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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
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
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 31 May 2000
This album is a laid back album with moments of humour and also some moments of beauty. There is much to do with drug culture- 'Kicks', for example. 'Crazy feeling' and 'Nobody's business' are good rock songs as is 'Ooooh baby' which appears to be about someone working in a strip bar. There are moments of darkness on the album as you would expect from Reed. The best song here is the title track, which is thoughtful, soulful, and even a little touching. It is a perfect song. In a laid back doo-wop style, Lou sings about isolation ("when you find that you very soul, its been up for sale") and then a possible redemption through love ("remember the princess who lived on the hill, who loved you even though she knew you was wrong"), with Lou ending the album off with the words: "man, I swear I'd give the whole thing up for you."
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 22 October 2007
Coney Island Baby is ultimately a record-deal-filler album, something to get Lou back on track after the unlistenable Metal Machine Music. Nonetheless, its very good indeed. Lou's vocal style is exactly the same as on Transformer, but instead of Mick Ronson's buzzing glam riffs, we have some impeccable mid-70s session muso backing- a supple, intricate rhythm section and lots of wanky note-bending guitar. It has a real period charm, and the songs are up to the mark. Nothing here quite up to the heights of Walk on the Wild Side, but it comes close. The cute lick which opens Crazy Feeling is infectious, She's My Best Friend is another stand-out, and Gift has a lovely melody as well as showcasing Reed's tongue-in-cheek humour. Kicks, despite its jazzy stylings, tries to explore darker, more sadistic lyrical themes- it sounds a bit too much like Lou trying to live up to his Velvets reputation. But the sweeping closer of the title track is another stand-out, and explores more a intimate, vulnerable Lou, expressing his dream as a kid to "play football for the coach." Who would have thought it, from the man who wrote "Venus in Furs"?

The mastering on this re-issue is superb- this album is definitely one of Lou's high points from the 70s.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By the mid-1970s, Lou Reed had alternately beguiled and appalled his long-suffering fanbase. His debut solo album was a sloppy set of warmed-over Velvets leftovers; 'Transformer' had charm in abundance, incisively shaped by the involvment of David Bowie and Mick Ronson. 'Berlin' was a grimly conceptual affair. The 'live albums offered up heavy metal makeovers of Velvets faves. 'Sally Can't Dance' was execrable. With 'Coney Island Baby', a relatively relaxed Lou assembled perhaps his first solo album that one could say was pretty good, as opposed to being either brilliant or brutal. It contains, in 'She's My Best Friend', a kind of AOR retooling of a (then) unreleased Velevt Underground tune; 'Kicks' seemed almost gratuitously sick, whilst the title track has a warmth and affection that is of great appeal. Plus, like a lot of Reed's most sentimental moments, it clearly shows how much doo-wop was an abiding infuence on him. He's never going to sing the birds off the trees, but at least he sounds like he's trying, if his ability to match music as powerful as his lyrics is notably lacking in one or two places. Well worthy of investigating.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 26 March 2009
What a great album this is from Mr Reed,I have owned the original Cd for a long time but when I saw this 30th Anniverary Deluxe Edition up for grabs at a great price from Amazon had to get it.This edition features six bonus tracks which are great and the remastered sound quality is superb night and day with the original so you will be able to enjoy listening to a great album the way it should be.I dont have a lot of Lou Reed albums but would say if you enjoyed the fantastic Transformer album you will enjoy Coney Island Baby musically they are quite similar which is great as Transformer is a fantastic album in its own right,it is also available in remastered format for superior sound quality.At the price Amazon is asking for this class album definetly worth getting for your collection.Hope review is of help.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 5 August 2006
Transformer may be the Lou Reed album that receives all the plaudits but for me Coney Island Baby is Lou's true musical highlight.

There's a wonderfully laid back feel to this album with many of the songs displaying real warmth and beauty. Nowhere is this better demonstrated than on the album's title track which recounts Lou's school days with some wonderful doo wop backing. It would be hard to find a more beautiful song/performance in popular music generally besides within the Lou Reed catalogue.

'Kicks' is probably the other big song on the album and it's the only song that displays any real hint of menace (which is more often than not a Lou Reed trademark).

Songs such as 'Crazy Feeling', 'Charleys Girl' and 'A Gift' seem quite simplistic to a point but they become very seductive the more you hear them. Lou's lazy drawl really does draw the listener in.

The production is also first class - it's wonderfully crisp and uncluttered much like Lou's vocals.

Throughout his career Lou's style has been so varied that for some listeners Coney Island Baby won't represent what they consider Lou's best virtues, perhaps, but for me it's just about perfect.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 21 January 2003
It's a familiar story with Lou Reed's mid-seventies albums, as it is with his weaker eighties albums, there's always a few tracks worth getting the album for. Coney Island Baby has a couple of the finest Reed tracks you can hear. The title track's homage to the fifties is, as always with Lou in this mood, touching without resorting to sickly sentimentality. It is an immaculately produced record most notably on the other standout track "Kicks", a harrowing account of a psychopath's lust for thrills gained from violence, where Reed uses a tape of a conversation at a party to excentuate the moments of drama. These two tracks are classics, not too far behind is "She's my best friend". After that there isn't really anything that the casual Reed listener will need. However, for Reed fans an average but enjoyable listening experience is on offer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is probably Reed's most atypical solo album and at first sounds lightweight and subdued, laking the great moments, drama and exciting highlights of his best work. Hard to appreciate immediately, repeated listens reveal Coney Island Baby's lyrical depth and melodic beauty. My favorites include the love song She's My Best Friend, the streetwise Charley's Girl and the sensitive narrative of the title track. Not his greatest album, but valuable as a showcase of Reed's human side in its warmth and simplicity.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 31 March 2014
I love Lou reed. The title track still makes me quiver like only Isaac Hayes' 'By the Time I Get to Phoenix' can otherwise do. A absolute genius.
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on 4 March 2014
OK, probably Berlin is the best Lou Reed album but this runs it a damn close second. I bought this on vinyl when it first came out in 1975, then on CD and now this expanded edition which is worth every penny. The new songs are superb though much more rocky with the exception of the brilliant 'Downtown Dirt' which would have fitted in very nicely on the original and I'm not sure why it wasn't included since running time wouldn't have been an issue. The remastering is very good and makes the familiar songs shine all the brighter. Where to start with them? Kicks, She's My Best Friend, Nobody's Business and the title track are sublime but there's no duds here. Much of the material is addressed to Lou's partner of the time, (the transvestite Rachel), and is sweet and sincere. (What a turnaround from 1974s Sally Can't Dance - Lou obviously loved her very much.)
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