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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
64
4.5 out of 5 stars


on 27 June 2014
Good on first play but even better on 2nd and 3rd. Recommended listening whether you have heard their music before or not.
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on 30 November 2014
Freewheeling frankie has posted a very informative review, that I will try to avoid duplicating, but I wish to add one thing to his list of 'considerations for a fan buying this set' - the book!

True, I buy most music for just that, the music, but large books on the Velvet Underground with lots of pictures from the 1969 era, even now, are few and far between.

Some are judging whether to purchase solely on the music - ie what they have already vs what they don't, and whether different mixes are 'surplus'. I say factor in a book that's easily worth £10-£20 of any real fan's money.

As for the music, as other comments have suggested, the quality on the live discs is astounding - both in terms of sound and performance. I thought I'd heard all the good stuff live from 1969, yet the versions of What Goes On, Over You (better than the tentative version on 'Live 69' I felt), Real Good Time Together, Rock & Roll, Venus in Furs, There She Goes Again, Sister Ray (36 minutes long, and takes it time to get going, but enthralling...), Heroin, White Light/White Heat, After Hours, and Sweet Jane (in other words, pretty much the whole lot) bowled me over! The gig also seemed of a higher standard (again both musically and definitely in terms of sound quality) than the much circulated Dallas End Cole Ave gigs.

The difference between these live tracks and the versions on live 1969 and the latter bootlegs is simply the clarity...I don't always like too much clarity on 60's recordings but it works brilliantly here, one can hear the harmonics / chimes of the guitars more now than ever, compared to any of the aforementioned live releases.

Of the studio material, much has been written about the different mixes of the album elsewhere. As for the outtakes, We're Gonna Have a Real Good Together certainly sounds better - I did see somewhere people questioning the 'need' for 2014 mixes of the 1969 outtake material. It is worth remembering that there had been comments and concerns the "VU" and "Another View" material had been given a bit of an "80's mix" when they finally got an official release in the mid to late 80's. While I do actually prefer the "80's" mix of I Can't Stand It though, the 4th disc is very welcome.

I think it's a shame some of the different vocal takes of Ride Into the Sun haven't been gathered here...the equal best (i.e. equal with the vocal take of the version on Another View) version of Ride Into the Sun was issued by the Les Inrockuptibles magazine in France in 1990. It is moving and beautiful.

Here's hoping there's a further expanded Loaded set with the stereo Max's 1970 Joseph Freeman tape included - one would hope the record companies and the owner of the magnificient stereo Max's tape might finally be able to agree on a release of that. The above mentioned 'Les Inrockuptibles' take of Ride Into The Sun should be there too, with no mixing or 'remastering' - it has a lovely warm sound to it, that you can really feel - it just needs just a little de-clicking (it was from an acetate).
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 25 November 2014
Here it comes now, the third and (presumably) final instalment of the Velvet Underground super deluxe reissues from Universal. The format (10"x12" hardback book with cardboard slots for the CDs) is identical to the first two.

As with The Velvet Underground & Nico, there are 6 CDs, with the last two being live recordings. Like White Light/White Heat, however, the essay is by David Fricke, and again as with WL/WH it told me a lot less that I didn't already know than Richie Unterberger's essay with the VU&N super deluxe, though again there are fascinating quotes from band members, most particularly from a recent interview with Doug Yule undertaken specifically for this project.

Unlike both previous super deluxe outings, this one contains three mixes of the original album - the "Closet Mix" by Lou Reed, the Val Valentin mix insisted upon by Verve/MGM because they weren't too keen on Reed's mix, and a mono mix described as "Promotional Mono Mix", meaning it was presumably only issued to radio stations and didn't make it into record shops. David Fricke asserts in his essay that it was the Closet mix which was originally issued on LP in 1969 and the Val Valentin mix later replaced it - this applies to the USA but in the UK it was the other way round - the first edition was the Val Valentin mix (sent to UK Polydor in error) and the second, from 1971, was the Closet mix. Things got more complicated with the arrival of CDs - on the earliest CD issue, one half of the album was from the Closet mix and one half from the Val Valentin mix; this error was fairly quickly rectified in favour of the Val Valentin mix and the Closet mix then turned up in its entirety on Peel Slowly & See but to my knowledge has never been available separately on a standalone CD.

Let's look at the contents. As with the super deluxe editions of their first two albums, the following considerations apply for fans considering purchase:
1. The mastering
2. The mono mix
3. The studio extras
4. The live recording
5. The amount of previously unheard content

The mastering:
Is absolutely fine, though headphones reveal quite a lot of hiss in places. Of course both stereo mixes of the original album have already been available in respectable masterings.

The mono mix:
My sense of anticipation for this wasn't at the same level as it was for the mono WL/WH. Just as well, as it sounds suspiciously like a bounce-down of the stereo Closet mix - as well as sounding very similar, it uses the same take of Some Kinda Love - the Val Valentin mix used a completely different take. The Murder Mystery perhaps inevitably doesn't work well in mono - the two recitations just interfere with each other when not separated into left and right channels - but the rest of the album sounds fine, just not very different.

The studio extras:
CD 2 (The Closet Mix) contains a bonus track in the shape of Beginning To See The Light (Alternate Closet Mix). Presumably rejected in favour of the released Closet mix version, it's slightly inferior to that version and is of course the same take. CD 3 (Promotional Mono Mix) contains two bonus tracks in the shape of the single versions of What Goes On and Jesus. Both mono, the former is an edit but otherwise sounds identical to the full length mono version; the latter is effectively indistinguishable from the mono album version; someone with sharper ears than me may be able to discern some minor difference.

CD 4 contains all the studio material the Velvets recorded in 1969 after the original release of this album, ostensibly for a fourth album which didn't get issued at the time. All of this material first saw the (legal) light of day in 1985 and 1986 on the albums VU and Another View (along with a few tracks recorded when John Cale was still in the band, which have been reissued on the deluxe & super deluxe versions of White Light/White Heat.) Most of the tracks on VU and Another View were newly mixed for those releases - only 4 of the original 1969 mixes (Ocean, I'm Gonna Move Right In, Ferryboat Bill and Rock & Roll) were used. Those 4 appear here and are joined by another 4 previously unissed original 1969 mixes and 6 brand new mixes from 2014 - the 1984 and 1986 mixes, which sound very much of their time, have been consigned to the dumper. Straight away, the 1969 mix of Foggy Notion is way superior to the 1984 mix - weightier, and less reverb on the snare. Next up is a new mix of One Of These Days; the new mix has clearly been done in the spirit of the 1969 mixes rather than the over-reverbed 1984/86 mixes. Happily, this applies throughout - whether 1969 or 2014 mixes have been used, they are hugely superior to the 1980s ones, and the four songs that were always available in 1969 mixes are far better mastered than they were 30 years ago. What seemed in some cases to be rather slight, poppy tunes sound far more convincing here than they did with their 1980s mixes and mastering. Given that the contents of this disc are only available in the super deluxe edition, Universal really ought to consider issuing it separately, preferably with the Cale tracks added, though the latter are at least available in the 2 CD version of WL/WH.

