Thursday, August 25, 2011

Mo' VU

Scouring Olivier Landemaine's estimable Velvet Underground Web Page, I believe I've stumbled upon the god-king of Velvet Underground bootlegs. The Wild Side of the Street includes the complete Velvet set from the Hilltop Pop Festival in Rindge, New Hampshire, 8.2.1969, along with the version of "Sister Ray" from the infamous "guitar amp tape," recorded in proximity to Lou's amp onstage at the Boston Tea Party, 3.15.1969, that I've been listening to all week (see video in earlier post).

While I haven't been able to get a sniff of thatun, I did manage to download a copy of the almost-as-cosmic Ostrich/Hilltop, which has the Hilltop set and a different "Sister Ray" -- the one from La Cave in Cleveland, 1.29.1969, that includes some of the lyrics that wound up in "The Murder Mystery" on the third album and was on the Sweet Sister Ray's Murder Mystery CD I had that rotted from the inside out. I also see the "Sister Ray"-less Hilltop set has been reissued on bootleg vinyl, which makes my heart glad.

Frank Cervantez requested a mix of my fave Velvets stuff, so today I burned him a disc including the following:

All Tomorrow's Parties: The intro, St. Lester wrote, "is like watching dawn break over a bank of buildings through the windows of these elegantly hermetic cages," and I'm certainly not gonna argue with him.

Run Run Run: From the aforementioned Hilltop Pop Festival, an even better guitar workout than the Boston Tea Party version on Praise Ye the Lord.

I'll Be Your Mirror: I used to sing this to my kids when they were little, but more like Lou (flat croak, Noo Yawk accent) than Nico.

Sister Ray: The version from the "guitar amp tape." The feedback meltdown on this is, as Frank points out, sick. I think this is the tone I want from a fuzzbox.

Candy Says: Another one I used to sing to my kids. First song on the self-titled third album. I believe this is about Candy Darling, of "...came from out on the Island" fame. That's right, I used to sing my kids a song about a transvestite.

What Goes On: Another from the Hilltop Pop Festival. Sure, by '69 they weren't as innovative as they started out, but Jayzus, what a live band they were.

I'm Set Free: Underrated song from the third album. "I'm set free to find another illusion." Nice.

Head Held High: A rocker from Loaded, with teenage Lawn Guylander Billy Yule subbing for Mo on drums. I actually used to sing this in a band with Nicholas Girgenti that (thankfully) never got out of my living room.

I Found A Reason: Lou shows his doowop roots. In 10th grade, I used to recite these lyrics to Donald Harrison to try and prove to him that Lou was a better songwriter than, uh, John Denver.

Train Round the Bend: Lou takes the piss out of the "gettin' it together out in the country" fad that was in vogue in 1970. His most hi-larious vocal evah.

I'm Sticking With You: Late in the day, Lou wrote a couple of songs for Mo Tucker to sing. This is one.

After Hours: And this is another.

ADDENDUM: Wouldn't ya know, Sweet Sister Ray on vinyl now sells for hundreds of dollars, but I just found a sweet, sweet download, so my life's good.


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