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on 3 November 2015
This is about the 5CD/1DVD-A - 45th Anniversary Edition.
The "live at Max's Kansas City" is still its underwhelming self, a poorly sounding bootleg, maybe a bit polished by the remastering. But it's an audiophile's dream compared to the "Second Fret" live disc. Consider that the bass and the vocals here are virtually inaudible: what you hear is the sound of two (badly recorded) guitars - no drummer on this set - strumming what might be the chords to Velvet Underground songs. Occasionally, you get the impression that someone is actually singing… far, far away in the background. Listening to the "Second Fret" disc made me realize that labels won't stop at nothing. If they have released this, they will go on releasing anything, no matter how wretched and pointless and useless.

On the other hand, the original album is beautifully remastered, and the “promotional mono” version is really engaging, possibly even better and punchier than the stereo one, a truly welcome addition.
The demos&extra tracks is equally great: these are actual studio recordings, excellent and brilliantly recorded, but most of them have already been released so if you own the 1997 “Fully Loaded” 2-CD edition you already have most of these.
There’s also an audio-only DVD with 5.1 mixes, which may be of great interest to many - not to me so I won’t comment on this.

The book is extremely well done and interesting, as customary for these VU super deluxe edition.
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#1 HALL OF FAMEon 12 October 2002
As with the other three official Velvet Underground albums (The Velvet Underground&Nico, White Light/White Heat and The Velvet Underground)this is an obligatory purchase. The original ten-track album from 1970 is included, in both original form and demo/alternate versions. Sweet Jane, Rock & Roll and New Age are restored to their full-length versions.
Vocals are generally traded between Lou Reed and Doug Yule, the latter great on Who Loves the Sun?. The best songs here- taking it that Sweet Jane and Rock&Roll are classics already- are New Age , Oh Sweet Nuthin and I Found a Reason (sampled by Massive Attack on Risingson). The album is more hippy and even country (as in Gram Parsons/Mike Nesmith/Gene Clark) than the previous album.
Bonus tracks on disc one include Ride into the Sun (as covered by Throwing Muses), I Love You (found on Lou's debut) and a stunning version of Ocean- one of the Velvets finest moments. And for those looking for the definitive version of I'm Sticking with You (mostly sung by Moe Tucker)as used in whatever advert- this is it (and not the VU version which sounds too sparse). The bonus tracks on disc two include inferior takes of I Love You and Ocean (featuring John Cale), an early version of Satellite of Love (Transformer) and demos of Oh Jim (here Oh Gin) and Sad Song - which became part of Lou's finest 70's solo album, Berlin.
This 'fully loaded edition' is a definitive album anyway, as great and as different as the previous Velvets albums; at this price it is extremely good value- extending on the previous 10 track Atlantic version. Rhino as ever make the finest reissues; the liner notes are luxurious. Personally I think this is worth buying for the version of Ocean on Disc one, which is one of the finest songs ever recorded. One of the key albums of the last thirty or so years in this ultimate edition.
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on 15 March 2013
Why such poor reviews? OK, it's not the best VU album, in fact it's my least favourite of their four released during (or just after, in this case) their lifetime, but it's still a classic, with such songs as Sweet Jane, New Age and Rock and Roll how can it not have 5 stars? Not all the songs are classics, but they're all good to listen to. The Fully Loaded edition has alternative versions of all the songs on the album (interesting, but not all of them good) plus demos of such songs as Ocean, Ride into the Sun, I Love You, Sad Song and Satellite of Love, never released at the time but later appearing on Lou Reed solo albums. It's great to hear the VU demos of these songs.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 8 February 2016
Although I've been listening to The Velvet Underground for at least 35 years, I've always had a less passionate relationship with the post-Cale lineup of the band; as much as I like the tunes on 'The Velvet Underground' and 'Loaded', I've always found that Cale is conspicuous by his absence from these two albums; the avant-garde edge he brought to the band is almost completely missing. But recently, on some semi-subconscious whim, the urge to rebuy 'The Velvet Underground' came upon me (an album I've already bought 4 times previously - original UK MGM vinyl with the toy soldiers sleeve, the original UK CD, the "closet mix" version in the 'Peel Slowly..' box set and a white vinyl version issued around 10-15 years ago). So when I purchased the 45th anniversary edition, took it home, stuck on the cans and spun it, I was very pleasantly surprised to find that I absolutely loved every minute of it. This enjoyment at rediscovering a great record led me to rebuy 'White Light/White Heat' (again, I already have four versions) and strangely, I found I didn;t enjoy it as much. Perhaps I'm mellowing with age....so with that thought in mind, I decided it was time to revisit 'Loaded', which for me has always been the very weakest of the band's albums.

