Lou Reed - "Walk on the Wild Side" CD Review (XXL Media) ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Lou Reed - "Walk on the Wild Side" CD Review (XXL Media)

Lou Reed’s Walk on the Wild Side CD (XXL Media) is a re-release of Lou’s live-in-the-studio performance from Ultrasonic Studios which was recorded on Dec. 26, 1972 in Hempstead, NY. At the time this show was recorded, Lou’s second solo disc, Transformer, had come out the month prior and the songs on this ten track disc are predominately drawn from Transformer and the Velvet Underground’s back catalogue (Lou amusingly refers to one of the Velvet’s tracks as a ‘blast from the past’).

This disc is an important addition to Lou Reed’s catalog as his performance and the sound of his backing band, The Tots, sound like a logic extension of the Velvet Underground’s Loaded. In addition to the accessibility and spontaneous urgency of the performance, Lou seems (surprisingly) cheerful and upbeat, both of which stand in sharp contrast to some of his later live discs, specifically the heavy metal bombast of Rock & Roll Animal, which was recorded a year later, or Reed’s venom spitting performance on 1978’s Live: Take No Prisoners. Lou re-interprets most of the Velvet Underground tracks – playing a languid “I’m Waiting for My Man” and he adds back the verse that was dropped from the Velvet’s version of “Sweet Jane” during Loaded’s final mixing – and he gives a “punch” to the Transformer songs that David Bowie wasn’t able to capture in the studio. Lastly, this is the only legit live recording of “Walk It Talk It” and “I’m so Free” and the early version of “Berlin” (from Reed’s self-titled debut) only appeared elsewhere on the now hard-to-find live disc Le Bataclan ‘72.

For completists, there is one minor downside…this disc is missing two tracks that were part of the original radio broadcast. The first track is a brief interview that took place midway through the set where the interviewer asks Lou where Doug Yule is. The second missing track is “Rock n’ Roll”, which Reed closed the set with.

Lou Reed