The live recording
Consists of recordings made at the Matrix in San Francisco on 26-27 November 1969; it isn't stated whether this represents 2 gigs or one that went on past midnight but if it's the former the individual tracks aren't specified to one night or the other. Note also that the two tracks here that appeared on The Quine Tapes (Rock And Roll was also on 1969 Live) were supposedly recorded on different dates (Sister Ray on 3 December, Rock And Roll on 25 November) so one must be wrong. The Matrix had an in-house 4-track recording system and performances there appear to have been routinely recorded, though due to the expense of half inch tape they were quite often recorded over, which apparently happened to quite a lot of the Velvet Underground recordings from earlier in their quite lengthy residency at the venue. Six of these performances (Some Kinda Love, Beginning To See The Light, Lisa Says, Rock And Roll, White Light/White Heat and Sweet Jane) were first issued in 1974 on 1969 Velvet Underground Live, along with more from the Matrix and a few from a slightly earlier gig in Texas; it's unknown whether the other tracks on that album from the Matrix were recorded on the same night(s) as the ones here.

What isn't clear is whether the compilers of 1969 Velvet Underground Live had access to the 4-track tapes or were just given mix-downs; given the slight crackles on some tracks there, it may even have been acetates. Either way, the difference in sound quality is staggering; I've always found the recordings on 1969 Live entirely listenable and it's one of my all-time favourite albums but they were undoubtedly of "good bootleg" quality. Here, the compilers HAVE had access to the 4-track tapes and we now have 2 hours of the best-sounding live Velvet Underground recordings ever to see the light of day, legally or otherwise. Not just marginally the best-sounding, but by the proverbial country mile - the recordings are amazingly clean-sounding, with considerable weight and punch where appropriate, begging the very obvious questions of "how much more is there?" and "when do we get a remixed/remastered/expanded version of 1969 Live?" or, if there's a lot more of this stuff, "when do we get the Velvets at the Matrix box set?" - though my earlier remark about many of the tapes from earlier in their residency being taped over is sourced from a quote of the guy that ran the venue at the time, so perhaps the latter is not very likely. We can at least hope that the multi-tracks also exist for the Matrix recordings on 1969 Live that aren't duplicated here.

As well as the 6 tracks that first appeared on 1969 Live, the version of Sister Ray here first appeared on The Quine Tapes, mastered from a cassette recording - again, the improvement in quality is massive, though there is a sudden drop in quality for about 30 seconds round about the 33 minute mark, which suggests that the tape may have run out and a little bit of Robert Quine's cassette recording had to be inserted. The remaining 11 tracks have never seen the light of day before. It seems very likely that at least some of these recordings were considered for 1969 Live and rejected - where different versions of the same songs appear on that album, they are generally superior to the versions here, though not by much - the overall standard is very high. Finally, 4 songs here did not appear on 1969 Live at all - Venus In Furs (replacing John Cale's viola with organ); a particularly unexpected (and very fast) run though of There She Goes Again; and excellent if fairly straight versions of I'm Set Free and After Hours.

The amount of previously unheard content:
While there are a lot of previously unheard mixes of studio material here, and in the case of the 1969 recordings this is a far from insignificant bonus, there are no previously unheard studio recordings here at all. But as detailed above, 11 of the 18 live tracks have never ever seen the light of day before, and some of them are superb.

In conclusion:
Like the super deluxe editions of the Velvets' first two albums, this is a superbly produced item containing iconic and brilliant music; this set is certainly better value than the 3 CD super deluxe version of White Light/White Heat. There are two very strong reasons for buying this if you're a serious Velvets fan - the massively superior mixes/mastering of the 1969 "4th album" material, and the staggeringly good sound quality of the live material. As a result, the relatively disappointing mono mix doesn't dent the desirability of the set overall. Unlike the WL/WH super deluxe, it also beats the 2 CD "Deluxe" version hands down: CD 1 of the deluxe edition is the Val Valentin mix of the original album, i.e. you can still only get the Closet mix on a box set - this one or Peel Slowly & See; CD 2 is a "best" of the Matrix recordings, omitting We're Gonna Have A Real Good Time Together, Venus In Furs, There She Goes Again, Sister Ray, I'm Set Free and After Hours - all previously unissued performances except for Sister Ray. Personally I think the opportunity to hear that Sister Ray in good quality is one of the main reasons to go for the Super Deluxe, along with the audio justice finally done to the 1969 recordings, none of which are on the deluxe edition.

November 2015 postscript: all the live performances included on CDs 5 & 6 here have now been reissued as part of "The Complete Matrix Tapes", leaving this set looking much less good value than it did a year ago. Its remaining USPs are now the Closet and mono mixes of the studio album (of which you may have the former as part of "Peel Slowly And See" and really don't need the latter) and the 1969 studio material - and it can surely only be a matter of time before that comes out separately.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 5 April 2016
In 1985 fans of the VELVET UNDERGROUND were treated to their first legitimately released rarities compilation 'V.U.' closely followed by 1986's 'ANOTHER VIEW.' Between both were 19 rarities from both the "Cale era" and "Yule era." in 1995 Polydor Chronicles upped the ante with the 5-disc boxed set 'PEEL SLOWLY AND SEE,' containing 74-tracks of previously released material and more rarities. 2002 Deluxe Edition of the group's first album 'THE VELVET UNDERGROUND & NICO' followed in 2012 by 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe and Deluxe Editions' containing six and two disc respectively. Next up in 2013 were the 2CD Deluxe and 3CD Super Deluxe Editions of their second album WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT. Click on the links for my reviews of those releases. It was only obvious that their next two albums would eventually get the same treatment......

