Friday, August 26, 2011

Flag Day Countdown #2

It has been said that hardly anyone was into the Velvet Underground, but everyone who was started a band. From a historical standpoint, that's a good place to be, but as a working band, that's a miserable place to be. I think this is part of the reason for the band's last release, Loaded. John Cale, the violist, bassist and classical/art influence of the band had gone, and drummer Maureen Tucker, whose standing drum style was unique, replaced by Doug Yule. Style experiments like "Black Angel's Death Song", "Sister Ray" and "The Gift", are gone, as are the drug and sex references of "Waiting For My Man", "Heroin" and "Venus In Furs". The things that make the Velvets distinct were largely missing. And it's one of their better albums. If there's one Velvet song that most everyone knows, it's "Sweet Jane", thanks to the Cowboy Junkies and their cover from the Trinity Sessions. The thing about it is that the "Heavenly Wine and Roses" part was originally edited out of the release. The Cowboy Junkies knew it from bootlegs. I originally had the one-disc CD release of this, and bought the newer Rhino release with two discs. I sold the first copy, and the clerk said, "Tell me you're not selling this!" "Rock and Roll" is another favorite, dedicated to the transforming power of music. "In spite of the amputation, she could dance to a rock and roll station", Lou sings. "It was alright." The biggest difference between takes that I can think of is "I've Found A Reason", which went from country to a mostly voice-and-bass interpretation before release. The "Fully Loaded" Rhino release contains both the edited and original mixes of the album, in addition to bonus tracks such as "Ocean" and "Satellite of Love". Yes, the satellite from MST3K is named after a Lou Reed song.

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