuality, and suicidal depression. As has been pointed out less often, he remained (and remains) committed to using rock & roll as a forum for literary, mature expression well into middle age, without growing lyrically soft or musically complacent. By and large, he's taken on these challenging duties with uncompromising honesty and a high degree of realism. For these reasons, he's often cited as punk's most important ancestor. It's often overlooked, though, that he's equally skilled at celebrating romantic joy, and rock & roll itself, as he is at depicting harrowing urban realities. With the exception of Neil Young, no other star who rose to fame in the '60s continued to push himself so diligently into creating work that is meaningful and contemporary.
Loaded Although Reed achieved his greatest success as a solo artist, his most enduring accomplishments were as the leader of the Velvet Underground in the '60s. If Reed had never made any solo records, his work as the principal lead singer and songwriter for the Velvets would have still ensured his stature as one of the greatest rock visionaries of all time. the Velvet Underground are discussed at great length in many other sources, but it's sufficient to note that the four studio albums they recorded with Reed at the helm are essential listening, as is much of their live and extraneous material.
"Heroin," "Sister Ray," "Sweet Jane," "Rock and Roll," "Venus in Furs," "All Tomorrow's Parties," "What Goes On," and "Lisa Says" are just the most famous classics that Reed wrote and sang for the group. As innovative as the Velvets were at breaking lyrical and instrumental taboos with their crunching experimental rock, they were unappreciated in their lifetime. Five years of little commercial success was undoubtedly a factor in Reed leaving the group he had founded in August 1970, just before the release of their most accessible effort, Loaded. Although Reed's songs and streetwise, sing-speak vocals dominated the Velvets, he was perhaps more reliant upon his talented collaborators than he realized, or is even willing to admit to this day. The most talented of these associates was John Cale, who was apparently fired by Reed in 1968 after the Velvets' second album (although the pair have worked together on various other projects since then).
|Lou Reed - US Promo Only August 1974|
TransformerReed got a shot in the arm (no distasteful pun intended) when David Bowie and Mick Ronson produced his second album, Transformer. A more energetic set that betrayed the influence of glam rock, it also included his sole Top 20 hit, "Walk on the Wild Side," and other good songs like "Vicious" and "Satellite of Love." It also made him a star in Britain, which was quick to appreciate the influence Reed had exerted on Bowie and other glam rockers. Reed went into more serious territory on Berlin (1973), its sweet orchestral production coating lyrical messages of despair and suicide. In some ways Reed's most ambitious and impressive solo effort, it was accorded a vituperative reception by critics in no mood for a nonstop bummer (however elegantly executed). Unbelievably, in retrospect, it made the Top Ten in Britain, though it flopped stateside.
Sally Can't Dance Having been given a cold shoulder for some of his most serious (if chilling) work, Reed apparently decided he was going to give the public what it wanted. He had guitarists Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner give his music more of a pop-metal, radio-friendly sheen. More disturbingly, he decided to play up to the cartoon junkie role that some in his audience seemed eager to assign to him. Onstage, that meant shocking bleached hair, painted fingernails, and simulated drug injections. On record, it led to some of his most careless performances. One of these, the 1974 album Sally Can't Dance, was also his most commercially successful, reaching the Top Ten, thus confirming both Reed's and the audience's worst instincts. As if to prove he could still be as uncompromising as anyone, he unleashed the double album Metal Machine Music, a nonstop assault of electronic noise. Opinions remain divided as to whether it was an artistic statement, a contract quota-filler, or a slap in the face to the public.
|Lou Reed - US Promo Only May 1973|
The Bells At the end of the '70s, The Bells set the tone for most of his future work. Reed would settle down; he would play it straight; he would address serious, adult concerns, including heterosexual romance, with sincerity. Not a bad idea, but though the albums that followed were much more consistent in tone, they remained erratic in quality and, worse, could occasionally be quite boring. The recruitment of Robert Quine as lead guitarist helped, and The Blue Mask (1982) and New Sensations (1984) were fairly successful, although in retrospect they didn't deserve the raves they received from some critics at the time. Quine, however, would also find Reed too difficult to work with for an extended period. New York (1989) heralded both a commercial and critical renaissance for Reed, and in truth it was his best work in quite some time, although it didn't break any major stylistic ground. Reed works best when faced with a challenge, which arrived when he collaborated with former partner John Cale in 1990 on a song cycle for the recently deceased Andy Warhol. In both its recorded and stage incarnations, this was the most experimental work that Reed had devised in quite some time.