The 6CD 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition of THE VELVET UNDERGROUND is both wonderful AND maddening. The first disc contains the "Val Valentin mix' of the album which is the most familiar to listeners. The second disc contains what is referred to as Lou Reed's "Closet Mix" which features the vocals more prominent in the mix. This version was also included in it's entirety on the 'PEEL SLOWLY AND SEE' set. The third disc contains a "Promotional MONO Mix" of the album, plus the mono single mixes of "What Goes On" and "Jesus." The track list for he first three discs then is as follows:

1/2/3-1 Candy Says
1/2/3-2 What Goes On
1/2/3-3 Some Kinda Love
1/2/3-4 Pale Blue Eyes
1/2/3-5 Jesus
1/2/3-6 Beginning To See The Light
1/2/3-7 I'm Set Free
1/2/3-8 That's The Story Of My Life
1/2/3--9 The Murder Mystery
1/2/3-10 After Hours
0/0.3-11 What Goes On (Mono single, MGM K-10457-A, 4/69)
0/0/3-12 Jesus (Mono single, MGM K-10457-B, 4/69)

The fourth disc is where the real gold lies, with remastered and in some cases re-mixed versions of contemporarily recorded material that was originally released on either 'V.U.'(*) or 'ANOTHER VIEW' (**) . Here's the track listing marked as to which compilation it was originally released on:

4-1 Foggy Notion (Original 1969 Mix)*
4-2 One Of These Days (New 2014 Mix)*
4-3 Lisa Says (New 2014 Mix)*
4-4 I'm Sticking With You (Original 1969 Mix)*
4-5 Andy's Chest (Original 1969 Mix) *
4-6 Coney Island Steeplechase (New 2014 Mix)**
4-7 Ocean (Original 1969 Mix)*
4-8 I Can't Stand It (New 2014 Mix)*
4-9 She's My Best Friend (Original 1969 Mix)*
4-10 We're Gonna Have A Real Good Time Together (New 2014 Mix)**
4-11 I'm Gonna Move Right In (Original 1969 Mix)**
4-12 Ferryboat Bill (Original 1969 Mix) **
4-13 Rock & Roll (Original 1969 Mix)**
4-14 Ride Into The Sun (New 2014 Mix)**

As noted above, this material has either been left as mixed in 1969 or newly remixed in 2014. The wonderful thing about this set up to this point is the remastering, it's absolutely stunning. Now, I buy and listening to oodles and oodles of music and am pretty jaded when I see the word "Remastered" but even an old curmudgeon like me is impressed. The problem with value-for-money arises on the fifth and sixth discs, "Live At The Matrix, November 26 & 27, 1969 (Parts 1 & 2)" First the track list:

5-1 I'm Waiting For The Man***/#
5-2 What Goes On***/#
5-3 Some Kinda Love*/#
5-4 Over You***/#
5-5 We're Gonna Have A Real Good Time Together***
5-6 Beginning To See The Light*/#
5-7 Lisa Says*/#
5-8 Rock & Roll*/#
5-9 Pale Blue Eyes***/#
5-10 I Can't Stand It Anymore***/#
5-11 Venus In Furs***
5-12 There She Goes Again***

6-1 Sister Ray**
6-2 Heroin***/#
6-3 White Light/White Heat*/#
6-4 I'm Set Free***
6-5 After Hours***
6-6 Sweet Jane*/#

As annotated above, those tracks marked (*) were first released on the 'VELVET UNDERGROUND LIVE with Lou Reed 1969 : Volume One' (Tracks 5-6, 5-7, 5-8) and 'Volume Two' (Tracks 5-3, 6-3), and those marked (**) were released on 'THE BOOTLEG SERIES, Volume 1: THE QUINE TAPES' set. Now when this set was released, the eleven tracks marked (***) were previously unreleased, but last year saw the release of THE COMPLETE MATRIX TAPES a 4CD set containing every track recorded on Nov. 26 & 27, 1969, making the ability to obtain the material on the 6CD 'THE VELVET UNDERGROUND Super Deluxe Edition' less essential. Polydor/Universal have also released a 2CD Deluxe Edition' that contains 'The Val Valentin Mix" on Disc One, and twelve live Matrix tracks on Disc Two (see # above). The hardcover book is sturdily made although as with the others in the series the discs fit in slots within the rear cover. There are plenty of photos of the band , memorabilia, posters, ads, etc. and a lengthy essay by David Fricke of Rolling Stone magazine fame in the 72-page book. The live material sounds much better than on the previous releases as well, but fans will definitely want to grab the more complete 'THE MATRIX TAPES.' Unfortunately this doesn't make the 'LIVE 1969' set totally redundant, hit still contains four-tracks recorded at End of Cole Ave, Dallas, TX on October 19, 1969 ("I'm Waiting For The Man," "Femme Fatale," "Ocean" and "Heroin" [CD2 version]). There are a variety of sets out there with the End Of Cole Ave. material of dubious legality, but fans might want to practice restraint in case Polydor/Universal decides on that as it's next trawl through the archives......

the band:
Lou Reed - Guitar & Lead Vocals (except 1/2/3-1)
Sterling Morrison - Guitar & Backing Vocals
Maureen Tucker - Drums & Lead Vocals (1/2/3-10, 4-4, 6-5)
Doug Yule - Bass, Keyboards, Backing Vocals & Lead Vocals (1/2/3-1)

It was only a matter of time before the fourth album would see a deluxe release, and Rhino did the honors with 2015's '
LOADED: Re-Loaded 45th Anniversary Edition' this time a five-disc plus DVD version. Although on another label, the set is packaged similarly to the previous three. Again the remastering is stellar. Disc One contains the original ten-track album in stereo with the full-length versions of "Sweet Jane" and "Rock & Roll"
and four session outtakes first released on 1997's 2CD 'LOADED: Fully Loaded Edition,' while Disc Two
contains the album's "Promotional Mono Version" with the original track lengths and four added mono single mixes. Here
are the track listings:

1-1 Who Loves The Sun
1-2 Sweet Jane (Full-Length Version, 4:06)
1-3 Rock & Roll (Full-Length Version, 4:43)
1-4 Cool It Down
1-5 New Age
1-6 Head Held High
1-7 Lonesome Cowboy Bill
1-8 I Found A Reason
1-9 Train Round The Bend
1-10 Oh! Sweet Nuthin'
SESSION OUTTAKES:
1-11 I'm Sticking With You (Remix)
1-12 Ocean
1-13 I Love You
1-14 Ride Into The Sun

2-1 Who Loves The Sun
2-2 Sweet Jane (3:15)
2-3 Rock & Roll (4:38)
2-4 Cool It Down
2-5 New Age
2-6 Head Held High
2-7 Lonesome Cowboy Bill
2-8 I Found A Reason
2-9 Train Round The Bend
2-10 Oh! Sweet Nuthin'
MONO SINGLE MIXES:
2-11 Who Loves The Sun (Cotillion 45-44107-A)
2-12 Oh! Sweet Nuthin' (Cotillion 45-44107-B)
2-13 Rock & Roll (Cotillion 45-44133-A, unissued)
2-14 Lonesome Cowboy Bill (Cotillion 45-44133-B, unissued)

Disc Three consists of demos, early versions and alternate mixes. All but five were previously released on the
'LOADED: Fully Loaded Edition' (*) although some here are mixed (as noted below). Many of the tracks are somewhat
shorter than when previously released, probably due to improvement in remastering technology regarding the
original tape speeds.