After digging out my original CD and listening to it, I realised how it has grown on me over the years. Moving on to the 'Fully Loaded' edition from some years ago, I enjoyed listening to all the alternate versions again, so decided to buy a japanese SHMCD of the 45th anniversary edition, as I didn't think I want to go for the superdeluxe box set...but it was no good, "Cool It Down" was starting to put as much of a hook in me as "Sweet Jane" always had, so I went for the superdeluxe; I had to hear the album in 5.1.

Unlike almost all of the reviewers here, I was primarily interested in the surround/hi def DVD-Audio disc above everything else in the box. Most of it I already owned on previous CD editions and with my original Atlantic LP and a red vinyl Cotillon reissue, I felt safe about most the content - but the siren call of surround did it, as I, unlike so many serious music fans (who for some reason disdain or are disinterested in advanced resolution formats - I can't believe none of them have home theater setups for DVD And Blu-Ray viewing) am very enthusiastic about surround versions of classic albums. When you've been listening to a record forever, it's great to hear it in a different way - so if you want to enjoy alternate takes, demos etc, why not try the 5.1 versions? It baffles me...

Anyway, this review is primarily about the DVD-A disc in the box set, as other reviewers have done a great job of covering the set as a whole here. I'd like to convince more buyers to give the DVDA some attention and I know surround enthusiasts will be interested, so here we go...

The menu screen that pops up on your TV/monitor when you load the disc is refreshingly silent - one thing I can't stand is surround discs that play a loop of some of the music from the album over a menu screen (the recent Pure Blu Ray Audio discs do this - I reviewed the one of 'The Velvet Underground & Nico' here a while ago, if you're interested). The lovely image of that cute, iconic cover design fills the plasma and you're ready to select audio options....

The first argument in the favor of the DVDA of 'Loaded' is that the versions of the song on the surround album are the longest ones to date, which to my way of thinking arguably sets a new standard for the 'definitive' take on the album - so serious fans will want to hear them. Secondly, the original release version we all know from the original vinyl issues and original CD is present here in 96/24, so for those of us who prefer "Sweet Jane" without the 'heavenly wine and roses' refrain (sorry, Lou!), a purist listening to the record in its primary release form is possible. Personally, had I complied the box set, I'd have ditched the second live disc and replaced it with a remaster of this 'original release version' on CD. But if you have a DVD player, you can now listen to a hi def rendering of this mighty fine original.

There are two surround options: DTS 5.1 and 5.1 Dolby Digital. When presented with such a choice, I invariably plump for DTS, as it is punchier, louder and more dynamic (when I first discovered DTS on DVD films, I started buying imports above UK releases if the latter had no DTS option). However, DTS is not to everyone's taste and can be overbearing. I'll cover the Dolby Digital later...

On "Who Loves The Sun", Doug's vocals and the bass drum are seriously over-emphasised at the expense of the guitars and the number loses its fleet, sunny, light quality - an inauspicious start for the DTS rendering.I'll say immediately that the DD 5.1 rendering is much more pleasant, but the reality is that this lovely single isn't as sparkly in separated form as we'd all thought, so in future I'll be sticking to stereo options as definitive, despite the fact that this longer version has a full coda rather than just a fade-out.

"Sweet Jane", however, is a different beast, the wonderful spiraling and criss-crossing guitars of the intro sounding just great across five speakers.

