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Bob Elliott
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Bob Elliott

3/9/2008 4:16:22 PM

It's Mind Boggling to Me That "The Velvet Underground Album"is a 1969 Release
It's their third album, and it has these songs:

Side one

Candy Says" – 4:04
"What Goes On" – 4:55
"Some Kinda Love" – 4:03
"Pale Blue Eyes" – 5:41
"Jesus" – 3:24

Side two

"Beginning to See the Light" – 4:41
"I'm Set Free" – 4:08
"That's the Story of My Life" – 1:59
"The Murder Mystery" – 8:55
"After Hours" – 2:07

I'm just now getting ahold of these albums, and this one here is so enjoyable. The writing is very cool. The drumming is funny because she plays with the kick drum sideways just as another drum, and it really helps make the beats slightly (or radically) different. Feels fresh and musical. The electric guitars feel real good on the ears. Nice tone very casually but intimately recorded. Could say that about the whole album. Often the vocal mic seems as though it's just kind of a room mic, and yet when they do that, it just sounds right.

The songs are somehow just traditional folk almost yet with this little hard to define twist that makes it all so compelling to me. Reed's lyrics seem off the cuff simple and yet compelling in the way Dylan often achieves, and his delivery pulls me in. The other vocalist has a beautiful tone that blends great with Reed.
It's like a masterpiece that sounds like an almost bedroom made album, but all the tones worked out, though not like normal pro tones, still very nice on the ears.

Yet the most puzzling thing is this is 1969. I mean how far are we from Pet Sounds and Sgt. Pepper in '69? Yet right here is an album that would fit right in today in most of the indie world, would have fit very well in the 90's or 80's, too. I mean if you didn't know what it is and where it came from, I don't think a person would even blink when told it was made yesterday.

And that is not because of some tech mastery. It sounds pretty low budget, really. it's something in the way it all is approached that makes it easily step right out of its time.

And I love the self assured journeys into whatever caught their interest. I mean we have a Jesus song here that really is delivered with no tongue in cheek, could be performed in most churches today really, yet retains a certain coolness that would cause it to be accepted by most any atheistic indie pixies lover.

Reed cracks me up when he laughs during delivery of a lot of the lines, like happens on "Beginning to See the Light."

I can easily see how these guys were largely dismissed and still are, really.

I can even more clearly see why they are obsessively loved. And the idea that fewer people listened to them, but all those that did formed their own band rings very true because this music seems so much a thing that would make you believe you could participate if you just get yourself into the real and join with some others and trip your own selves out.

That could be an illusion, but it sure is there.

1969....seems out of place.


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Bob Elliott

3/9/2008 8:04:29 PM


Guess I'll just talk to myself about the Velvet Underground.

I'm thinkin' "Beginning to See the Light" is one of the best rock songs I ever heard.

And the part where the guitars mostly drop out for the solo in "I'm Set Free," and Maureen starts to pound on the toms while the guitar trips out into space. Wow. Too cool.

I really like the drumming being done totally different than how traps are usually played. I really feel like drumming needs to constantly be rethought because it becomes too second nature.


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Hop On Pop

3/10/2008 4:46:10 AM


You know that The Velvet Underground is their THIRD album, right?

VU's first album (Velvet Underground & Nico) and White Light/White Heat both came out in 1967; therin lie the seeds for bands like Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine, and other bands that use noise as another instrument.

How out of place is that?


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Steve Ison

3/10/2008 5:30:54 AM


Todd..Bob does mention he knows its the THIRD album at the beginning of his blog..

Bob..Lou Reed hated all the studio artifice,airy whimsy and unreality of things like Pet Sounds n Sgt Pepper..Its weird for me as i love those albums AND i love VU..
Lou prefered stuff like the old doo-wop-and his songwriting a bit like that put thru a freer post-rock'n'roll sensibility to me..
Its annoying me at the moment as my old CD copy isn't playing on my computer for some reason..
The sound is wonderfully understated and the songs are just Soooo good..
What Goes On might just be the coolest,most effortless rock'n'roll song ever written..
Candy Says and Jesus are narcotic,woozy bliss and 'Beginning To See The Light' is like you say a fantastic song..

His best songwriting is a lesson in simplicity,magic and intuitiveness that never stops giving to me(and prob never will)
Lou really just totally had it in the 60s..

If you havn't got their first album (with Nico) yet,you're in for a real treat i think!

Have you heard Nico's first album 'Chelsea Girl'?
I think you'd love that too..


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Hop On Pop

3/10/2008 5:43:03 AM


I read the whole post, and that first line just got lost at the top there.
I'm kinda dumb, I guess.

And yeah, that's a good point... Lou did love all that old doo-wop stuff. It was really Cale that pushed the band into more avant territory. The fact that the third record (did I mention that it's their third?) is the first one without John, and is their first really straightforward offering is no accident.

I think that I remember reading somewhere that Lou really wanted to be Dion. Idolized the guy.


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Bob Elliott

3/10/2008 9:46:49 AM


Some people work very hard
but still they never get it right
yeah Baby, I'm beginning to see the light...


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