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on 2 June 2012
Lou is great and this is a great box no matter which way you look at it.
Roughly this box represents the first four years of Lou's post VU life. I say roughly because it omits both of the period live albums - Rock and Roll Animal and Lou Reed Live - and the double LP studio set Metal Machine Music. MMM has a life of its own and if you want to get a feel for it, check out some of the Amazon reviews. Lou probably hates this box for leaving out MMM but I can see why the compilers made that choice. I'm not saying that it's right, just understandable.

So what do we have left?
* Lou Reed is the solo debut. On paper this should have been Loaded pt 2, the songs on balance were as good as Loaded despite nothing hitting the highs of Sweet Jane, New Age or Rock n Roll. What went wrong is hard to say but it just doesn't sound alive. Lou says that the original mix had a problem with Dolby; this CD corrects that but Louie seems hesitant and the hired guns in the studio band don't really help. Great songs though, including many VU leftovers.

* Transformer you maybe know about. Ziggy Bowie hauls our Lou up by the lapels and gives him the production to match his songs. Yes it's good - Satellite of Love, Perfect Day - but in my mind it's a tad over rated, more a reflection of the times than of Lou. Still, you get the remaster with the additional demos and radio ad. Bowie fans will love it.

* Berlin is the dark fire meisterwork. It works because while it's a "concept" per se, the songs don't have a specific narrative. Instead Lou gives you the dots and let you fill the gaps in. Using the divided city of Berlin as a metaphor for a failing relationship, Lou takes us through the whole emotional kaleidoscope. The Kids still chills 40 years on. Ignore those who say it's depressing, it has its own inner beauty but you'll need to persevere with it.

* Sally Can't Dance is the sleeping classic. Derided by Lou himself, this hits the spots that Transformer skirted around. Try New York Stars for a piece of nastiness that's funny in it's put down of the wannabees. And Lou never sounded as laconic as here, his voice hits that NYC cool throughout. Again, this is the remastered shot with the bonus tracks.

* Finally Coney Island Baby and another lost classic. In the wake of the MMM fall out, Butch promised RCA that he'd behave himself on the next album and in turn serves up a thing of beauty. Said to be a throwback to the doo wop days where Lou cut his teeth, it's got more going for it than that superficial style suggests. And check out Kicks for a disorientating piece of sleaze. The title track is the killer, 6+ minutes of beauty with Lou's voice and cool cracking on the final "Man I swear I'd give the whole thing up for you". The bonus tracks show that the initial draft had a harder edge. Difficult to say whether it would have been better had it come through in that form but they're a worthy addition.

In common with other boxes in the series, the discs come in replica sleeves. Not exactly Japanese standard but fine nonetheless. Everything is held in an outer sleeve. At the price, this is a gift - no two albums are the same, and it's Lou Lou Lou!
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on 13 February 2012
If you want five Lou Reed albums for about a tenner, then here's the set for you. And if you don't, well, then you don't know Lou Reed. Some of the material here is simply sublime and most of the best stuff is not on the various greatest hits compilations you may already alone - the alternate version of Coney Island Baby and nearly the whole of the self-titled debut solo album for example. Those who place special importance on inlays and artwork might be advised to look elsewhere as each of the five CDs has only a flimsy cardboard sleeve with no liner notes. But for those who value music above all else this set really is a godsend. I listen to all these albums in the car (except Transformer, which despite being arguably the best is just TOO familiar to me after twenty-five years of near constant exposure to it) and I couldn't be happier. The only thing is that I wish Lou had stuck to plain and simple rock and roll on Sally can't dance - too much sax, backing singers and bluesy guitar riffs make it a bit too Easy Listening in parts - but even this is a good album. And you also get four more albums which range in quality from great to monumental in rock history.
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on 26 March 2013
I already had "Transformer" Lou Reeds finest album thanks to David Bowie and the arrangements of Mick Ronson "Berln" is also high on my list, a freind once remarked "It's music to comit suicide too" hope nobody wants to do that! yeah it is a bit inwardly over indulgent but that's Lou Reed for you, The album simply entiled "Lou reed" is a classic "Ride Into the sun" and "Ocean" are twoof the best "Lisa Says" is pretty neat too, "Sally Can't dance" features some great tracks like "Ride Sally Ride" "Baby face" and "New York Stars" best of all is the accoustically understated "Billy" Lou Reed at his most lyrically concise.

Not convinced by"Coney Island Baby" it's the kind of album that will grow on you, it was totally unknown to me, I got more into things like "Rock and Roll Animal" one of 2 Lou Reed live Albums and has the best Intro to "Sweet Jane" ever recorded.
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on 13 August 2012
I am not a massive lou Reed fan, but this gathers most of his essential albums together for not a lot.
In addition, these are the remastered versions with added tracks.

If you even have a passing interest in Lou reed it is worth the asking price.
The CD`s are presented in replica vinyl album sleeves and fit in a box not much bigger than the width of a single CD.
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My favourites, Berlin and Sally Can't Dance mean this box set is an absolute steal, added to which is his best known work - Transformer. I'm still discovering Coney island Baby, and if anything his earliest solo eponymous LP, is the only weak link in the bunch - but that is being ridiculously picky. Just buy, play and enjoy.
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on 4 June 2015
Excellent collection of Lou's first 5 solo studio albums. Great sound quality with nice packaging. My one quibble is the lack of booklets.

Lou Reed: 3.5/5
Decent effort, comprised mainly of VU leftovers.

Transformer: 5/5
Classic album - remastered with 2 bonus tracks.

Berlin: 4/5
A moody, brilliant album.

Sally Can't Dance: 3/5
Lou takes a bit of a back seat, playing fewer guitar parts, etc. With a few exceptions the songs are somewhat bland. Comes with bonus tracks.

Coney Island Baby: 4.5/5
Fantastic album, softer than some but just as good. Doesn't quite surpass Transformer, but comes quite close. Also, has quite a few bonus tracks.
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on 2 January 2015
An interesting Lou Reed primer for the uninitiated. An essential top up filler set for the completist. Coild also be an eye opening introduction for fans of the Velvet Underground who are not too familiar with the 'idiosyncrosies' of Lou's eclectic range of early solo projects.

But for the money, a cracking collection of early Lou albums that others must envy..

For me, it's a great snapshot of those chaotic first few years - hangover/legacy VU songs intermixed with a freedom of expressing solo ideas and motifs.

An utter bargain - cardboard sleeves in a neat boxset, containing albums of rare individuality & quirky zeitgeist genius. IMHO.

I miss Lou. I miss Lou.........
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on 29 March 2013
Perfect for what I needed, was after 1 or 2 but ended up with 5 for a good price.

Would definitely recommend!
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on 14 March 2013
A great album for anyone who feels a little nostalgic. How good is this guy. Many tracks are a first for me
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on 14 February 2013
Excellent product. It was good to replace my vinyls and buy 5 cd's in one pack so really good value.
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