When the legendary Quine Tapes were first released on a 3-CD box set in 2001, it was like a gift from up above for Velvet Underground die-hards. While the audio fidelity was nowhere near perfect, it was much better than 95 percent of the existing VU bootlegs. And more importantly, it was a treasure trove of the Velvets at one of their peaks (the Yule-era Velvets were a different animal than the Cale-era band, but just as exciting). With three mind-blowing versions of "Sister Ray," the previously unreleased "Follow The Leader," the rarity "Over You," live versions of songs they rarely performed live like "I'm Sticking With You," "The Black Angel's Death Song," and "Sunday Morning," the much-talked-about but previously unheard "I'm Waiting For The Man" where Lou Reed improvised several minutes worth of new lyrics, and the only known live version of "Ride Into the Sun," with an extended bass solo (!) no less, this was overload for VU fanatics everywhere.
At the time, I fell in love with the Quine Tapes CDs, listening to them for months on end. I also thought, "it would be great if this was available on vinyl," but doubted it would ever happen because it would take like, what, SIX records to contain this whole thing, right? Once Sundazed announced they were bringing out a vinyl version, I was filled with anticipation until I got my hands on it. Suffice to say, it's worth it. Rather than making a vinyl master from the existing digital master used for the CDs, Bob Irwin has gone back to the Quine Tapes themselves to cut a brand new analog master just for this set. And while the new master doesn't magically make this set sound like a good soundboard recording, it *is* much improved over the CD version. The blanket of hiss that covered the CDs is gone, and the sound is less "flat." It's like falling in love all over again.
Add in Sundazed's typically lavish packaging (three beautiful gatefold sleeves holding two records apiece, all placed in a study box), brief but interesting new notes from David Fricke along with Quine's original 2001 liner notes, and more of Doug Yule's wonderful photos from 1969 on the road, the Quine Tapes rise again to be pure heaven for the dedicated Velvets fan. At $100, this is not a casual investment, but if you love the VU and have a turntable, there's no question that it's totally worth it.