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Lou Wants to be Black,
This review is from: Street Hassle (Audio CD)
Street Hassle is often regarded quite highly amongst Lou Reed fans. Apparently Bowie loved this album, and used to play it before the gigs on his Stage tour in the late 70s. This is not surprising, given that the opener, Gimme Some Good Times, sounds like Lou is ripping Bowie off. Dirt is a classic, though, with Lou's surly vocal and the big, dirty guitar riff, its Lou at his most caustic. I especially like it when he starts drawling Bobby Fuller's "I fought the law and the law won"- very cool.
The title track Street Hassle, is a bit over-extended in my opinion, but it has some excellent passages nonetheless. But surely, given Lou's lyrical ambitions, he can do better than 'Sha na na na.' I Wanna Be Black is a mediocre R&B shuffle with lyrics which are, at the very least, dubious (Lou had planned to give the same title to the album, before his record company people talked some sense into him). The eviscerated boogie of Real Good Time Together is the album's last high-point, before it tails off in quality. The last three tracks just sound like bar-band cabaret. The album has an overall feel of the throwaway and sub-standard, even on the better tracks. But its the highlight of Lou's time at Arista Records (which is admittedly, not saying much).