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on 26 May 2011
Excellent and timely box set of Lou Reed's 1980s albums (apart form New York). Now the 80s are cool again the shiny production on New Sensations sounds totally relevant, with pops dark humorist knocking em out on the likes of 'High in the City' this album's even better than on it's initial release. Legendary Hearts is Lou's lost masterpiece, more focused than New York and coming on like an aural Woody Allen movie. So Lou let's things slide on Mistrial but it's worth the ride, and Blue Mask is up there with Berlin, Women is one of his most beautiful songs. I'd forgotten about these albums, don't you! there's a revelation in waiting here.
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The Sony / BMG 'Original Album Classics' series is pretty good value for money - I have purchased several of 'em, and, considering some of these albums are shortly to be reissued individually (at a couple of quid less for each album than for all five that are contained here), are worth acquiring. Whilst the albums contained in this set, from the period 1981 through to 1986, are arguably not essential Lou Reed albums - he'd come back strongly at the end of the decade with his 'New York' set - there is more than enough good music contained on this collection to make the outlay worthwhile. 'The Blue Mask' was regarded at the time of its original release as a powerful work, and the best he'd done in several years, and it certainly bears up to contemporary scrutiny. The stripped back sound of guitar, bass and drums, and the lyrical focus are intact, even if Reed is vocally no Pavarotti, but compared to the previous album, 'Growing Up In Public', its a far more focused and direct affair. I've written eleswhere on Amazon in praise of the 'Live In Italy' album, which features his great early 80's band with the late Robert Quine on guitar, and this is here, in it's original sleeve (not a gatefold, mind). 'New Sensations' does feature the really rather joyous 'I Love You Suzanne', an attempt at writing a straight ahead pop song that actually works quite well, and there are several other highlights. Sure, there's no liner notes, but if you can live without such (useful) window-dressing, this is well worth investing in. I bought this, the Harry Nilsson, Kris Kristofferson and Jeff Beck sets, and none disappoint.
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on 2 June 2012
The third, and to date (June 12) final mini box of Lou's work. This set covers Lou's return to RCA and the years 1982 to 1986 and unfortunately is probably the least interesting of the sets on offer. It's not all fallow and I guess even Lou deserves a little quiet time.
* Blue Mask: Lou becomes an Artist with the emphasis on the capital A. Ruminations on Delmore, Kennedy and wife Sylvia are particularly lovely but like Townshend before him our Lou starts to trip himself up with cumbersome lyrics. "Silvia and I got our Ouija board" would sound faintly ridiculous no matter who was singing it. Likewise the Blue Mask track itself which gets way too wordy to work. It's also worth mentioning that on this LP, and the subsequent Legendary Hearts, that Lou starts to try and "sing" the songs. Now Lou has a unique voice, he could read from the NYC telephone directory and make it sound interesting, but he just can't sing. What makes it worse is that he sounds so damn earnest as well.
* Legendary Hearts: Less arty than Blue Mask, the title track is terrific and Don't Talk To Me About Work is punchy but you get the distinct impression he's trying too hard. There's no edge here, no challenge. It's music as reportage but as with Rock n Roll Heart, even when he's not on target he's never less than interesting.
* Live In Italy: I could never work this one out, what was the purpose of this? Originally a double LP and now on one CD this was only ever released in Europe and was sourced from a couple of nights in Rome and Verona during the Legendary Hearts tour. In a review in Sounds at the time of release, Sandy Robertson and erstwhile VU and Lou fan berated this release and unfortunately the intervening years have done little to change its stature. Kill Your Sons still crackles, but that's it, and as that track has been compiled onto NYC Man this release is pretty redundant. Not half as much fun as Take No Prisoners (Lou as Lenny Bruce).
* New Sensations: The voice is back! Lou ditches earnest and gets playful. He even gets a sniff of chart action with I Love You Suzanne, unfortunately you get the impression that Lou is playing the game here. He can push the buttons as required but again, there's no challenge. The title track is smart, but again that's done to that wonderful vocal delivery.
* Mistrial: Another one lost in the cracks. This is a little more edgy that New Sensations but essentially cut from the same cloth. I prefer the harder edge that this Lou gives us but I'm struggling right now to list one memorable thing about it.
Nice box, fantastic value but in all honesty none of the albums in this box are one's I return to on anything other than an infrequent basis. After this Lou got all worthy with New York, Magic and Loss and Drella but since then he's been as confounding, confusing and challenging as ever. God bless him, he's a true maverick.
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on 15 June 2016
Very good collection of music from one of the greats. I know a bigger box set with new remasters is on the way, but this is also a great series/collection.
And great to find a copy from a seller that isn't deluded and trying to flog it at £200
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on 4 March 2013
O que dizer mais de Lou Reed. Sua obra está definitivamente eternizada na história da música do planeta. Este box traz bons momentos desta genialidade.
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on 28 April 2014
Good collection. I especially like the live in Italy CD
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on 2 September 2014
a 1st class set of c/ds
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on 17 January 2015
as good as it gets
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on 25 July 2014
i bought the three Lou Reed's original album classics, it means 15 cds. i'm not a Lou Reed's fan, but I always admired him for his music and for his attitude since the Velvet days. There will not be another Lou Reed anymore.
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on 18 January 2015
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