Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Velvet Underground-IN 1966 THERE WAS... 2-LP set (Velvet Records, Italia)

Was this a wise purchase or was I suckered in (again) by my perhaps infantile rockism-influenced emotions? After all, there's no new material here...most all of it is taken from the Andy Warhol Museum tapes with a few even longer-circulating items appearing on side four padding the thing out to a somewhat decent length so whether or not this is worth the import prices is certainly up to you. The orange-colored vinyl's a nice surprise as is the professionally-printed glossy cover, all of which reminds me of the late-seventies explosion in quality bootlegs conceived to fool the feds, and the everyday record buyer as well. The labels even use a pic from that photo sesh where Nico dressed up like Batman and Andy as Robin! Along with the general care that only a bootlegger can put into these thing I believe I made a smart enough choice, but as usual you're going to be the judge/jury/executioner! Fun, huh?

Like I said there's nothing extraordinary about this set, though the vinyl pressing brings out sound nuances that you just can't hear on disque. At times you think you're listening to an entirely different mix, or perhaps there were some general studio enhancements craftily slipped in (though I doubt it). The mutterings between the band members do sound clearer even if I can't make out exactly what is being said, and although the vocals may remain buried under the heavy thud of John Cale's bass guitar you can actually make out what Reed is singing, or better yet what he's trying to teach Nico to sing. It now sounds so personal you feel like a soup can on the wall taking it all in first hand.

But man it's sure beautiful listening to these early rehearsals and live performances no matter how often you spin 'em, and hearing the alternative versions of such old standbys as "Sheltered Life" and "Here She Comes Now" (which I have the tendency to believe have not been widely circulating as they sound different from previous bootleg and legit takes) sure dredge up those toasty old memories of finding about the Velvets and their unique approach to music in the pages of whatever Lester Bangs-helmed CREEM you first got hold of, usually back during those impressionable early/mid-teenage years. This music always induced me to throes of unbridled ubermensch ecstasy and really, I'm not ashamed to tell you these things now am I?

For an addled treat in general celebration of the Velvets I decided to slip the below video into today's mix-'em-up. 'tis the once-rare Warhol classic A SYMPHONY OF SOUND which I remember wanting to experience so badly whilst first discovering its existence via a filmography I chanced upon in a book some time circa. '79. At the time I thought it would make such a wonderful bootleg to the point where I was actually pondering (and out loud at that!) just why someone didn't rent the dad-blamed thing along with some other VU-backed Warhol cinema and put out a multi-album set tbat we ALL could use! Of course a good twenty years later my dreams were eventually fulfilled at least as far as this material being made relatively available, better late'n never though I would have preferred some vinyl product in the then and there when I really would have been influenced by it mush-brained fan awash in New York Rock that I was (and remain, to an extent!). Oh well, I still can recall 1981 clearly, especially that October night when I first spun the now-legendary 1966 bootleg thinking that the $12 or so I spent on it (then an exceedingly high price to pay for a single album of a legit or even bootleg variety) was not in vain. Break out the popcorn and enjoy this slice of early-Velvets that I must say I appreciate a load more that Richie Unterberger did!

8 comments:

The Hound said...

It's interesting that they cover Bo Diddley's Crackin' Up in rehearsal. Hasn't anyone else noticed that the music to The Gift is Bo's Diddling? Now, there's two Bo tunes called Diddling, the one the Velvets lifted is not the one on Bo's A Gunslinger, but the one on the Bo Diddley album with the pink and blue lettering (Checker 2984), the album is simply called Bo Diddley, Diddling is the third song on side one. Take a listen and see.....

thedaydreamnation said...

Where did you get that video? Anyplace where the rest of us unwashed masses can get it and download it?

Christopher said...

Y'know, I forgot exactly where I found this. You can get it piecemeal via Youtube. Anyway, maybe this URL can help:

Christopher said...

I guess you can't print URL's on comment boxes...hadda learn the hard way!embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="640" height="504" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" src="http://www.archive.org/flow/flowplayer.commercial-3.0.5.swf" w3c="true" flashvars='config={"key":"#$b6eb72a0f2f1e29f3d4","playlist":[{"url":"http://www.archive.org/download/TheVelvetUndergroundandNico1966/format=Thumbnail?.jpg","autoPlay":true,"scaling":"fit"},{"url":"http://www.archive.org/download/TheVelvetUndergroundandNico1966/The.Velvet.Underground.and.Nico1966TVrip_512kb.mp4","autoPlay":false,"accelerated":true,"scaling":"fit","provider":"h264streaming"}],"clip":{"autoPlay":false,"accelerated":true,"scaling":"fit","provider":"h264streaming"},"canvas":{"backgroundColor":"0x000000","backgroundGradient":"none"},"plugins":{"audio":{"url":"http://www.archive.org/flow/flowplayer.audio-3.0.3-dev.swf"},"controls":{"playlist":false,"fullscreen":true,"gloss":"high","backgroundColor":"0x000000","backgroundGradient":"medium","sliderColor":"0x777777","progressColor":"0x777777","timeColor":"0xeeeeee","durationColor":"0x01DAFF","buttonColor":"0x333333","buttonOverColor":"0x505050"},"h264streaming":{"url":"http://www.archive.org/flow/flowplayer.h264streaming-3.0.5.swf"}},"contextMenu":[{"View+TheVelvetUndergroundandNico1966+at+archive.org":"function()"},"-","Flowplayer 3.0.5"]}'>

Christopher said...

Well, there it is!

diskojoe said...

I was noticing that the front cover of that VU boot was used for the insert of 1969 Live, although the Mercury Records "Art" Dept. mucked it up a bit. 1969 Live should be reissued as a 2-CD set w/a better cover than the current fugly one.

Anonymous said...

http://www.archive.org/details/TheVelvetUndergroundandNico1966

or

go to www.archive.org
and in the search box enter:
thevelvetundergroundandnico1966

Christopher said...

Thanks...hope that will get you all downloading!