3-1 Rock & Roll (Demo)*
3-2 Sad Song (Demo)*
3-3 Satellite Of Love (Demo)*
3-4 Walk And Talk (Demo) *
3-5 Oh Gin (Demo) *
3-6 Ocean (Demo) *
3-7 I Love You (Outtake)*
3-8 Love Makes You Feel Ten Feet Tall (Demo/Remix)*
3-9 I Found A Reason (Demo)*
3-10 Cool It Down (Early Version/Remix)*
3-11 Sweet Jane (Early Version/Remix)*
3-12 Lonesome Cowboy Bill (Early Version/Remix)*
3-13 Head Held High (Early Version/Remix)*
3-14 Oh! Sweet Nuthin' (Early Version/Remix)*
3-15 Who Loves The Sun (Alternate Mix)
3-16 Sweet Jane (Alternate Mix)
3-17 Cool It Down (Alternate Mix)
3-18 Lonesome Cowboy Bill (Alternate Mix)
3-19 Train Round The Bend (Alternate Mix)*
3-20 Head Held High (Alternate Mix)
3-21 Rock & Roll (Alternate Mix)*

Disc Four contains a remastered selection of live recordings previously issued on the LIVE AT
MAX'S KANSAS CITY
 two-disc set:

4-1 I'm Waiting For The Man
4-2 White Light/White Heat
4-3 I'm Set Free
4-4 Sweet Jane
4-5 Lonesome Cowboy Bill
4-6 New Age
4-7 Beginning To See The Light
4-8 I'll Be Your Mirror
4-9 Pale Blue Eyes
4-10 Candy Says
4-11 Sunday Morning
4-12 After Hours
4-13 Femme Fatale
4-14 Some Kinda Love
4-15 Lonesome Cowboy Bill (Version 2)

Disc Five contains a previously unreleased concert recorded at the Second Fret, Philadelphia, May 9, 1970. Although it's nice to have this for historical purposes, the sound is abysmal. Maureen Tucker was pregnant so the band played as a three-piece with Doug Yule switching between bass and drums.....

5-1 I'm Waiting For The Man
5-2 What Goes On
5-3 Cool It Down
5-4 Sweet Jane
5-5 Rock & Roll
5-6 Some Kinda Love
5-7 New Age
5-8 Candy Says
5-9 Head Held High
5-10 Train Round The Bend
5-11 Oh! Sweet Nuthin'

Disc Six is an audio-only DVD that features three different mixes of LOADED: a 5.1 Surround Sound Remix with a choice between DTS 96/24 and Dolby Digital Surround Sound, a 5.1 Surround Sound to Stereo Down-mixes in 96/24 High Resolution Audio, and a Flat Transfer of the Original Stereo Album in 96/24 High Resolution Audio. For the Surround Sound and Stereo Down-mixes, the original track listing is re-sequenced slightly to include the segue that was originally planned for "I Found A Reason">"Head Held High." The Surround Sound and Stereo Down-mixes also contain the full-length versions of "Sweet Jane," "Rock & Roll" and "New Age." The Flat Transfer Stereo Mix contains the original edited versions. The hardcover book has the same set-up as the other three with the discs in slots in the rear. The 72-page book also contains plenty of photos of the band , memorabilia, posters, ads, etc. and lengthy essay by rock historian and Patti Smith Group member Lenny Kaye of NUGGETS fame......

Although the Super Deluxe Editions of the VELVET UNDERGROUND's essential canon are quite pricey they are also very well-done. As far as value-for-money, not so much, but the fan will have to decide if they need them.....

the band:
Lou Reed - Guitar, Lead Vocals (except where noted below) & Backing Vocals
Sterling Morrison - Guitar & Backing Vocals
Maureen Tucker - Drums (except where noted below), Percussion (3-9) & Lead Vocals (1-11)
Doug Yule - Bass, Keyboards, Guitar, Backing Vocals & Lead Vocals (1-1, 1-5, 1-7, 1-10, 2-1, 2-5, 2-7, 2-10, 2-11, 2-12, 2-14, 5-8, 6-1, 6-5, 6-7, 6-10)
with
John Cale - Organ (3-6)
Bill Yule - Drums (1-7, 1-10, 1-12, 2-7, 2-10, Disc Four, 6-7, 6-10)
Tommy Castanaro - Drums (1-4, 1-6, 2-4, 2-6, 6-4, 6-6)
Adrian Barber - Drums (1-1, 2-1, 6-1)
Adrian Barber and/or Bill Yule - Drums (1-9, 2-9, 6-9)
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 5 April 2016
In 1985 fans of the VELVET UNDERGROUND were treated to their first legitimately released rarities compilation 'V.U.' closely followed by 1986's 'ANOTHER VIEW.' Between both were 19 rarities from both the "Cale era" and "Yule era." in 1995 Polydor Chronicles upped the ante with the 5-disc boxed set 'PEEL SLOWLY AND SEE,' containing 74-tracks of previously released material and more rarities. 2002 Deluxe Edition of the group's first album 'THE VELVET UNDERGROUND & NICO' followed in 2012 by 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe and Deluxe Editions' containing six and two disc respectively. Next up in 2013 were the 2CD Deluxe and 3CD Super Deluxe Editions of their second album WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT. Click on the links for my reviews of those releases. It was only obvious that their next two albums would eventually get the same treatment......

The 6CD 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition of THE VELVET UNDERGROUND is both wonderful AND maddening. The first disc contains the "Val Valentin mix' of the album which is the most familiar to listeners. The second disc contains what is referred to as Lou Reed's "Closet Mix" which features the vocals more prominent in the mix. This version was also included in it's entirety on the 'PEEL SLOWLY AND SEE' set. The third disc contains a "Promotional MONO Mix" of the album, plus the mono single mixes of "What Goes On" and "Jesus." The track list for he first three discs then is as follows:

1/2/3-1 Candy Says
1/2/3-2 What Goes On
1/2/3-3 Some Kinda Love
1/2/3-4 Pale Blue Eyes
1/2/3-5 Jesus
1/2/3-6 Beginning To See The Light
1/2/3-7 I'm Set Free
1/2/3-8 That's The Story Of My Life
1/2/3--9 The Murder Mystery
1/2/3-10 After Hours
0/0.3-11 What Goes On (Mono single, MGM K-10457-A, 4/69)
0/0/3-12 Jesus (Mono single, MGM K-10457-B, 4/69)