The limitations of the source tape are not entirely absent - the noise at the start of "Who Loves the Sun" is still painfully present and there is noticeable distortion in the left rear speaker on one of the guitar licks during early minutes of "Rock and Roll" - but this is absent in the DD version. The guitar solo is isolated rather than panning, while the smooth melodies of the guitar lick bridge are lovely and there is at least one major guitar line I've not noticed before in both surround versions.The breakdown that comes before the "it was alright." refrain is beautifully handled, with great instrument separation between the speakers.

Digressing just a moment, it is clear here that 'Loaded' was a much more studio assembled recording (given its vintage) than other albums released in 5.1 that sound superior in terms of room ambience and smoothness - in 5.1 mixes of work by The Doors and Miles Davis, there is much greater clarity, warmth and immediacy, but 'Loaded', being a drier, reverb-free production (that like its predecessors did so much to inspire the indie sound of the 80s) feels much more like a studio construct than say 'LA Woman' or 'Kind of Blue' in 5.1. So if you're expecting to feel as if you are in the room with the band, forget it.

"Cool It Down" raises the bar for the surround mix, despite an initial feeling that the guitar was overly prominent above the vocals and snare. The piano solo is spread subtly between left front and left rear speakers and it is on this cut that the surround work on the album really starts to shine. There's a superb, previously unheard extended fadeout - 49 seconds longer than other versions and for me, this is now the definitive version of this underrated song.

The attention shown to speaker separation is also noticeable in "New Age" - many surround albums tend to use the rear speakers mostly for ambience before suddenly projecting a panning guitar or keyboard lick. The mix engineer here avoids the more obvious around-the-set panning beloved of psychedelia (something I love in 5.1 when it's done well, but it wouldn't work for the VU, them being Punk Rockers) but instead settles for more balanced spread of sound between front and rear speakers. Doug's vocal is much better managed here than on "Who Loves The Sun", a nice pan on the backing vocals at one point from rear right to front right and yes, this is a longer version. It's worth remembering that both Lou and Doug's voices are harsher and 'untutored' compared to pure, clear-toned singers like The Byrds, so at high levels they can sound rough, but hey, this is the VU after all!

Bass is a little intrusive at the start of "Lonesome Cowboy Bill", but it soon settles down. The claim that this is about William S Burroughs doesn't stand up for me - well, it may be dedicated to him, but there's nothing in the lyrics (even as metaphor) that seems to confirm that the song is about him (at this point, he hadn't written his SF Western 'The Place of Dead Roads'). The piano rattles along nicely in the left rear speaker, the acoustic guitar in the right rear, a setting the engiener uses on a number of tracks.

On the surround versions "I found a reason' and 'Head Held High' are up next, as apparently they were originally meant to be segued on the album. They're not crossfaded here (i.e. they don't overlap) but there is a drumbeat I don;t recall at the start of "Head Held High". "I found a Reason" of course is reminiscent in feel of Reed's early versions of songs that later appeared on 'Transformer' and the doo-wop vocals are spread nicely across the speakers. In "Head Held High" the handclaps leap out of the rear speakers as do the maracas and the tremolo guitar burst and lead lines are joyfully employed too.

"Train Round the Bend" is over a minute longer and one of the guitar figures bounces and grates gloriously on the intro in the left rear, subtly shifting to the front right, then around the other speakers seamlessly as the song chugs along - great stuff. There's not a huge amount to say about "Oh Sweet Nothing", for me one of the least characteristic tracks the band ever laid down - to me, it sounds like the Flying Burrito Brothers on 'Burrito Deluxe', their disappointing and underproduced second album.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 isn't so loud as the DTS and many will prefer it. It is smoother, less separated and the vocals seem less harsh. "Who Loves The Sun" is less dominated by the vocals and bass drum and overall, the song plods less, but I'll say again this is a number that works better in stereo. "Sweet Jane" has a better guitar/vocal balance here and is noticeably more laid back. Overall, the DD might be a more purist choice for listening to this familiar record in surround.

Finally, the 'Dolby Downmix' takes the 5.1 version and mixes it to stereo, so you get the long versions in two-channel. It's a lot quieter than the original stereo and personally, I'd stick with the latter.

