“Lou Reed” by Lou Reed - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1972Album Chart of the Decade: 1970s

TJR says

After quitting the Velvet Underground in August 1970, Reed took a job at his father's tax accounting firm as a typist, by his own account earning $40 a week, proclaiming that he’d never play rock n roll again. Clearly, that sorry state of affairs couldn’t continue for long. The retirement lasted about a year, by which time the Velvet Underground’s “Loaded” had made an impression on many, including David Bowie. It seems Lou was enticed out of his short-lived dalliance with domesticity, crossing the Atlantic to London where he signed a deal with Bowie’s RCA label. In his back-pocket, he had several unreleased songs from the Velvet Underground days, together with a couple which were brand new, namely “Going Down” and “Berlin”.

The big problem for Lou is that his mighty reputation had been forged with the Reed-Morrison-Cale-Tucker quartet; that sort of chemistry simply cannot be manufactured on demand. Instead, what we have here is a much paler imitation of past glories. The album screams SESSION MUSICIANS as conventional pop-rock beats and pub-rock guitars strum along agreeably with Lou’s vocals. Rick Wakeman and Steve Howe, from prog rockers Yes, were two of the men who had been drafted in to play. How did we get from “Sister Ray” to this point I can’t help but wonder? Recording sessions took place over several weeks between December 1971 and January 1972, with the LP being issued in April 1972. Again, the album was overlooked by many critics and did not sell well.

As for my thoughts on the actual content, well, actually, the album is a good one, despite the relative disappointment that would surely be shared by any committed Velvet Underground fan. Side 1 is incredibly low-key and borders on the bland – these songs deserve better treatment. The potential drama lurking within “Lisa Says” has had the life sucked out of it, albeit without being completely ruined. Things take a turn for the better on side 2 with the fantastic “Wild Child” and the excellent “Love Makes You Feel” as the band FINALLY seem to wake up and get with some sort of creative programme. “Ride Into The Sun” and “Ocean” see the album out in fine fashion – but, again, I get the feeling these songs have so much more potential.

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [02:37] 5.7.png Lou Reed - I Can’t Stand It (Lou Reed) Rock
A2 [02:57] 6.0.png Lou Reed - Going Down (Lou Reed) Rock
A3 [03:40] 6.0.png Lou Reed - Walk And Talk It (Lou Reed) Rock
A4 [05:34] 6.4.png Lou Reed - Lisa Says (Lou Reed) Rock
A5 [05:16] 5.6.png Lou Reed - Berlin [1972 album version] (Lou Reed) Rock
B1 [02:21] 6.5.png Lou Reed - I Love You (Lou Reed) Songwriter
B2 [04:41] 8.0.png Lou Reed - Wild Child (Lou Reed) Rock
B3 [03:13] 8.5.png Lou Reed - Love Makes You Feel (Lou Reed) Folk Rock / Americana
B4 [03:16] 6.7.png Lou Reed - Ride Into The Sun (Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison, Maureen Tucker) New Wave
B5 [05:07] 6.7.png Lou Reed - Ocean (Lou Reed) Songwriter

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