Top 10 Of The Velvet Underground

K-UTE Radio

Yes, as Omar says to Brother Mouzone in ‘The Wire’, “….even if I miss, I can’t miss.”. Any ten of Velvet Underground is a top 10. My favourites:

1. ‘Guess I’m Falling In Love‘ (Instrumental Version). I think that John Cale was still on this: presaging The Stooges, whose first album he’d later produce.
2. ‘Guess I’m Falling In Love‘ (Live with lyrics and different speed). More grind-rock than the flat-out, knock-your-block-off, power. Sexiest guitar solo ever by Sterling Morrison.
3. Ocean (Outtake). Beautifully sung by Lou Reed. “Like the wiiiiiiiind”. It was supposed to have been recorded with John Cale again, after he’d already been kicked out.
There’s a bio-pic just begging to be made about Reed and Cale. Reed pushed Cale out of the band in 1968 after the second album was put down on tape but then there was a live album, with Nico, in 1972; then Christmas Day 1977 together; then their excellent ‘Songs For ‘Drella’ album; then Cale leaving The Velvet Underground again, in 1993, taking exception to Reed’s harangues towards Moe Tucker.
4. ‘What’s Goes On’ (Live 1969). Goes on for nine minutes or so but it’s about half an hour too short.
5. ‘Head Held High‘ (Alternate Mix). Sounding ecstatic as opposed to grim.
6. ‘Sister Ray’
7.’White Light/White Heat’
8. ‘Who Loves The Sun’. For the ‘ba-ba-ba-ba’ backing vocals and the sense of joy from sadness.
9. ‘All Tomorrow’s Parties’
10. ‘I’m Not‘ (solo tune by Moe Tucker that features Lou Reed, John Cale and Stirling Morrison.) Connoisseurs will also like her tune ‘Fired Up‘ that features Lou Reed on guitar:

“Homeless family
In the street
Go and help them on their feet!”

Went the lyrics and it mentioned the value of welfare too. Yet, 18 years later, the same Maureen Tucker turned up as a concerned member of the public on TV, at one of those ‘Tea Party’ nonsense gatherings, only a couple of months after Obama came to office, whining about ‘socialism’. Very disheartening. There was a million things for which to attack Obama but ‘socialism’ most definitely wasn’t one of them (unless you’re a Wall Street banker who got a bail out).

Why was she there? Most of those scoundrels were racists. Do you remember those signs that some of them held? Fox “News” tried to say that a few signs shouldn’t be taken to speak for everyone but, as Janeane Garofalo pointed out, racists rarely voice their racism as they know that it’s socially unacceptable. That those people felt comfortable holding up those racist pictures and cartoons showed that they knew that they were with people of like mind. Yet it’s ostensibly difficult to apply that metric to Tucker herself since her musical heroes are Bo Diddley and Babatunde Olatunji . Some defenders on the internet said that they knew her personally and that she’s a hardcore contrarian by nature, who will go from one thing to the opposite before you know it, just for kicks.

That Tea Party garbage was all a bit of a shame and a manipulation of people in the wrong direction. It was original to Ron Paul or the Ron Paul movement but then got hijacked. One billboard had a picture of Hitler and the words ‘National Socialism’; a picture of Lenin and the words ‘Communist Socialism’ and a picture of Obama and ‘Democratic Socialism’. Such an egregious disdain for language. Ronald “Mad Dog” (McDonald) “Ray-Gun” Reagan made ‘liberal’ a dirty word in the U.S. but he would give speeches to the Eastern Bloc, urging them to become ‘Liberal Democracies’.


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