To sum up: no-one who is interested in 'Loaded' will want to miss the surround versions. Audiophiles may be disappointed, but then again, this was the band who often recorded with all the needles in the red.
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Just like the three other VU 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe editions, Loaded Reloaded comes in a large book style format. It contains fives CDs and and one audio DVD but I think this one is only for VU obsessives and collectors who own the previous three releases. All of the demos, alternate versions and outtakes feature on the 1997 two disc "Loaded: Fully Loaded" edition. There's a "Promotional Mono Version" of the album and "Live at Max's Kansas City" is also included but 'Who Loves the Sun' and 'Sweet Jane (Version 2)' that featured on the 2004 two disc reissue are both missing. The 11 track Live at Second Fret, Philadelphia set from May 1970 proves that no matter how hard you try, you can't polish a turd. It's unlistenable. The notes do acknowledge that it's only included for "historical significance" but as a listening experience it really is insignificant and the worst officially released recording I can recall.

The DVD is strictly for serious VU aficionados who also happen to be serious audiophiles. It consists of a 5.1 Surround Sound Remix, a 5.1 Surround Sound to Stereo Downmixes and a Flat Transfer of the Original Stereo album. I haven't played it and won't ever be playing it but if you're into that sort of thing then I'm sure it's something to get excited about.

Overall, time has been kind to Loaded. It's the band's most straightforward album but it's a quality album that does contains some classic songs, especially the three opening tracks and 'New Age'. If you already own "Loaded" and are thinking of upgrading, opt for the two disc Fully Loaded edition instead because it represents much better value than this excessively bloated box set. I suppose I don't blame the label for releasing it and it does sit neatly alongside the other three Super Deluxe releases but when taken out of that context, it's just another chance to cash in and exploit blokes aged thirty-something and upwards like myself who really should know better!
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In 1985 fans of the VELVET UNDERGROUND were treated to their first legitimately released rarities compilation 'V.U.' closely followed by 1986's 'ANOTHER VIEW.' Between both were 19 rarities from both the "Cale era" and "Yule era." in 1995 Polydor Chronicles upped the ante with the 5-disc boxed set 'PEEL SLOWLY AND SEE,' containing 74-tracks of previously released material and more rarities. 2002 Deluxe Edition of the group's first album 'THE VELVET UNDERGROUND & NICO' followed in 2012 by 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe and Deluxe Editions' containing six and two disc respectively. Next up in 2013 were the 2CD Deluxe and 3CD Super Deluxe Editions of their second album WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT. Click on the links for my reviews of those releases. It was only obvious that their next two albums would eventually get the same treatment......

The 6CD 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition of THE VELVET UNDERGROUND is both wonderful AND maddening. The first disc contains the "Val Valentin mix' of the album which is the most familiar to listeners. The second disc contains what is referred to as Lou Reed's "Closet Mix" which features the vocals more prominent in the mix. This version was also included in it's entirety on the 'PEEL SLOWLY AND SEE' set. The third disc contains a "Promotional MONO Mix" of the album, plus the mono single mixes of "What Goes On" and "Jesus." The track list for he first three discs then is as follows:

1/2/3-1 Candy Says
1/2/3-2 What Goes On
1/2/3-3 Some Kinda Love
1/2/3-4 Pale Blue Eyes
1/2/3-5 Jesus
1/2/3-6 Beginning To See The Light
1/2/3-7 I'm Set Free
1/2/3-8 That's The Story Of My Life
1/2/3--9 The Murder Mystery
1/2/3-10 After Hours
0/0.3-11 What Goes On (Mono single, MGM K-10457-A, 4/69)
0/0/3-12 Jesus (Mono single, MGM K-10457-B, 4/69)

The fourth disc is where the real gold lies, with remastered and in some cases re-mixed versions of contemporarily recorded material that was originally released on either 'V.U.'(*) or 'ANOTHER VIEW' (**) . Here's the track listing marked as to which compilation it was originally released on:

4-1 Foggy Notion (Original 1969 Mix)*
4-2 One Of These Days (New 2014 Mix)*
4-3 Lisa Says (New 2014 Mix)*
4-4 I'm Sticking With You (Original 1969 Mix)*
4-5 Andy's Chest (Original 1969 Mix) *
4-6 Coney Island Steeplechase (New 2014 Mix)**
4-7 Ocean (Original 1969 Mix)*
4-8 I Can't Stand It (New 2014 Mix)*
4-9 She's My Best Friend (Original 1969 Mix)*
4-10 We're Gonna Have A Real Good Time Together (New 2014 Mix)**
4-11 I'm Gonna Move Right In (Original 1969 Mix)**
4-12 Ferryboat Bill (Original 1969 Mix) **
4-13 Rock & Roll (Original 1969 Mix)**
4-14 Ride Into The Sun (New 2014 Mix)**

As noted above, this material has either been left as mixed in 1969 or newly remixed in 2014. The wonderful thing about this set up to this point is the remastering, it's absolutely stunning. Now, I buy and listening to oodles and oodles of music and am pretty jaded when I see the word "Remastered" but even an old curmudgeon like me is impressed. The problem with value-for-money arises on the fifth and sixth discs, "Live At The Matrix, November 26 & 27, 1969 (Parts 1 & 2)" First the track list:

5-1 I'm Waiting For The Man***/#
5-2 What Goes On***/#
5-3 Some Kinda Love*/#
5-4 Over You***/#
5-5 We're Gonna Have A Real Good Time Together***
5-6 Beginning To See The Light*/#
5-7 Lisa Says*/#
5-8 Rock & Roll*/#
5-9 Pale Blue Eyes***/#
5-10 I Can't Stand It Anymore***/#
5-11 Venus In Furs***
5-12 There She Goes Again***

6-1 Sister Ray**
6-2 Heroin***/#
6-3 White Light/White Heat*/#
6-4 I'm Set Free***
6-5 After Hours***
6-6 Sweet Jane*/#

As annotated above, those tracks marked (*) were first released on the 'VELVET UNDERGROUND LIVE with Lou Reed 1969 : Volume One' (Tracks 5-6, 5-7, 5-8) and 'Volume Two' (Tracks 5-3, 6-3), and those marked (**) were released on 'THE BOOTLEG SERIES, Volume 1: THE QUINE TAPES' set. Now when this set was released, the eleven tracks marked (***) were previously unreleased, but last year saw the release of THE COMPLETE MATRIX TAPES a 4CD set containing every track recorded on Nov. 26 & 27, 1969, making the ability to obtain the material on the 6CD 'THE VELVET UNDERGROUND Super Deluxe Edition' less essential. Polydor/Universal have also released a 2CD Deluxe Edition' that contains 'The Val Valentin Mix" on Disc One, and twelve live Matrix tracks on Disc Two (see # above). The hardcover book is sturdily made although as with the others in the series the discs fit in slots within the rear cover. There are plenty of photos of the band , memorabilia, posters, ads, etc. and a lengthy essay by David Fricke of Rolling Stone magazine fame in the 72-page book. The live material sounds much better than on the previous releases as well, but fans will definitely want to grab the more complete 'THE MATRIX TAPES.' Unfortunately this doesn't make the 'LIVE 1969' set totally redundant, hit still contains four-tracks recorded at End of Cole Ave, Dallas, TX on October 19, 1969 ("I'm Waiting For The Man," "Femme Fatale," "Ocean" and "Heroin" [CD2 version]). There are a variety of sets out there with the End Of Cole Ave. material of dubious legality, but fans might want to practice restraint in case Polydor/Universal decides on that as it's next trawl through the archives......

the band:
Lou Reed - Guitar & Lead Vocals (except 1/2/3-1)
Sterling Morrison - Guitar & Backing Vocals
Maureen Tucker - Drums & Lead Vocals (1/2/3-10, 4-4, 6-5)
Doug Yule - Bass, Keyboards, Backing Vocals & Lead Vocals (1/2/3-1)

