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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Really Was SEX, DRUGS & ROCK n ROLL!!, 8 Dec 2012
By 
Cornish Deadhead "Happy Harv" (UK) - See all my reviews
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Had this one for a while and have given the CDs a good listen.
CD1 contains the stereo mix of the original album with 5 alternative track versions, all worth having as European Son being possibly better than the original. This must be as good as this album is going to sound in my opinion. Much better having the original album to start with not "sandwiched" as it is on Peel Slowly And See.
CD2 has the mono version + some singles and surprisingly does not have the impact of the stereo version.
CD3 is Nico's album which I must admit I have never owned before unlike VU's album where I still have my original '67 vinyl. As this album had Reed, Cale & Morrison playing on it (along with Jackson Browne), it is a logical inclusion, and a worthy one.
CD4 has the studio sessions and rehearsals which for any fan of the band is such interesting listening, (although the early recordings on Peel Slowly on CD1 are essential as well), and again are a really worthy addition.
CDs5&6 contain a live concert from 4/11/66 and are bootleg quality. Anyone that has ever heard bootlegs of rock concerts as early as 66 may know how bad the quality can be!
However, for a band and an album of this historical importance, I'm am so happy that they were included. They should carry a caveat emptor though as they are rough!!

The package comes housed in a large format book far more suited to your book library than your CD library, however it is beautiful in my opinion with many photos of the band and memorabilia, lyrics and 6 slots at the back to house the CDs.

Many cite this as a landmark and influential album, but I remember it selling in minute quantities when first released. Me hearing the original album for the first time 45 years ago though is still one of those moments that is burnt into my brain, such was the impact, and there is very few that have ever done that. The content of many of the songs might not be everyone's cup of coffee, but this is one of the true monumental rock albums of all time and as such this deluxe volume is well deserved. I do not considered VU ever equalled the impact, urgency, macabre beauty of this album again.

Few albums are really worthy of the term classic but this one is not only a classic, but it is a 24C solid gold classic, and this set is a most welcome addition to my library. This had to have five stars due to the iconic status of this album and the overall package.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars here he comes he's all dressed in black, 12 Nov 2012
By 
freewheeling frankie (north London, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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This really is the way to do super deluxe reissues. Eschewing silly gimmicks, it's basically a coffee-table book, beautifully produced, with 6 CDs in slots at the back and, of course, a peelable banana on the front. The essay by Richie Unterberger is well-informed - as far as is possible because there seems to be quite a lot of uncertainty about exact dates etc. - and well written, though a little bland; I particularly like the opening list of negative and random factors that should have prevented the album from ever having been made, and the informed speculation about why it took nearly a year for the album to be issued. Much of the book consists of photographs, most of which I've never seen before, both of the Velvets and associates (often in live performance) and of different versions of the original album cover, gig handbills etc.

The mastering is superb throughout, the amount of detail they've got out of the original tapes is extremely impressive and both the stereo and mono versions of the released album sound magnificent, and better than ever before, as does Nico's Chelsea Girls album, included here in its entirety. Notably it is mastered quite a bit quieter than the previous 2 CD deluxe edition - it sounds quite noticeably different overall as well. As I predicted in my review of the grey-market Unripened - Sweden, the contents of the legendary Scepter Studios/Norman Dolph acetate featuring an early/demo version of the album get an official release as part of a box set. However, the scratches, noise and occasional jumps of Unripened are largely a thing of the past: one of the 2 session reels has survived and the mono mixes of the tracks it contributed to the acetate (European Son, Black Angel's Death Song, All Tomorrow's Parties and Heroin) have been recreated (evidently the mixdown tape from which the acetate was cut is long lost, though this isn't mentioned) and the full length European Son and alternate Heroin have also been given new and excellent stereo mixes (there aren't 3 different takes of any track, though it does rather look that way from the track listing). Those tracks which HAVE been taken from the acetate (I'll Be Your Mirror, Femme Fatale, Venus In Furs, Waiting For The Man and Run Run Run) have apparently been taken from a different copy that was in the possession of Maureen Tucker. A little noise is present, especially on Femme Fatale, and there are muffled pops in places, but overall they sound way better than Unripened and there are no jumps. I guess the most unexpected inclusion is an instrumental mix of All Tomorrow's Parties, which allows clearer examination of John Cale's extraordinary piano part.

