Graham Reid | | 1 min read
Because Lou Reed's solo career after the Velvet Underground was so erratic, this Bargain Buy series (five albums for $20) really is the way to go: at worst you'll get a classic album, something pretty interesting and maybe a few albums with gems scattered about among the dirt.
But this one in hand -- which takes him through to the Eighties -- is highly recommended.
It collects the live Rock'n'Roll Animal, Rock'n'Roll Heart, the briefly conceptual Street Hassle, the much ignored but sometimes exceptional The Bells and the edgy but flawed Growing Up in Public.
It's the set which fits between those previously mentioned ones and kicks off in fine style with Steve Hunter's memorable guitar intro before Reed comes on stage for Sweet Jane. After that it is mostly greatest hits (Heroin, White Light White Heat) live.
Rock'N'Roll Heart is the weakest album here but with Street Hassle you can hear Reed getting back on target and also reconnecting with his street poetics in the three-part title track (which includes a section by the uncredited Springsteen).
The Bells will be a stretch for some -- it is atonal in places, mutant disco in others -- and Don Cherry's trumpet does sound unsettling in this context. Deliberately so on the bleak title track. It also contains Reed's nakedly autobiographical Families.
Then there is the patchy Growing Up in Public.
But over these five albums you get the picture of an artist really finding his feet and, despite the odd misstep, gearing up for something even better to come.
Unfortunately it didn't in quite the way we might have expected at the time. His Eighties were interesting but very patchy and that story is told on that subsequent set in this series.
But for now this, the best of the three packages, is our Bargain Buy and just $20 at JB Hi-Fi stores here.