It was only a matter of time before the fourth album would see a deluxe release, and Rhino did the honors with 2015's '
LOADED: Re-Loaded 45th Anniversary Edition' this time a five-disc plus DVD version. Although on another label, the set is packaged similarly to the previous three. Again the remastering is stellar. Disc One contains the original ten-track album in stereo with the full-length versions of "Sweet Jane" and "Rock & Roll"
and four session outtakes first released on 1997's 2CD 'LOADED: Fully Loaded Edition,' while Disc Two
contains the album's "Promotional Mono Version" with the original track lengths and four added mono single mixes. Here
are the track listings:

1-1 Who Loves The Sun
1-2 Sweet Jane (Full-Length Version, 4:06)
1-3 Rock & Roll (Full-Length Version, 4:43)
1-4 Cool It Down
1-5 New Age
1-6 Head Held High
1-7 Lonesome Cowboy Bill
1-8 I Found A Reason
1-9 Train Round The Bend
1-10 Oh! Sweet Nuthin'
SESSION OUTTAKES:
1-11 I'm Sticking With You (Remix)
1-12 Ocean
1-13 I Love You
1-14 Ride Into The Sun

2-1 Who Loves The Sun
2-2 Sweet Jane (3:15)
2-3 Rock & Roll (4:38)
2-4 Cool It Down
2-5 New Age
2-6 Head Held High
2-7 Lonesome Cowboy Bill
2-8 I Found A Reason
2-9 Train Round The Bend
2-10 Oh! Sweet Nuthin'
MONO SINGLE MIXES:
2-11 Who Loves The Sun (Cotillion 45-44107-A)
2-12 Oh! Sweet Nuthin' (Cotillion 45-44107-B)
2-13 Rock & Roll (Cotillion 45-44133-A, unissued)
2-14 Lonesome Cowboy Bill (Cotillion 45-44133-B, unissued)

Disc Three consists of demos, early versions and alternate mixes. All but five were previously released on the
'LOADED: Fully Loaded Edition' (*) although some here are mixed (as noted below). Many of the tracks are somewhat
shorter than when previously released, probably due to improvement in remastering technology regarding the
original tape speeds.

3-1 Rock & Roll (Demo)*
3-2 Sad Song (Demo)*
3-3 Satellite Of Love (Demo)*
3-4 Walk And Talk (Demo) *
3-5 Oh Gin (Demo) *
3-6 Ocean (Demo) *
3-7 I Love You (Outtake)*
3-8 Love Makes You Feel Ten Feet Tall (Demo/Remix)*
3-9 I Found A Reason (Demo)*
3-10 Cool It Down (Early Version/Remix)*
3-11 Sweet Jane (Early Version/Remix)*
3-12 Lonesome Cowboy Bill (Early Version/Remix)*
3-13 Head Held High (Early Version/Remix)*
3-14 Oh! Sweet Nuthin' (Early Version/Remix)*
3-15 Who Loves The Sun (Alternate Mix)
3-16 Sweet Jane (Alternate Mix)
3-17 Cool It Down (Alternate Mix)
3-18 Lonesome Cowboy Bill (Alternate Mix)
3-19 Train Round The Bend (Alternate Mix)*
3-20 Head Held High (Alternate Mix)
3-21 Rock & Roll (Alternate Mix)*

Disc Four contains a remastered selection of live recordings previously issued on the LIVE AT
MAX'S KANSAS CITY
 two-disc set:

4-1 I'm Waiting For The Man
4-2 White Light/White Heat
4-3 I'm Set Free
4-4 Sweet Jane
4-5 Lonesome Cowboy Bill
4-6 New Age
4-7 Beginning To See The Light
4-8 I'll Be Your Mirror
4-9 Pale Blue Eyes
4-10 Candy Says
4-11 Sunday Morning
4-12 After Hours
4-13 Femme Fatale
4-14 Some Kinda Love
4-15 Lonesome Cowboy Bill (Version 2)

Disc Five contains a previously unreleased concert recorded at the Second Fret, Philadelphia, May 9, 1970. Although it's nice to have this for historical purposes, the sound is abysmal. Maureen Tucker was pregnant so the band played as a three-piece with Doug Yule switching between bass and drums.....

