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A reason to love Lou
on 10 August 2007
Lou Reed needed to make this album. His previous work, the infamous Metal Machine Music had alienated all except the chin-stroking arty brigade. No one in their right mind would call that collage of feedback and screaming a work of genius, however bold and unprecedented. So with his recording contract with RCA hanging by a thread, mounting legal battles, no money and no guitars all Reed had was music.
What we have in Coney Island Baby may appear to be typical Reed fare- biographical songs of growing up and the environment of his youth delivered with lyrics that cut you one moment and amuse you the next. However it is the wonderful music that really delivers the punch of the album, but in a much more gentle and tuneful way than the Reed we know, or tend to pigeon-hole. The musicianship is wonderful, drummer Michael Suchorsky is superb and entwined with Bruce Yaw on bass you have a powerful musical muscle- Reed has always known how to put together a great rhythm section. Reed's guitar work is better than ever and he sings with genuine warmth, though thankfully without twee sentimentality.
I rate this album as highly as any of Reed's great works- Transformer, The Blue Mask, New York and Ecstacy, and of course the Velvets! Too many people still think of Reed as the man who wrote Perfect Day and I would recommend this album to any Reed fan or those who think he went nowhere after Transformer. Reed's career is an embarrasment of hidden riches and here's an absolute gem