The Velvet Underground – 1969: The Velvet Underground Live With Lou Reed, Vol. 1

What I Think of When I Think of This Artist (part 6)

I am reconsidering my decision to review live albums, though I suppose it’s too late to change direction now. I have several VU live albums. I don’t think any other band in my collection even comes close on this count. I don’t know why. Something about the Velvets live seems mythical.

What I Think of This Album

The unwieldy title aside, this is a strong album for the hardcore fan. The sound is decent (though The Complete Matrix Tapes now offers a better version of the same San Francisco performances), and the musicianship is excellent. You get to hear Lou Reed sing songs that Nico and Doug Yule sing on the albums, and there are early versions of “Sweet Jane,” “New Age,” and “Rock & Roll.” Plus, the versions of “What Goes On” and bonus track “Heroin” are outstanding.

The Best Thing About This Album

The rhythm guitar in “What Goes On” is glorious.

Release Date

September, 1974

The Cover Art

Cheeky. A bit regressive and pandering. Seems very 1974, actually.

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