5-1 I'm Waiting For The Man
5-2 What Goes On
5-3 Cool It Down
5-4 Sweet Jane
5-5 Rock & Roll
5-6 Some Kinda Love
5-7 New Age
5-8 Candy Says
5-9 Head Held High
5-10 Train Round The Bend
5-11 Oh! Sweet Nuthin'

Disc Six is an audio-only DVD that features three different mixes of LOADED: a 5.1 Surround Sound Remix with a choice between DTS 96/24 and Dolby Digital Surround Sound, a 5.1 Surround Sound to Stereo Down-mixes in 96/24 High Resolution Audio, and a Flat Transfer of the Original Stereo Album in 96/24 High Resolution Audio. For the Surround Sound and Stereo Down-mixes, the original track listing is re-sequenced slightly to include the segue that was originally planned for "I Found A Reason">"Head Held High." The Surround Sound and Stereo Down-mixes also contain the full-length versions of "Sweet Jane," "Rock & Roll" and "New Age." The Flat Transfer Stereo Mix contains the original edited versions. The hardcover book has the same set-up as the other three with the discs in slots in the rear. The 72-page book also contains plenty of photos of the band , memorabilia, posters, ads, etc. and lengthy essay by rock historian and Patti Smith Group member Lenny Kaye of NUGGETS fame......

Although the Super Deluxe Editions of the VELVET UNDERGROUND's essential canon are quite pricey they are also very well-done. As far as value-for-money, not so much, but the fan will have to decide if they need them.....

the band:
Lou Reed - Guitar, Lead Vocals (except where noted below) & Backing Vocals
Sterling Morrison - Guitar & Backing Vocals
Maureen Tucker - Drums (except where noted below), Percussion (3-9) & Lead Vocals (1-11)
Doug Yule - Bass, Keyboards, Guitar, Backing Vocals & Lead Vocals (1-1, 1-5, 1-7, 1-10, 2-1, 2-5, 2-7, 2-10, 2-11, 2-12, 2-14, 5-8, 6-1, 6-5, 6-7, 6-10)
with
John Cale - Organ (3-6)
Bill Yule - Drums (1-7, 1-10, 1-12, 2-7, 2-10, Disc Four, 6-7, 6-10)
Tommy Castanaro - Drums (1-4, 1-6, 2-4, 2-6, 6-4, 6-6)
Adrian Barber - Drums (1-1, 2-1, 6-1)
Adrian Barber and/or Bill Yule - Drums (1-9, 2-9, 6-9)
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on 30 October 2015
Much as it pains me, I can only give this edition of Loaded four stars. The book is lovely, in line with the books for the other three albums. But instead of having the track listing on the back of the book there's a sheet of paper stuck to it. I immediately removed the paper to protect it, but it's just that little bit too big to go inside the book and will have to be folded. Kinda irritating when this is supposed to be the "last word" definitive edition of Loaded.

There's very little here that most Velvets fans won't have heard: for me the only "new" music is on disc 2: the mono promo version of the album and the two singles (one unreleased), but all four tracks are from Loaded. On the plus side, it does contain Sweet Jane as originally released, the version that Lou hated.

I much preferred the Fully Loaded approach to the album, the second disc reconstructing the album, but using alternate versions and demos. Here we have session out-takes, demos, early versions and alternate mixes presented in groups at the end of disc one and taking up all of disc 3.

Loaded of course belongs with Live at Max's Kansas City, but in squeezing Max's onto one disc, Who Loves the Sun and the second version of Sweet Jane have been dropped along with the little radio promo that was on the two disc version of Max's as an historical curio. What grates here is that the dropped tracks could have filled up some spare space on the first disc which is less than an hour long.

The second best-known bootleg from this period appears here as disc 5, Live at Second Fret. The bootleg has been well circulated and I would imagine anyone willing to pay out for this set will also have got hold of a copy of the bootleg. However, it's been through a studio cleanup, so the sound is improved a little. I have to admit that it's not the most energising recording I've ever heard and I'd imagine its presence here is more to fill the role of providing a bootleg in the package same as the other three albums, forgetting that Max's itself started life as a bootleg recording.