Magic and LossMagic and Loss (1992) returned him to the more familiar straight rock territory of New York, again to critical raves. The re-formation of the Velvet Underground for a 1993 European live tour could not be considered an unqualified success, however. European audiences were thrilled to see the legends in person, but critical reaction to the shows was mixed, and critical reaction to the live record was tepid. More distressingly, old conflicts reared their head within the band once again, and the reunion ended before it had a chance to get to America. Cale and Reed at this point seem determined never to work with each other again (the death of Velvet Underground guitarist Sterling Morrison in 1995 seemed to permanently ice prospects of more VU projects).
|The Velvet Underground - US Promo Only Mach 1971|
Ecstasy 2000 saw Reed's first release for Reprise Records, Ecstasy, a glorious return to raw and straightforward rock, a tour de force that many agreed was his finest work since New York.
Another collaboration with Robert Wilson, POE-try, followed in 2001 and continued its worldwide stage run through the year. Including new music by Reed and words adapted from the macabre texts of Edgar Allan Poe, POE-try led to Reed's highly ambitious next album, The Raven. Animal Serenade, a double-disc set recorded at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles during his 2003 world tour, was issued in spring 2004. The live effort is Reed's tribute of sorts to his celebrated Rock N Roll Animal concert album, which was released 30 years before. In 2007, Reed released Hudson River Wind Meditations, a four-song experimental sound collage that celebrated both the best and worst aspects of Metal Machine Music. In 2011, he joined forces with heavy metal legends Metallica to create Lulu, an album of fresh studio material. Written by Reed, with James Hetfield et al providing input on arrangements and dynamics, Lulu blended Lou Reed's trademark monotone vocals with the power and ferocity of Metallica's musicianship.[Source AMG]
About this Recording:
This torrent is a straight transfer of some of the CD tracks, with some minor tweaks on the rougher ones,
and Coney Island Baby from the Super Golden Radio Shows CD of this gig, while not quite as pristine as the
Claim to Fame CD I used for the rest, still nice quality.
The stereo tracks (1-5 in particular) on the Claim to Fame CD, to my ears, have a lovely warm and vibrant
sound that need no tweaking or adjusting so they are a straight transfer, bar a reduction in gain to try
to get the match to close to the levels of tracks 6-8.
The mono tracks 6,7,8 were also from the Claim to Fame but I did various things in Audacity. I'll point
out now that I don't always keep precise notes on tweaks, as trial and error is involved and it takes
enough time doing the work let alone documenting something that I am doing for myself and simply choosing
to share. The bottom line is I have carried out tweaks that sound better on the slightly rougher tracks
to my ears, maybe they will to yours too, maybe not. :)
Track 9, You Wear it So Well is in beautiful stereo, but a little tuning was done to reduce the sound of
some radio interference.
I have left the fade outs between tracks as I know from bitter experience that conversion to FLAC sometimes
cuts a second out here and there, even if I have done track splitting in CD Wave (ie ensuring sector
boundaries are maintained)...so shortening the already reasonably tight gap between the songs did not
seem worth the risk.
Lou Reed Roxy Theatre, Los Angeles
1st December, 1976 FM recording
♦ Marty Fogel-Sax
♦ Michael Fonfara-Keyboards
♦ Michael Sikorsky-Drums
♦ Bruce Yaw-Bass
♦ Don Cherry-Trumpet
♦ Lou Reed-Gitar,Vocals & Foul Language
02. Sweet Jane
03. I Believe In Love
04. Lisa Says
06. She´s My Best Friend
07. I'm Waiting For The Man
08. Sheltered life
01. You Wear It So Well
02. Claim To Fame
03. Walk On The Wild Side
04. Coney Island Baby