The fourth disc is where the real gold lies, with remastered and in some cases re-mixed versions of contemporarily recorded material that was originally released on either 'V.U.'(*) or 'ANOTHER VIEW' (**) . Here's the track listing marked as to which compilation it was originally released on:

4-1 Foggy Notion (Original 1969 Mix)*
4-2 One Of These Days (New 2014 Mix)*
4-3 Lisa Says (New 2014 Mix)*
4-4 I'm Sticking With You (Original 1969 Mix)*
4-5 Andy's Chest (Original 1969 Mix) *
4-6 Coney Island Steeplechase (New 2014 Mix)**
4-7 Ocean (Original 1969 Mix)*
4-8 I Can't Stand It (New 2014 Mix)*
4-9 She's My Best Friend (Original 1969 Mix)*
4-10 We're Gonna Have A Real Good Time Together (New 2014 Mix)**
4-11 I'm Gonna Move Right In (Original 1969 Mix)**
4-12 Ferryboat Bill (Original 1969 Mix) **
4-13 Rock & Roll (Original 1969 Mix)**
4-14 Ride Into The Sun (New 2014 Mix)**

As noted above, this material has either been left as mixed in 1969 or newly remixed in 2014. The wonderful thing about this set up to this point is the remastering, it's absolutely stunning. Now, I buy and listening to oodles and oodles of music and am pretty jaded when I see the word "Remastered" but even an old curmudgeon like me is impressed. The problem with value-for-money arises on the fifth and sixth discs, "Live At The Matrix, November 26 & 27, 1969 (Parts 1 & 2)" First the track list:

5-1 I'm Waiting For The Man***/#
5-2 What Goes On***/#
5-3 Some Kinda Love*/#
5-4 Over You***/#
5-5 We're Gonna Have A Real Good Time Together***
5-6 Beginning To See The Light*/#
5-7 Lisa Says*/#
5-8 Rock & Roll*/#
5-9 Pale Blue Eyes***/#
5-10 I Can't Stand It Anymore***/#
5-11 Venus In Furs***
5-12 There She Goes Again***

6-1 Sister Ray**
6-2 Heroin***/#
6-3 White Light/White Heat*/#
6-4 I'm Set Free***
6-5 After Hours***
6-6 Sweet Jane*/#

As annotated above, those tracks marked (*) were first released on the 'VELVET UNDERGROUND LIVE with Lou Reed 1969 : Volume One' (Tracks 5-6, 5-7, 5-8) and 'Volume Two' (Tracks 5-3, 6-3), and those marked (**) were released on 'THE BOOTLEG SERIES, Volume 1: THE QUINE TAPES' set. Now when this set was released, the eleven tracks marked (***) were previously unreleased, but last year saw the release of THE COMPLETE MATRIX TAPES a 4CD set containing every track recorded on Nov. 26 & 27, 1969, making the ability to obtain the material on the 6CD 'THE VELVET UNDERGROUND Super Deluxe Edition' less essential. Polydor/Universal have also released a 2CD Deluxe Edition' that contains 'The Val Valentin Mix" on Disc One, and twelve live Matrix tracks on Disc Two (see # above). The hardcover book is sturdily made although as with the others in the series the discs fit in slots within the rear cover. There are plenty of photos of the band , memorabilia, posters, ads, etc. and a lengthy essay by David Fricke of Rolling Stone magazine fame in the 72-page book. The live material sounds much better than on the previous releases as well, but fans will definitely want to grab the more complete 'THE MATRIX TAPES.' Unfortunately this doesn't make the 'LIVE 1969' set totally redundant, hit still contains four-tracks recorded at End of Cole Ave, Dallas, TX on October 19, 1969 ("I'm Waiting For The Man," "Femme Fatale," "Ocean" and "Heroin" [CD2 version]). There are a variety of sets out there with the End Of Cole Ave. material of dubious legality, but fans might want to practice restraint in case Polydor/Universal decides on that as it's next trawl through the archives......

the band:
Lou Reed - Guitar & Lead Vocals (except 1/2/3-1)
Sterling Morrison - Guitar & Backing Vocals
Maureen Tucker - Drums & Lead Vocals (1/2/3-10, 4-4, 6-5)
Doug Yule - Bass, Keyboards, Backing Vocals & Lead Vocals (1/2/3-1)

It was only a matter of time before the fourth album would see a deluxe release, and Rhino did the honors with 2015's '
LOADED: Re-Loaded 45th Anniversary Edition' this time a five-disc plus DVD version. Although on another label, the set is packaged similarly to the previous three. Again the remastering is stellar. Disc One contains the original ten-track album in stereo with the full-length versions of "Sweet Jane" and "Rock & Roll"
and four session outtakes first released on 1997's 2CD 'LOADED: Fully Loaded Edition,' while Disc Two
contains the album's "Promotional Mono Version" with the original track lengths and four added mono single mixes. Here
are the track listings:

1-1 Who Loves The Sun
1-2 Sweet Jane (Full-Length Version, 4:06)
1-3 Rock & Roll (Full-Length Version, 4:43)
1-4 Cool It Down
1-5 New Age
1-6 Head Held High
1-7 Lonesome Cowboy Bill
1-8 I Found A Reason
1-9 Train Round The Bend
1-10 Oh! Sweet Nuthin'
SESSION OUTTAKES:
1-11 I'm Sticking With You (Remix)
1-12 Ocean
1-13 I Love You
1-14 Ride Into The Sun

2-1 Who Loves The Sun
2-2 Sweet Jane (3:15)
2-3 Rock & Roll (4:38)
2-4 Cool It Down
2-5 New Age
2-6 Head Held High
2-7 Lonesome Cowboy Bill
2-8 I Found A Reason
2-9 Train Round The Bend
2-10 Oh! Sweet Nuthin'
MONO SINGLE MIXES:
2-11 Who Loves The Sun (Cotillion 45-44107-A)
2-12 Oh! Sweet Nuthin' (Cotillion 45-44107-B)
2-13 Rock & Roll (Cotillion 45-44133-A, unissued)
2-14 Lonesome Cowboy Bill (Cotillion 45-44133-B, unissued)

Disc Three consists of demos, early versions and alternate mixes. All but five were previously released on the
'LOADED: Fully Loaded Edition' (*) although some here are mixed (as noted below). Many of the tracks are somewhat
shorter than when previously released, probably due to improvement in remastering technology regarding the
original tape speeds.