I've not heard bootlegs of the January 1966 rehearsal tape; it's interesting, and a very good recording, though likely to be the least listened-to part of the set as songs stop and start, apart from a very good version of Heroin. The section with Lou singing (or much of the time, reciting) the lyrics of Venus In Furs over Bo Diddley's Crackin' Up is a gas, as is the version of There She Goes Again featuring Nico - you can hear why Lou sang it on the album, it's just not in her key. If Maureen Tucker is present on this session, she only plays a little tambourine, which is a shame, but there's a lot of nice guitar playing from Lou and Sterling.

Finally, spread over 2 CDs, we get the entire Valleydale Ballroom performance from 4 November 1966. There are far worse-sounding bootlegs out there, and it sounds a little better than a version I downloaded not that long ago, but it's fair to say that the sound is seriously flawed, and in places pretty rough. To my ears, this is less down to the recording, which must originally have been pretty clear and well balanced - you can hear all the instruments well enough - than it is to the state of that tape at the point it was copied to another one prior to finding its way onto the bootleg market. It suffers wobbles, distortion and dropouts in places but the overall sound balance, otherwise unheard material (the long jams that open and close the performance) and excellent performances of material from the album make it essential, and it's far from unlistenable; it certainly has no rivals from this period of the Velvets. It's also worth noting that, without losing any of the music, it runs quite a bit shorter than the available bootlegs, so clearly quite a bit of between song tuning etc. has been edited out. Since it's spread over 2 discs, this was for cosmetic reasons not space.

Really there's only one thing wrong with this set - a minor quibble but a shame nonetheless - and that is the absence of the record that started it all, The Ostrich, which Lou Reed recorded when he worked at Pickwick Records. The Ostrich, and even more so its B-side, Sneaky Pete, point the way to the Velvet Underground and have never been officially reissued or cleaned up. It's even more bizarre given how much Richie Unterberger's essay dwells on how attempts to promote it with a live band resulted in Lou Reed meeting John Cale; I had not previously realised that it was a producer at Pickwick, not Lou Reed, who had met Cale at a party, felt he looked the part and, discovering he actually was a musician, recruited him to be a member of The Primitives and introduced him to Lou; none of these recordings would exist otherwise.

Clearly this is not aimed at those unfamiliar with the original album, which is why I've not reviewed it. It's a 5 star album and then some. But for those for whom it's an old friend, this is essential, and that friend has got a whole heap of new stuff to tell you! Let's hope they do similar for White Light/White Heat and the 3rd album (and VU/Another View material).
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30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular in its scope and point-blank essential, 6 Nov 2012
By 
Charles Miller "objective clarity" (Baltimore, Maryland U.S.A.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is by far the best reissue of the year, perhaps of all time. Truly glorious packaging: a weighty coffee-table-sized book, magnificently illustrated and penned by Velvet Underground authority, Richie Unterberger (although there are more photographs than words). Obviously made for profit, but also a labor of love.

Disc One: An incredibly-clear remastering, better than any that have gone before, the equal of the long out-of-print MFSL version. Finishes with bonus tracks: the familiar single-voice All Tomorrow's Parties and a previously unheard instrumental backing-track of the same. Also has alternate versions of European Son and Herion, and a great alternate mix of I'll Be Your Mirror with Nico's laughter at the end.

Disc Two: As with disc one, the best-sounding mono version yet with the two mono singles as bonuses. This is the way the album was originally recorded, so this is the definitive version. Thunderous.

Disc Three: Chelsea Girl, put here because on Nico's firt solo album, she was backed by Reed, Cale, Morrison and Jackson Browne. They wrote the majority of the songs too. Kind of like a gentle version of VU&N, but unfortunately, originally ruined with spurious and later added bogus strings and a flute, which could not be removed here because they could not find the original master, but yet again, the best sounding version yet.

