Sunday, March 07, 2004

#51) The Velvet Underground - 1969 Live With Lou Reed (released in 1974, I bought it on tape - which means I've never heard "Sweet Bonnie Brown" - near the end of middle school)

It's pleasures are arguably the mundane found on any classic Velvets album, but as far as bar bands go, the Velvets easily rank among the most beautiful. Nothing gets too violent on this album (not even "Heroin"), but the frenzied careening is replaced by a groove that's confident despite having no oppressive tendencies whatsoever. The psychotic sadists of the Cale Years have become amiable folks, and since The Velvet Underground is too mellow and Loaded is too radio-primed, 1969 Live is the most well-rounded and arguably best document of the second half of their career. "What Goes On" is transformed into an endless ecstatic shimmy, "Sweet Jane" and "New Age" are classic ballads so durable that these gestative versions are nearly as transfixing as the ones found on Loaded, "Ocean" displays a natural dreaminess lacking on any studio take I've heard and this is the only place you can find the sweetly droopy "Over You" and its less endless rainbows. Anybody who still thinks Doug Yule is worthless after hearing "We're Gonna Have A Real Good Time Together" must hate fun. Some people might bitch about the normalcy of all this, but there are enough hours in a day, days in a week, weeks in a year, that I can enjoy the sick feedback fucks of '67 AND the best grad-school party band ever.

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