Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Velvet Underground - Live at Max's Kansas City

According to Wikipedia, this is a document of the last night that Lou played with the Velvets, although Doug Yule continued on with the name for a short while afterwards. These two sets were done without Mo Tucker (who was pregnant at the time) and with Doug's brother, Billy, on drums, along with the terrific Sterling Morrison on guitar. Billy is much more of a straight-ahead r'n'r drummer, which gives the tunes a very different feel, not unlike some of Lou's later live efforts, such as the Live in Hamstead or even his Rock'n'Roll Animal.

This has now been released as 2-CD's with both complete sets, although I just have the vinyl version, which is a compilation of the night. The LP includes "Waiting for the Man", "Sweet Jane", "Lonesome Cowboy Bill", "Beginning to See the Light", "I'll Be Your Mirror", "Pale Blue Eyes", "Sunday Morning", "New Age", "Femme Fatale" and "After Hours". Always interesting to note the tunes that Lou continued to play throughout his career - not just the "hits" like "Sweet Jane" and "Rock'n'Roll" but quieter numbers like "Pale Blue Eyes".

As I said, having Billy on the drum throne makes a world of difference in these versions - not necessarily good or bad, just quite divergent - and, again, Doug sings a couple of numbers. The sound is pretty good, considering that this was done on a 1970's cassette recorder, although there is a lot of audience noise, including Jim Carroll (who was holding the mic) ordering drinks and inquiring about drugs.

Live 1969 is certainly the essential live recording, but this is another very cool document of this particular period in the Velvets' (and Lou's) careers.