3-1 Rock & Roll (Demo)*
3-2 Sad Song (Demo)*
3-3 Satellite Of Love (Demo)*
3-4 Walk And Talk (Demo) *
3-5 Oh Gin (Demo) *
3-6 Ocean (Demo) *
3-7 I Love You (Outtake)*
3-8 Love Makes You Feel Ten Feet Tall (Demo/Remix)*
3-9 I Found A Reason (Demo)*
3-10 Cool It Down (Early Version/Remix)*
3-11 Sweet Jane (Early Version/Remix)*
3-12 Lonesome Cowboy Bill (Early Version/Remix)*
3-13 Head Held High (Early Version/Remix)*
3-14 Oh! Sweet Nuthin' (Early Version/Remix)*
3-15 Who Loves The Sun (Alternate Mix)
3-16 Sweet Jane (Alternate Mix)
3-17 Cool It Down (Alternate Mix)
3-18 Lonesome Cowboy Bill (Alternate Mix)
3-19 Train Round The Bend (Alternate Mix)*
3-20 Head Held High (Alternate Mix)
3-21 Rock & Roll (Alternate Mix)*

Disc Four contains a remastered selection of live recordings previously issued on the LIVE AT
MAX'S KANSAS CITY
 two-disc set:

4-1 I'm Waiting For The Man
4-2 White Light/White Heat
4-3 I'm Set Free
4-4 Sweet Jane
4-5 Lonesome Cowboy Bill
4-6 New Age
4-7 Beginning To See The Light
4-8 I'll Be Your Mirror
4-9 Pale Blue Eyes
4-10 Candy Says
4-11 Sunday Morning
4-12 After Hours
4-13 Femme Fatale
4-14 Some Kinda Love
4-15 Lonesome Cowboy Bill (Version 2)

Disc Five contains a previously unreleased concert recorded at the Second Fret, Philadelphia, May 9, 1970. Although it's nice to have this for historical purposes, the sound is abysmal. Maureen Tucker was pregnant so the band played as a three-piece with Doug Yule switching between bass and drums.....

5-1 I'm Waiting For The Man
5-2 What Goes On
5-3 Cool It Down
5-4 Sweet Jane
5-5 Rock & Roll
5-6 Some Kinda Love
5-7 New Age
5-8 Candy Says
5-9 Head Held High
5-10 Train Round The Bend
5-11 Oh! Sweet Nuthin'

Disc Six is an audio-only DVD that features three different mixes of LOADED: a 5.1 Surround Sound Remix with a choice between DTS 96/24 and Dolby Digital Surround Sound, a 5.1 Surround Sound to Stereo Down-mixes in 96/24 High Resolution Audio, and a Flat Transfer of the Original Stereo Album in 96/24 High Resolution Audio. For the Surround Sound and Stereo Down-mixes, the original track listing is re-sequenced slightly to include the segue that was originally planned for "I Found A Reason">"Head Held High." The Surround Sound and Stereo Down-mixes also contain the full-length versions of "Sweet Jane," "Rock & Roll" and "New Age." The Flat Transfer Stereo Mix contains the original edited versions. The hardcover book has the same set-up as the other three with the discs in slots in the rear. The 72-page book also contains plenty of photos of the band , memorabilia, posters, ads, etc. and lengthy essay by rock historian and Patti Smith Group member Lenny Kaye of NUGGETS fame......

Although the Super Deluxe Editions of the VELVET UNDERGROUND's essential canon are quite pricey they are also very well-done. As far as value-for-money, not so much, but the fan will have to decide if they need them.....

the band:
Lou Reed - Guitar, Lead Vocals (except where noted below) & Backing Vocals
Sterling Morrison - Guitar & Backing Vocals
Maureen Tucker - Drums (except where noted below), Percussion (3-9) & Lead Vocals (1-11)
Doug Yule - Bass, Keyboards, Guitar, Backing Vocals & Lead Vocals (1-1, 1-5, 1-7, 1-10, 2-1, 2-5, 2-7, 2-10, 2-11, 2-12, 2-14, 5-8, 6-1, 6-5, 6-7, 6-10)
with
John Cale - Organ (3-6)
Bill Yule - Drums (1-7, 1-10, 1-12, 2-7, 2-10, Disc Four, 6-7, 6-10)
Tommy Castanaro - Drums (1-4, 1-6, 2-4, 2-6, 6-4, 6-6)
Adrian Barber - Drums (1-1, 2-1, 6-1)
Adrian Barber and/or Bill Yule - Drums (1-9, 2-9, 6-9)
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 5 April 2016
In 1985 fans of the VELVET UNDERGROUND were treated to their first legitimately released rarities compilation 'V.U.' closely followed by 1986's 'ANOTHER VIEW.' Between both were 19 rarities from both the "Cale era" and "Yule era." in 1995 Polydor Chronicles upped the ante with the 5-disc boxed set 'PEEL SLOWLY AND SEE,' containing 74-tracks of previously released material and more rarities. 2002 Deluxe Edition of the group's first album 'THE VELVET UNDERGROUND & NICO' followed in 2012 by 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe and Deluxe Editions' containing six and two disc respectively. Next up in 2013 were the 2CD Deluxe and 3CD Super Deluxe Editions of their second album WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT. Click on the links for my reviews of those releases. It was only obvious that their next two albums would eventually get the same treatment......

The 6CD 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition of THE VELVET UNDERGROUND is both wonderful AND maddening. The first disc contains the "Val Valentin mix' of the album which is the most familiar to listeners. The second disc contains what is referred to as Lou Reed's "Closet Mix" which features the vocals more prominent in the mix. This version was also included in it's entirety on the 'PEEL SLOWLY AND SEE' set. The third disc contains a "Promotional MONO Mix" of the album, plus the mono single mixes of "What Goes On" and "Jesus." The track list for he first three discs then is as follows:

1/2/3-1 Candy Says
1/2/3-2 What Goes On
1/2/3-3 Some Kinda Love
1/2/3-4 Pale Blue Eyes
1/2/3-5 Jesus
1/2/3-6 Beginning To See The Light
1/2/3-7 I'm Set Free
1/2/3-8 That's The Story Of My Life
1/2/3--9 The Murder Mystery
1/2/3-10 After Hours
0/0.3-11 What Goes On (Mono single, MGM K-10457-A, 4/69)
0/0/3-12 Jesus (Mono single, MGM K-10457-B, 4/69)

The fourth disc is where the real gold lies, with remastered and in some cases re-mixed versions of contemporarily recorded material that was originally released on either 'V.U.'(*) or 'ANOTHER VIEW' (**) . Here's the track listing marked as to which compilation it was originally released on:

4-1 Foggy Notion (Original 1969 Mix)*
4-2 One Of These Days (New 2014 Mix)*
4-3 Lisa Says (New 2014 Mix)*
4-4 I'm Sticking With You (Original 1969 Mix)*
4-5 Andy's Chest (Original 1969 Mix) *
4-6 Coney Island Steeplechase (New 2014 Mix)**
4-7 Ocean (Original 1969 Mix)*
4-8 I Can't Stand It (New 2014 Mix)*
4-9 She's My Best Friend (Original 1969 Mix)*
4-10 We're Gonna Have A Real Good Time Together (New 2014 Mix)**
4-11 I'm Gonna Move Right In (Original 1969 Mix)**
4-12 Ferryboat Bill (Original 1969 Mix) **
4-13 Rock & Roll (Original 1969 Mix)**
4-14 Ride Into The Sun (New 2014 Mix)**

As noted above, this material has either been left as mixed in 1969 or newly remixed in 2014. The wonderful thing about this set up to this point is the remastering, it's absolutely stunning. Now, I buy and listening to oodles and oodles of music and am pretty jaded when I see the word "Remastered" but even an old curmudgeon like me is impressed. The problem with value-for-money arises on the fifth and sixth discs, "Live At The Matrix, November 26 & 27, 1969 (Parts 1 & 2)" First the track list:

5-1 I'm Waiting For The Man***/#
5-2 What Goes On***/#
5-3 Some Kinda Love*/#
5-4 Over You***/#
5-5 We're Gonna Have A Real Good Time Together***
5-6 Beginning To See The Light*/#
5-7 Lisa Says*/#
5-8 Rock & Roll*/#
5-9 Pale Blue Eyes***/#
5-10 I Can't Stand It Anymore***/#
5-11 Venus In Furs***
5-12 There She Goes Again***

6-1 Sister Ray**
6-2 Heroin***/#
6-3 White Light/White Heat*/#
6-4 I'm Set Free***
6-5 After Hours***
6-6 Sweet Jane*/#

As annotated above, those tracks marked (*) were first released on the 'VELVET UNDERGROUND LIVE with Lou Reed 1969 : Volume One' (Tracks 5-6, 5-7, 5-8) and 'Volume Two' (Tracks 5-3, 6-3), and those marked (**) were released on 'THE BOOTLEG SERIES, Volume 1: THE QUINE TAPES' set. Now when this set was released, the eleven tracks marked (***) were previously unreleased, but last year saw the release of THE COMPLETE MATRIX TAPES a 4CD set containing every track recorded on Nov. 26 & 27, 1969, making the ability to obtain the material on the 6CD 'THE VELVET UNDERGROUND Super Deluxe Edition' less essential. Polydor/Universal have also released a 2CD Deluxe Edition' that contains 'The Val Valentin Mix" on Disc One, and twelve live Matrix tracks on Disc Two (see # above). The hardcover book is sturdily made although as with the others in the series the discs fit in slots within the rear cover. There are plenty of photos of the band , memorabilia, posters, ads, etc. and a lengthy essay by David Fricke of Rolling Stone magazine fame in the 72-page book. The live material sounds much better than on the previous releases as well, but fans will definitely want to grab the more complete 'THE MATRIX TAPES.' Unfortunately this doesn't make the 'LIVE 1969' set totally redundant, hit still contains four-tracks recorded at End of Cole Ave, Dallas, TX on October 19, 1969 ("I'm Waiting For The Man," "Femme Fatale," "Ocean" and "Heroin" [CD2 version]). There are a variety of sets out there with the End Of Cole Ave. material of dubious legality, but fans might want to practice restraint in case Polydor/Universal decides on that as it's next trawl through the archives......

the band:
Lou Reed - Guitar & Lead Vocals (except 1/2/3-1)
Sterling Morrison - Guitar & Backing Vocals
Maureen Tucker - Drums & Lead Vocals (1/2/3-10, 4-4, 6-5)
Doug Yule - Bass, Keyboards, Backing Vocals & Lead Vocals (1/2/3-1)

It was only a matter of time before the fourth album would see a deluxe release, and Rhino did the honors with 2015's '
LOADED: Re-Loaded 45th Anniversary Edition' this time a five-disc plus DVD version. Although on another label, the set is packaged similarly to the previous three. Again the remastering is stellar. Disc One contains the original ten-track album in stereo with the full-length versions of "Sweet Jane" and "Rock & Roll"
and four session outtakes first released on 1997's 2CD 'LOADED: Fully Loaded Edition,' while Disc Two
contains the album's "Promotional Mono Version" with the original track lengths and four added mono single mixes. Here
are the track listings:

1-1 Who Loves The Sun
1-2 Sweet Jane (Full-Length Version, 4:06)
1-3 Rock & Roll (Full-Length Version, 4:43)
1-4 Cool It Down
1-5 New Age
1-6 Head Held High
1-7 Lonesome Cowboy Bill
1-8 I Found A Reason
1-9 Train Round The Bend
1-10 Oh! Sweet Nuthin'
SESSION OUTTAKES:
1-11 I'm Sticking With You (Remix)
1-12 Ocean
1-13 I Love You
1-14 Ride Into The Sun

2-1 Who Loves The Sun
2-2 Sweet Jane (3:15)
2-3 Rock & Roll (4:38)
2-4 Cool It Down
2-5 New Age
2-6 Head Held High
2-7 Lonesome Cowboy Bill
2-8 I Found A Reason
2-9 Train Round The Bend
2-10 Oh! Sweet Nuthin'
MONO SINGLE MIXES:
2-11 Who Loves The Sun (Cotillion 45-44107-A)
2-12 Oh! Sweet Nuthin' (Cotillion 45-44107-B)
2-13 Rock & Roll (Cotillion 45-44133-A, unissued)
2-14 Lonesome Cowboy Bill (Cotillion 45-44133-B, unissued)

Disc Three consists of demos, early versions and alternate mixes. All but five were previously released on the
'LOADED: Fully Loaded Edition' (*) although some here are mixed (as noted below). Many of the tracks are somewhat
shorter than when previously released, probably due to improvement in remastering technology regarding the
original tape speeds.

