Early Lou: Pre-Velvet Underground Recordings 1958-1965 LP
OK, so this LP actually came out several years ago, not long after Lou caught his last train uptown. As the title implies, it collects Reed’s earliest work, and does a pretty comprehensive job at that—the two doo wop-tinged tracks by the JADES date all the way back to the late 1950s. It’s not entirely clear how much (if any) the teenaged Reed is on that recording, but he did at least write one song and co-write the other. Most of the rest of the material is culled from early-to-mid-’60s releases, during which time Lou earned a living writing and performing knock-offs of popular music trends such as rock’n’roll and surf. My favorite here is the PRIMITIVES, an ensemble also featuring John Cale, Tony Conrad, and Walter de Maria. Don’t get too excited, though—their track “The Ostrich” is a nice palate-cleanser on other VELVETS boots, but as the standout here, it’s not quite enough to recommend this LP to anyone outside VU completists. Also featured is a rare Reed solo demo of “Heroin” from 1965.