I think with 'Take No Prisoners' Lou ultimately sold himself short.
I have a few bootlegs from the tour this live CD was taken from and they show Lou to be in fine form, given a abrasively driven performance backed by his great jazz/soul influenced band.
Unfortunately he decided to release this live performance from the Bottom Line Club which turns out to include a number of stretched out songs with Lou giving a series of frankly irritating monologues which may appear quite amusing on a first or second listen but doesn't retain much interest once the novelty has worn off.
As with his studio album from this period 'Street Hassle' i can't help feeling Lou's primary concern is to make a grand statement (maybe as a result of punk). It's unfortunate because had he released a much more structured album where he just performed the songs straight (like a few of those bootlegs) we may have been talking about a potential Lou classic.
on 2 January 2010
I love this album. It was something a friend played to me years ago (on vinyl) and that I didn't track down again until recently.
Back then Lou Reed was making hit singles, like Walk on The Wild Side (limited to the length of `hit records', of course) but on this album you will hear a hilarious 14 minute deconstructed version that includes a droll monologue explaining the context, the source of the lyrics and more - all over this fantastic band.
Apparently these New York sets used to go on for hours, but don't think of any kind of monotony (Velvet Underground sound, say) as the band and backup singers produce a wide range of `feel' and sensitive variations, great control of dynamics, as well as head-butting rock when they let rip.
This live set has a theatrical feel, like a cabaret, with Lou talking and joking between and during numbers, dealing with hecklers, etc, so you don't just get songs but a whole performance which puts you right in the live environment. Unlike a lot of `live' albums where bands run through their usual repertoire, then overdub and remix, etc - this has a raw electric atmosphere, the real feel of a live show in a small environment, no stadium rock sound.
I say that because I only ever saw Lou Reed live once, in a roman arena (think Coliseum) in Verona, and although he did a great set, he didn't do a lot of talking between numbers to an Italian audience.
This captures Lou at his very best, in my opinion. I only wish I had been in that audience!
on 11 August 2004
Lou Reed and live music fans alike should love this album .
A mixture of bluesy laid back , lets get jamming , with the crowd and backing singers involved at first hand .
Lock yourself in a dark smokey room and turn the volume up and you are there -
Not , I fear the most technically advanced album , either in the recording or the set but what you will get is the REAL feel of Lou Reed in one of his most laid back moods .
'I Wanna Be Black ' is in my opinion the best song on this album being the one song that defines the feel and being there on the night .
Without a doubt any self respecting Lou Reed / Velvet fan should have this in their collection . Likewise , if you are a fan of live music you are in for a treat .
This is a live Lou album like no other.
He was often accused of not talking enough during gigs, so during this show no one can stop him!
His chat and banter is witty and often cutting. He is not afraid to talk during songs, of which the versions here are generally expanded in length and differ from the original album releases.
It's an eccentric and curious offering and not the place to start if you are new to Lou Reed. However, for the seasoned listener, give it a go and expect something different.
on 12 March 2010
I bought this on double vinyl back in lord knows when (1981?), listened to it and took it to a second hand record shop. I've only done this twice in 30 years. I was a fan and remain a fan to this day. This is Reed destroying his back catalogue as only he knows how and, I suggest, one for completists only. Buy 'Live 1969' instead because it is one of the best records (yeah, I bought it pre-CD) ever. Bar none.