The Velvet Underground: Scepter Studio Sessions

velvetThe Velvet Underground
Scepter Studio Sessions

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Flangy, guitar pop provides background to Lou Reed’s talking vocals on “European Son,” the opener on The Velvet Underground’s Scepter Studio Sessions. It’s certainly not much of a tune, what with a plinky, fast lead and just basically rangy noise making up most of it. But then again, these nine tunes are the acetate cut of the first Velvet Underground recordings, all alternative mixes featuring different solos and rhythms, than what surfaced as their infamous first album with that banana cover.


A John Cale electric viola swirls under a Reed vocal on the infamous “Black Angel Death Song” that is so squeaky here, it is truly impossible to get through. A rather jaunty “All Tomorrow’s Parties” follows (one of my personal favorites in the entire V.U. cannon even with Nico’s dead vocals). Nico’s voice serves better on “Femme Fetale,” the first real 4×4 straight drumming of  Maureen “Mo” Tucker and weird backing vocals from Sterling Morrison and Cale.

Lou Reed’s most famous early tunes are here, including the spinning top of “Heroin,” chunky “Waiting For The Man” (basically tunes about the same subject) and the scary S&M tribute, “Venus In Furs.” Ol’ Lou certainly didn’t shirk from atypical lyrics! Even though this 1966 recording has had an interesting history, being bought by a collector at a New York City flea market and then put up for sale, I’m not sure if Scepter Studio Sessions is for anybody but music historians.

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