Friday, December 13, 2013

The Velvet Underground - White Light/White Heat (3CD - 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition) (Polydor, 2013)

Coming on the heels of last years 45th anniversary epic six disc extravaganza for the classic Velvet Underground and Nico LP, comes the deluxe edition of their second album, White Light/White Heat. This album is expanded to three CD’s containing the stereo and mono versions of the LP along with bonus tracks and a disc of them performing live in 1967. The group lineup is Lou Reed on guitar and vocals, John Cale on bass, viola, vocals and organ, Sterling Morrison on guitar and Maureen Tucker on drums. The sound of the group is even more chaotic than on the first album, moving through themes of rampant drug use on the title track to violence and sheer madness on the album ending epic “Sister Ray.” For longtime fans, the extra material will fascinate-: early versions of “Stephenie Says” and “I’m Beginning to See the Light” which would appear on their third eponymously titled LP along with some early mixes and alternate takes. The mono disc keeps the original album intact, leading up to the epochal “Sister Ray” which would seem outrageous even in today's jaded climate. They add a couple of mono singles mixes along with vocal and instrumental mixes of “The Gift” which is the only Velvet Underground I routinely skip. Once you’ve heard this short story set to music it starts to drag. The liver performances from New York in 1967 are thrilling. Reed adds alternate lyrics to “Run Run Run” that make the song even more fascinating, while liver versions of “I’m Not A Young Man Any More” and a startling version of “Sister Ray” seals the deal. This isn’t the place for dabblers to begin in exploring the Velvet Underground, but longtime fans will consider money well spent for the curios that lay within.White Light/White Heat (3CD - 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition)

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