3-1 Rock & Roll (Demo)*
3-2 Sad Song (Demo)*
3-3 Satellite Of Love (Demo)*
3-4 Walk And Talk (Demo) *
3-5 Oh Gin (Demo) *
3-6 Ocean (Demo) *
3-7 I Love You (Outtake)*
3-8 Love Makes You Feel Ten Feet Tall (Demo/Remix)*
3-9 I Found A Reason (Demo)*
3-10 Cool It Down (Early Version/Remix)*
3-11 Sweet Jane (Early Version/Remix)*
3-12 Lonesome Cowboy Bill (Early Version/Remix)*
3-13 Head Held High (Early Version/Remix)*
3-14 Oh! Sweet Nuthin' (Early Version/Remix)*
3-15 Who Loves The Sun (Alternate Mix)
3-16 Sweet Jane (Alternate Mix)
3-17 Cool It Down (Alternate Mix)
3-18 Lonesome Cowboy Bill (Alternate Mix)
3-19 Train Round The Bend (Alternate Mix)*
3-20 Head Held High (Alternate Mix)
3-21 Rock & Roll (Alternate Mix)*

Disc Four contains a remastered selection of live recordings previously issued on the LIVE AT
MAX'S KANSAS CITY
 two-disc set:

4-1 I'm Waiting For The Man
4-2 White Light/White Heat
4-3 I'm Set Free
4-4 Sweet Jane
4-5 Lonesome Cowboy Bill
4-6 New Age
4-7 Beginning To See The Light
4-8 I'll Be Your Mirror
4-9 Pale Blue Eyes
4-10 Candy Says
4-11 Sunday Morning
4-12 After Hours
4-13 Femme Fatale
4-14 Some Kinda Love
4-15 Lonesome Cowboy Bill (Version 2)

Disc Five contains a previously unreleased concert recorded at the Second Fret, Philadelphia, May 9, 1970. Although it's nice to have this for historical purposes, the sound is abysmal. Maureen Tucker was pregnant so the band played as a three-piece with Doug Yule switching between bass and drums.....

5-1 I'm Waiting For The Man
5-2 What Goes On
5-3 Cool It Down
5-4 Sweet Jane
5-5 Rock & Roll
5-6 Some Kinda Love
5-7 New Age
5-8 Candy Says
5-9 Head Held High
5-10 Train Round The Bend
5-11 Oh! Sweet Nuthin'

Disc Six is an audio-only DVD that features three different mixes of LOADED: a 5.1 Surround Sound Remix with a choice between DTS 96/24 and Dolby Digital Surround Sound, a 5.1 Surround Sound to Stereo Down-mixes in 96/24 High Resolution Audio, and a Flat Transfer of the Original Stereo Album in 96/24 High Resolution Audio. For the Surround Sound and Stereo Down-mixes, the original track listing is re-sequenced slightly to include the segue that was originally planned for "I Found A Reason">"Head Held High." The Surround Sound and Stereo Down-mixes also contain the full-length versions of "Sweet Jane," "Rock & Roll" and "New Age." The Flat Transfer Stereo Mix contains the original edited versions. The hardcover book has the same set-up as the other three with the discs in slots in the rear. The 72-page book also contains plenty of photos of the band , memorabilia, posters, ads, etc. and lengthy essay by rock historian and Patti Smith Group member Lenny Kaye of NUGGETS fame......

Although the Super Deluxe Editions of the VELVET UNDERGROUND's essential canon are quite pricey they are also very well-done. As far as value-for-money, not so much, but the fan will have to decide if they need them.....

the band:
Lou Reed - Guitar, Lead Vocals (except where noted below) & Backing Vocals
Sterling Morrison - Guitar & Backing Vocals
Maureen Tucker - Drums (except where noted below), Percussion (3-9) & Lead Vocals (1-11)
Doug Yule - Bass, Keyboards, Guitar, Backing Vocals & Lead Vocals (1-1, 1-5, 1-7, 1-10, 2-1, 2-5, 2-7, 2-10, 2-11, 2-12, 2-14, 5-8, 6-1, 6-5, 6-7, 6-10)
with
John Cale - Organ (3-6)
Bill Yule - Drums (1-7, 1-10, 1-12, 2-7, 2-10, Disc Four, 6-7, 6-10)
Tommy Castanaro - Drums (1-4, 1-6, 2-4, 2-6, 6-4, 6-6)
Adrian Barber - Drums (1-1, 2-1, 6-1)
Adrian Barber and/or Bill Yule - Drums (1-9, 2-9, 6-9)
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on 1 May 2014
I bought this with a view to utilising its reflective properties in an ingenious escape plan, which said it shouldn't have mattered what the musical content was. However, I didn't want to succeed in my bold attempt only to be mocked for poor musical taste thereafter. Imagine had I left behind me in my cell an Oasis or a Keane or Codplay CD. I wouldst ne'er have lived it down. Which said my plot failed and I'm still here anyway, but at least I have a good record to listen to, and only nine years to go! What was it?
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on 20 April 2006
I'll stick my neck out here- the Velvets, for all their reputation as terrifying, noisy avant-garde terrorists, are actually at their best when gentle, warm and melodic (eg Sunday Morning), and this album proves it. Amazingly for a Velvets album, it has (can you believe this?) production values, as well as highlights aplenty- such as Lou Reed's thrilling rhythm guitar solo on What Goes On, and the blissful trio Candy Says, Jesus and Pale Blue Eyes.
The real peak however, comes at the middle of the album- the soaring triumvirate of the Stonesy romp Beginning to see the Light (Lou sound like he's actually enjoying himself here, listen to him whoop at the chorus!), the almost catatonic I'm Set Free, and the jangly That's the Story of My life, which verges on being a throw-away track, but in the best possible way- in the way that only a great songwriter like Lou Reed could get away with.
The old adage about every Velvet's fan forming a band seems borne out by this record too. The blissed-out solo on I'm Set Free could be an offcut from the Pixies' Bossanova, while The Murder Mystery's bass riff must surely have inspired Joy Division (incidentally Ian Curtis named his dog Candy after the opening track!), while even After Hours has something of Oasis' Digsy's Dinner about it. It may not always quite reach the soaring peaks of the first album (like Venus in Furs), but overall its probably a better album, the Velvets having ditched the unlistenable elements without losing their alternative credentials (which would go completely out the window with the next album, Loaded).
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HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon 19 October 2003
After the fierce White Light/White Heat, this third album saw the Velvet Underground in a calmer, more contemplative mood and exploring their softer side which first surfaced on songs like Sunday Morning and I’ll Be Your Mirror on the first album.
The exceptions are What Goes On with its shimmering guitars and Beginning To See The Light with its urgent rock riff and almost Stones-like flavour. Some Kinda Love is softer although there is still that unique driving sense of nervouness in the rhythm.
The gem of the album is Pale Blue Eyes, where Reed surpasses himself as a poet in the intimate, evocative images. This song also has one of the Velvets’ most gripping melodies and the delivery is perfect. A gentle ballad with a wistful feel, Pale Blue Eyes must be one of the most beautiful songs of all time.
There are plenty of beautiful ballads like Jesus, I’m Set Free and That’s The Story Of My Life. The Murder Mystery consists of spoken and sung parts over a brooding backing that becomes dissonant toward the end. This classic album concludes with the playful acoustic number Afterhours.
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on 5 October 2014
I had this album in a different sleeve after being inspired to buy it
when listening to Lou Reed and David Bowie in the early seventies
this was a startling revelation to a young glam rock fan
which led me to seek out other treasures by The VU, The Stooges and The MC5
among others and things have never been the same since then
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