Tuesday, November 08, 2005

THE VELVET UNDERGROUND AT THE FACTORY: WARHOL TAPES CD (Nothing Sounds Limited, bootleg)

With all of the classic proto-punky upheavals and reissues going on this year, wouldn't you just know it that this wonder hadda've been unleashed in order to make my choice for "Best Classic Dig of 2005" an even HARDER one than it had been with all those Chinaboise, Magic Tramps and George Brigmans to choose from! Yes, some schmuck out there had the brains to somehow get hold of the ORIGINAL real-life Velvet Underground CD that was playing at the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh and press up a whole slew of 'em which is a whole lot better'n listening to those tapes somebody made by holding up a cheap-o portable cassette recorder near the speakers (something Brad Kohler tried doing, though he quit after awhile because some Japanese tourists actually thought he was part of the exhibit!). And whoever that schmuck may be let me be the first to congratulate you, because with the current legal holdup on all legit Velvet Underground unreleased material its you illegal bootleggers that we must rely on in order to satiate our lifelong Velvets cravings! And as I always said, rather some shifty bootlegger than some bigtime exec get the moolah, that's for sure (y'see, there's this question of quality one must keep in mind).

Not only is the sound on this new silver-disque much better'n that standing waved-out CD-R of yore, but the missing material pops up making for even more thrill-chills for all you longtime Velvets obsessives. "Walk Alone" (so far the only Pickwick-period track to have made it into the Velvets rep) is a good enough mid-sixties folk rocker perhaps a bit more "folk" 'n "rock" but considering the '64 origins I gotta commend Reed/Cale/Vance/Phillips even more, while the take of "Venus In Furs" is more or less a classic fifties "Crackin' Up"/"Love is Strange" riff with Lou speaking a few lyrics which doesn't quite qualify it as the actual song but adds up to good mythmaking. And if you think it ain't grand hearing "Miss Joanie Lee" a whole lot more, er, tuned in than before then you'd be wrong as usual (although the natural distortion of the original made for a more exhilarating experience especially if you were under the influence of Ny Quil!). And I for one am glad to finally hear a clear version of the early-'66 take of "Heroin" with that interesting (and soon deleted) guitar line that reminds me of an old out-of-tune upright piano!

From the instrumentals (which show the group laying back and kicking up their footsies while working out their inspirations) to Nico trying to sing "There She Goes Again" not forgetting the manic live tracks (including "European Son" and Dylan's "gift" to Nico "I'll Keep It With Mine") it's sure great hearing a high quality Velvets recording (bootleg or not) that doesn't rehash the old product for rock generation after generation ad infinitum.

Not that this one won't be rehashed as time goes by...y'see, I have the sneaking suspicion that these WARHOL TAPES will be amongst the hard-to-get disques for all good hipsters to have within a few months or so, but given the quality and urgency of the thing there's no doubt someone will be re-booting and re-re-booting it as time goes on. And while the cult of the Velvets has grown from the enclaves of the avant-gardest of the avant-garde to the dweebest of the dweebs within the span of a good four decades it's always great to come back to the source if only to resensify yourself after way too much damning with faint riffage that has gone on due to all of those nth-generation bores of the past few decades who "claim" to have an undying allegiance to the Velvets and their drone but still come off like they worship at the altar of Hootie and the Blowfish for all I know.

5 comments:

hipster said...

chris-any leads to where someone might find the vu boot? thanks

Christopher said...

Hip-I got mine on ebay (a "Buy It Now" bargain at that!). Maybe you'll have the same luck. Unfortunately all of the good bootleg dealers seem to be outta biz...

hipster said...

thanks-i'll keep looking

Anonymous said...

Try connecing up with some traders on db.etree.org -- I'm gonna see what I can do to get a copy.

Anonymous said...

You can find it on www.velvetunderground.be in a few hours :-)