Sunday, October 27, 2013

Lou Reed American Poet - Live in Hamstead NY, Dec 26, 1972

This CD is from a show promoting Lou's Transformer LP, where the band performed live on the radio, with songs from that album, his solo debut (Lou Reed) as well as a variety of Velvet material. Here he is backed by the Tots, a band he picked up along the way, who I do not believe recorded with him, along maybe part of the group might have appeared on Transformer - I'm not finding much info on them right now and I don't remember what I have read in the past.

The combo rocks up the tunes, kinda giving a preview to what Lou did on Rock'n'Roll Animal, imbuing them with a fun energy that the enthusiastic crowd really appreciated. He bounces back and forth from older to newer songs, opening with "White Light/White Heat", moving into "Vicious" (with the guitarist doing his best to imitate Mick Ronson's lines), "I'm Waiting For My Man", "Walk It, Talk It" and "Sweet Jame", complete with harmonies and even the middle break from the Loaded version. The interview is sometimes a bit vicious, such as when Lou wishes Doug Yule's death and when he denies that he would ever revisit the Velvet Underground, but is informative of his state of mind at the time and talks about "Heroin" being banned but now being able to play it live on the radio.

He does comment that this is the "rock" version of "Heroin" and is similar is style to what later live takes. Still mighty "harrowing" and the lead guitarist does an occasional nice emulation of Cale's viola. "Satellite of Love", "about someone watching TV - a nice thing to write a song about", kinda misses the female backup vocals, but is solid, though the hit, "Walk on the Wild Side" works surprisingly well, despite only having one of the bass lines, naturally. Their take on "I'm So Free" is a bit shambolically rockin' but "Berlin" (from his first solo LP) really works, with some lovely, melodic twin guitar work.  They close, appropriately enough, with "Rock'n'Roll", with more dual guitar leads and a great rave up ending!

No, this isn't as insanely antagonistic as the Velvets, but this is a terrific r'n'r album! Well worth searching out!