New shit has come to light, man.
Up to this point everything this blog has covered has been in chronological order, or some close approximation thereof. But the recent release of Light in the Attic Records’ Lou Reed: Words & Music, May 1965 has thrown a kink into the timeline. In addition to the ’65 demo tapes — which Lou mailed to himself to establish copyright, then left sitting around unopened for the rest of his life — it includes a few earlier recordings also found among his effects.
The earliest of these is a 1958 rehearsal tape of Lou’s teenage band the Jades. In it they do a cover of a tune called “Gee Whiz,” released by Bob & Earl (Bobby Byrd and Earl Nelson, best known for the original “Harlem Shuffle”) that same year:
The Jades’ go at the song is preceded by a back-and-forth between Lou and singer Phil Harris, helpfully transcribed in the liner notes:
Harris: I bet we can modify the song.
Reed: No doubt, I think another key might be better.
Harris: No, no that is a good…
Reed: No, please, please just try. What do ya have to lose?
Lou’s voice is pretty prominent in the recording, where he and Harris seem to be attempting some Everly Brothers–style harmonies:
It’s not bad. Nor is it a major revelation. There may be some in the Words & Music CD, which I shelled out for just to get said liner notes; I’m still in the process of absorbing it. But I wanted to get something posted this weekend, just to keep that all-important momentum going. More to follow.