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 worry to death over numerous takes — than for the interactions captured along the way.

Right at the beginning, as John begins tapping out the song’s water-torture rhythm, Lou stops him. “Wait… introduction,” he admonishes.

The song is duly introduced and the guitars come in. (I assume that’s Lou playing chords and Sterling picking out the bassline.) But they make it only 50 seconds on the first try.

Sounding very Welsh, John introduces take 2, which appears to be complete but must have been deemed unsatisfactory. The next one (starting at 7:28) is again labeled take 2, this time by Lou, who quickly decides Cale’s tempo is “too fast.” John defends himself — his response is a bit garbled — and Lou snaps, “Well that doesn’t prove it’s right. What the fuck’s wrong with you?”, then giggles passive-aggressively.

I imagine that this happened fairly often in their partnership. Lou was a perfectionist, and also a little insecure about John’s more advanced musical training, so took any opportunity to find fault. Cale mostly seems to have gritted his teeth and put up with it.

Take 5 is quickly abandoned with an “Oh, fuck” and take 6 goes no better (“Oh, come on, man!”). Take 7 lasts a little longer; take 8 is missing; 9 and 10 dissolve in laughter. Take 11 makes it to the beginning of the first verse and stops abruptly.

Take 12 makes it almost to the end and just kind of drifts away. They may have given up at this point. And to be honest, part of the reason they couldn’t get a satisfactory take may be that “Wrap Your Troubles” just isn’t that good a song. It mines similar territory to “The Black Angel’s Death Song,” but much less successfully, wallowing in its misery to the point of self-parody.

If you make it through the full 15-plus minutes of the recording, as I have just done, there’s a decent chance you will never want to hear “Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams” again. And indeed, we will not have occasion to speak of it further. It would soon be dropped from the band’s repertoire and would only be resurrected for Nico’s solo album, where it proved an apt vehicle for the chanteuse’s dolorous warbling. You can go check that out if you want; but I’ve done my job here and I’m out.