Some of the songs on Words & Music, May 1965 display a whimsy that we don’t associate much with the Reed/Cale Velvet Underground. I guess there had to be a sense of humor underlying something like “Sister Ray” or “The Gift,” but it is a stone-faced, sadistic sort of humor. “Walk Alone,” in contrast, has a playful feel from the beginning — Lou even dug his harmonica out of the closet for the occasion — and about a minute in, there’s a moment where he makes kissing noises and growls the word “coitus,” sounding very much like The Dude. (There’s also some meowing in there — I think that’s Cale?)
Though Lou claims sole credit at the beginning of the recording, several online sources indicate that “Walk Alone” was written in collaboration with the Pickwick team. I can’t find any evidence that it was ever recorded by a Pickwick artist, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it wasn’t; record-keeping was not the label’s strong suit. It was, somewhat incongruously, at least rehearsed by the Velvets:
It’s not impossible that the VU played it live in the early days, but if they did I bet it sounded out of place and was soon dropped from the repertoire.
In an alphabetical list of Lou Reed compositions, “Walk Alone” would be next to “Walk It and Talk It” (demoed by the VU during the Loaded era, later recorded — not especially well — for Lou’s first solo album) and “Walk on the Wild Side.” Which we’ll get to on the blog, at this rate, sometime in the 2030s. I trust, faithful readers, that all of you are eating right and exercising — or at least walking, whether alone or with others.