2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars
Too much of the same, 31 Dec 2013
Let's get the obvious comments out of the way first. Unless you live on the Moon you already know the groundbreaking importance of the Velvets and how this album is their most extreme statement that invented the seventies. It's also safe to say that if you shelled out the extra cash for this you (like me) are already a fan and already own the original (along with all the other relevant releases including Another View, VU and the other extended version of WL/WH on Peel Slowly and See).
The actual album sounds fine here, but then again I always thought it did and I've listened to this several times and honestly can not tell the difference. So the validity of this release, for me, relies solely on the strength of the additional studio and live material.
Firstly, the extra studio material. How the hell could anybody justify including Hey Mr. Rain, Stephanie Says, and Guess I'm Falling in Love here!? They've been widely available for years and this is just lazy filler with the old 'remixed' chestnut appended. Peel Slowly and See has got a demo of Here She Comes Now - surely they must have demoed other tracks for this album - why are they not included? I really fail to believe that these were the only tracks the band had and these are the only versions of them.
Now I've got that of my chest - the good points. The early version of Beginning to See the Light is GOLD. Really, as a Velvets fan this is one of those discoveries you always dream of but so very rarely get. I would stick my neck out and say this is better than the version from the 3rd Album. Like another reviewer here I don't think that it is an alternative version of I Heard Her Call My Name, however it is sufficiently remixed to allow the rhythm guitar to come to the fore and gives the song a much rougher garage feeling.
Finally, to the extra live material. This was recorded in New York in early 1967 before the band recorded White Light and contains early versions of some of the tracks that would appear on WL/WH along with tracks from the 1st album and unreleased tracks. Two of these (Booker T and Guess I'm Falling in Love) have already been released on Peel Slowly and See and are fairly standard R & B workouts given a rough Velvets edge. I'm Not a Young Man Anymore has a similar feel to Guess... and as such doesn't add a great deal to the bands' canon but is still welcome as a new track. The real meat of this collection are the live versions of the tracks that appeared on their official albums. Waiting For the Man has evolved into a real killer - a riff lead snarl of a song that I wouldn't have guessed at given how it ended up sounding just 2 years later. Sister Ray is cleaner than the album version but this allows the rhythm to stand out more and just shows what an exceptional live band this was. Finally it ends with an instrumental version of The Gift. Apparently this has been confused with Booker T over the years but I can't see why. This is no crowd pleasing R & B, this is a down and dirty 2 chord grind that is still one of the bands' finest moments - they didn't always have to sing about deviant sex - sometimes the music just sounded like it.
All in all this could have been so much better, but there are still some gems here - but was it really worth the price tag?