Ain’t It Peculiar

A couple of years ago I got into the habit of posting songs by The Velvet Underground on a Sunday and having put last year’s ‘lost’ but recreated 1969 album on the turntable yesterday morning it seems like a wise thing to reprise. Also this picture of Sterling Morrison has been sitting on my hard drive waiting for an opportunity to be used. I can’t think of anything that would make this picture any better.

One Of These Days sounds like Buddy Holly after a night on amphetamines and booze, frazzled and fragile but still sharp enough to play. It first saw the light of day in 1985 on the VU compilation, a record that probably influenced most indie guitar bands in the subsequent few years more than any other. This 2014 mix tweaked the twangy guitars a little and added the extra 20 seconds at the end, a freakadelic collision of guitars.

One Of These Days (2014 Mix)

I’ve realised in the past decade that despite my love for John Cale during the early years of the Velvets, my favourite Velvets songs and period are the Doug Yule years. The much maligned Doug Yule who in 1972 Lou Reed wished dead. His contributions to the songs they recorded between 1968 and 1970, on guitar, bass, keyboards and vocals, are as much part of the sound of the group as anybody else- and Lou Reed never sounded as good again.

Certainly Not Your Average Girl

I’ve had this song going round and round in my head recently- I think it’s Pete Astor’s fault. She’s My Best Friend was recorded by The Velvet Underground in May 1969 and wasn’t good enough (!!!) to make any of their proper albums. Eventually it came out on VU in the 1980s as you surely know but it’s pretty much as good as anything else the post-Cale group recorded. It demonstrates the brilliant simplicity of Lou Reed’s song writing perfectly- and what’s more it was sung by Doug Yule.

She’s My Best Friend

It’s Hard Being A Man

I was in the record shop in town on Saturday looking at the 45th anniversary boxed set of the third velvet Underground album (my favourite of theirs, a record I can come back to umpteen times). I didn’t buy it. I haven’t bought it. Yet. But I came home and played VU while cooking tea, the 1985 album that rounded up some unreleased songs (some found in a bin at the record company). The opening song is I Can’t Stand It, which is unsurpassed, an absolute template, a song beyond compare. The rhythm guitars are tinny and choppy, Sterling Morrison’s guitar solo is unhinged and Lou’s drawled delivery is superb- as are the nonsense of the lyrics with those thirteen dead cats, a purple dog wearing spats, the mop assault and Shirley (who won’t come back).

I Can’t Stand It

The boxed set has cleaned up the songs. The 80s version of I Can’t Stand It is the one we’re all familiar with but the 2014 mix might just be even better.

Meanwhile I am still reeling from reading in a review that it was Doug Yule who sang Candy says, not Lou Reed. Should I have known this?