There Is No Reason

After the Ludlow Street demos recorded in July 1965 by the band that was not yet calling itself the Velvet Underground, the next extant recordings appear to be another batch of demos featuring five songs that would never be formally recorded, as well as a nascent...

All Tomorrow’s Parties (1)

The music matched the words. If the words were scary, the music would get scary. If the words were sad, the music would get very sad. You think, yeah, why would anyone want to buy despondency? But in those days, I thought there was a certain kind of aloneness going on...

Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams (2)

The version of “Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams” from Ludlow Street is not very different from the Words & Music version, and I was going to skip it for that reason. But the actual recording is fascinating, less for the song itself — which Reed, Cale, and Morrison...

I’m Waiting for the Man (1)

Written at about the same time and on the same subject, “Heroin” and “I’m Waiting for the Man” naturally go together. But whereas the former was about the psychological/spiritual/philosophical aspects of the junkie life, the latter is about the logistics: The places...

Heroin (1)

Over the last few weeks I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time trying to decide when, exactly, the Velvet Underground started. There are numerous ways of looking at it, but I keep coming back to the moment Lou Reed and John Cale ran into Sterling Morrison on the...

Prominent Men

(Happy Birthday to John Cale, and to any other March 9 babies out there.) As the years and decades have passed, and I’ve listened more and more to the grand geniuses of classic rock — your Velvets and Beatles, your Bowies and Hendrixes, your one and only Bob Dylan —...

Venus in Furs (1)

(Happy Birthday to Lou, and to others born on this auspicious day!) I had a charming guest.Opposite me, by the massive Renaissance fireplace, sat Venus: not, mind you, some demimondaine who, like Mademoiselle Cleopatra, had taken the pseudonym of Venus in her war...

(Interlude: I’ve Had It)

This week I finally cracked open Will Hermes’ Lou Reed: King of New York and was encouraged to find that, though it is a weighty tome, more than 75 of its pages are occupied by notes and index. Thus inspired, I plunged in and have been making decent progress. The...

(Interlude: Enter the Velvet Underground)

This blog’s been going for a little over a year and a half now and after 48 posts, we have finally arrived at the advent of the Velvet Underground. That moves us into a new phase and there will be a bit of a hiatus while I do some research. Recently I walked into...

Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams

It was quite jarring to first hear “Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams.” Cale takes over on vocals for this one and provides the percussive tapping while Reed plays acoustic guitar. After hearing the preceding folk and blues-styled performances, suddenly it doesn’t sound...