Disk 6 is an audio only DVD offering four mixes of the album, with dreadful graphics based on the cover of Loaded. The graphics have a nasty grainy look to them and are not improved by the clashing magenta of the selection bar. Apparently at one point I Found a Reason and Head Held High were going to be segued together, so on a couple of mixes these tracks are reversed in the running order to account for the segue, which really just amounts to a lack of silence between the two tracks. To me, the DVD is a waste: despite the remastering and the surround sound mix I can hear the "dust" of a 45 year old recording that bit more clearly. I'm afraid the audiophile content is wasted on me, and I suspect is only there to push up the price.

I love Loaded as I love pretty much every VU recording I've heard (and I've probably heard more than my fair share of bootlegs). This is a beautiful package let down by the record company over-extending themselves with the DVD, and missing tracks out from Max's even though there's still room for them on another disc. Finally, don't be fooled by the autorip: unlike the other albums where the entire set is presented as mp3 files, what you get here is "the American version", which is just the ten tracks of the original album, I would presume from the Fully Loaded version of the album. I'm afraid both the record company and Amazon have let themselves down with this one, which is why I'm regretfully only giving the package 4 stars.
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on 31 October 2015
If you already have 'fully loaded' and 'live at Max's' you really don't need this. I got this for the live set which is possibly the worst velvets live recording I've heard (makes 'live at Max's sound like 'dark side of the moon' ).
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on 3 March 2004
If you love the Velvets you'll love Loaded, their last proper album - and including the timeless classics Sweet Jane, New Age, Rock 'n' Roll... Well, this is a double CD with not only the proper versions of those songs, with the bits the studio cut out for the original release, but also alternate versions of the whole album, some excellent demos, all fascinatingly different from the final release, and some rare items, like early velvets versions of songs Lou Reed later released on his solo albums. The alternate versions and demos are all great, especially if you know the album, and there are some surprising tracks. Overall , there's not a bad song, and the influence this band had on UK indie culture is plain to see. Well worth the money.

Don't believe those who say this was the end of the VU, lacking JOhn Cale's sonic innovations. The absence of JOhn set Lou free to write some classic songs (cf. 3rd VU album also) - and I'd rate the three mentioned above alongside any others from the VU/Lou cannon.
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on 30 July 2015
Chances are that if you are looking to buy Loaded by The Velvet Undergroud you have followed a similar path to me, that is bought the greatly acclaimed The Velvet Underground And Nico, then taken a pick out of White Light/White Heat and The Velvet Underground (I bought the latter first), then gone on to buy the other of the first three Velvet Underground (in my case White Light/White Heat) and are at the stage I was... WHAT THE **** NOW!

So upon hearing The Velvet Underground And Nico you experience many experimental concepts that you have probably never heard before (like the entirety of Heroin) but are strangely drawn to love the album even if it can be a tough listen the first time round. Because you loved it so much you do a little research into the group and you discover the other albums available (White Light/White Heat, The Velvet Underground, Loaded and Squeeze), if purchased in this order or unlike me had the pleasure of being alive during the 60's you heard White Light/White Heat which again comes as a shock to the ears, again you are drawn to the weirdness of the noise and go on to hear The Velvet Underground, which again shocks you, but not for its strange sounds but it's brilliance in being everything you least expect from the group. This leaves a dilemma, do I skip this and move on to Lou Reed (after all he hated Loaded so much he left the band) or do I just go for it, personally I would say GO FOR IT!

Loaded came about when Lou Reed was told by the new record company to forget weirdness, shock value and drugs and simply make an album Loaded with hits. Which is what this album is, a very strong album that sounds more commercial that The Beach Boys. If you was wondering wether the album is worth buying simply over quality then definitely, The Velvet Underground have never sounded so polished, but if you want The Velvet sound from the first three albums then you better run run run run run... (forgive me). For me this just provided the swan song that the group needed, something radios would love that also proved the group could make an album that was more than just noise, even if it's not their greatest achievement it is just as forfilling as the rest of their back catalogue.

I personally recommend you check out some Live Velvets after this album or VU, alternatively you could move on to Lou Reeds solo work (Transformer is a good starting point) or if your very brave try Squeeze (but you may hate yourself for doing so).
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