Disc Four: The Scepter Studio version. Never mind the bootlegs; here the sound improvement is very dramatic, now elevated to nearly the same sound quality as the official mono version. Please note there a couple of seconds of pop and click during Run Run Run. Maureen Tucker's one of only two existing acetate records served as the main source for these. This is followed by Factory rehearsals, again, previously bootlegged, but now sounding almost as if they were professionally recorded. My only complaint is the Factory tapes are only half (the January 3, 1966 session) of what is on the bootlegs. The omissions would have fit on shortest disc, disc three, but I suppose they were trying to keep each one a themed whole.

Discs Five & Six: Once again, never mind the bootlegs. This is (albeit still in mono), the very best version ever committed to disc. They did a spectacular job of perfecting the sound. Think of the Melody Laughter edit from Peel Slowly And See. That's what this sounds like, only now, it is the complete concert. Yea! At times, it sounds professionally recorded (even though sourced from an audience tape), but be aware there are a few short passages which are not entirely clean. The Black Angel's Death Song suffers from some moderate distortion as does the middle section of the concert, which could not be repaired. Otherwise, sound-quality throughout is a point-blank miracle compared to all that has went before.

This set is absolutely essential for Velvet Underground collectors. Together for the first time is nearly every relevant Velvet Underground and Nico recording, and they ALL sound better than they ever have before. Yes! Buy it again! It will never be done better than this. Will there be a Super Deluxe 45th Anniversary edition of White Light / White Heat coming in December of 2013? One can only hope such will be the case.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Album ever?, 28 May 2013
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Well, if your reading this you almost certainly own a copy of this album in some form, if you don't where have you been?
This is the most important album ever and there have been hundreds of reviews, so wont add to them.
enough to say it influenced everyone from David Bowie to REM and thousands of others.
well what you get here is the ultimate collection, some rare tracks lots of live stuff and the factory rehearsals, some good some not
so good, but always interesting. If your a big fan just buy it, because some day you may not be able to find it (like i missed out on the "What goes on " box set)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Oh yes!, 6 Jun 2014
By 
Julie Holroyd (London, United Kingdom United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This is the ultimate for any serious Velvet Underground fan - comes also with a fabulous booklet and some unreleased material. A loving tribute as any you would wish for. Buy it!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars a hit, 7 Dec 2013
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there are musical artists and there everlasting musicians who out sell and out class their fellow artists in such scale that they are remembered for their work and people remembering their concerts
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars influenced, 5 Feb 2013
By 
Victor Preston "gvb" (birmingham, west mids United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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one of my all time favourite albums I first had this on vinyl in 1973.
the velvet underground are the band that has influenced the best music for over 40 years.
now hear the original mono recordings, early versions and a live concert.
i am looking forward to 50 years for the Blu-ray audio version!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heaven for Velvets freaks, 3 Feb 2013
By 
Peter Kenny (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Expensive and beautiful - only really for Velvets freaks but if you're one of those you'll love it - if you're not the price alone will put you off!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Foundation stone, 12 Nov 2012
Along with the Beatles, Dylan's core sixties discs and the Zeppelin cornerstones, this is surely essential in its original form. But when you add the full range of sessions and a best sound ever version of the perennial bootleg., this is a treasure trove of sound. It is though a shame that they couldn't get to the Nico mater-tapes to remove the extra flute etc as she always wished.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost Perfect, 24 Nov 2012
By 
John P (Dublin 24, Ireland) - See all my reviews
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The only fault with this otherwise beautiful looking, and sounding boxset, is the printed tracklisting, which instead of being imprinted on the (blank) back cover, is on a seperate sheet that is badly gelled on to the back. Mine has already come off. This is even more annoying than the fact that Amazon reduced the price of the boxset by £8 just after I purchased.
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The Velvet Underground & Nico 45th Anniversary
The Velvet Underground & Nico 45th Anniversary by Nico and The Velvet Underground
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