I note that the release date of Light in the Attic Records’ not-entirely-accurately-titled Lou Reed: Words and Music 1965, originally given as August 23, came and went this week. The website now says September 16, though no physical versions are available to ship until October.
But three of the songs are already available for your listening pleasure: “I’m Waiting for the Man,” “Heroin,” and “Men of Good Fortune.” Since the timeframe in which they were recorded is still a little ahead of where we are in this blog, I’m not going to get into them right now. They are quite different from the songs we know — very raw, sometimes painfully so, but of course interesting. More about that at the right time.
In the meantime, there are more songs from the Pickwick catalog to cover. Four of them are on a compilation featuring three female vocalists: New Orleans legend Irma Thomas, journeywoman soul singer Maxine Brown, and Ronnie Dickerson, a mysterious figure who is possibly the same person as the aforementioned Robertha Williams. It is the latter who concerns us here — all the “Dickerson” songs were written by the Reed/Philips/Vance/Sims team.
The first of these is called “What About Me,” and in contrast to the relatively slick Robertha Williams sides, it sounds very much like it was tossed together over an afternoon. The rhythm plods, the harmonies don’t quite jibe, and the bass player is clearly phoning it in.
Having said that, “What About Me” is not entirely charmless. I like the way the male background singer — who sounds like he had a few martinis over lunch, and is shouting from across the studio — keeps trying to take over. “What about me?” he seems to be asking.
And is that snaky little guitar part a Lou Reed special? Could be. Let’s just say that it is, and call that a wrap for today.