Thursday, 19 July 2018


Today on my walk into work I decided to listen to the demos for the first Velvet Underground album from their "Peel Slowly And See" box set. I was surprised to see there are only six songs which I thought would be a waste of a CD , but the opener "Venus In Furs" last fifteen minutes with four takes. on acoustic guitar possibly sung by John Cale.

"Prominent Men" is almost Woody Guthrie-esque and "Heroin" is another acoustic demo reminded me how I'd introduce my new songs to bands I was playing with.

The problem with The Velvet Underground is that often some of their finshed product sounds like demo quality, but they are so vibrant that they are essential listening ranging from noise terrorism to gentle love songs to gothic menace. I still find the bass drum sound on "All Tomorrow's Parties" awesome and the menacing violin / cello backing Lou Reed's living dead vocals on "Venus in Furs" nerve tingling.

It's almost strage that the demos seem to be an almost country and western group, but they are completely transformed for the debut album release. I never saw "Waiting For The Man" as a country song.

While initially the album did not sell, it showed bands what could be done without going high tech. I've always gone for originality over technical ability and the ideal is both, but technical ability without originalty leaves me cold, Toto were prime examples of that scenario, which I think Boston and Rush were two examples of technique and originality.

The thing is the Velvet Underground showed YOU could do it. "Waiting For The Man" was one of the staples of The Bok's live set and we possibly sounded less together than the Velvet Underground but I love the main riff which was also appropriated for The Jam's "In The City" and The Sex Pistols' "Holidays In The Sun".

So that's what I've been listening to this morning and maybe will spin th evinyl tonight.

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