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Bootleg Series, Vol. 1: The Quine Tapes [3 Cd Box Set] Box set, Best of, Original recording remastered
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Close to four hours of vintage Velvets taped in 1969 by future Void-oid (and Lou Reed) guitarist Robert Quine! Quine used to follow the band around and tape their shows for them on cassette; he then transferred the best of their performances to reel-to-reel tape, and it is those performances-all but one unreleased-that comprise this bargain-priced 3-CD set. Some intriguing titles here, including a 17-minute tune called Follow the Leader , an 11-minute Ride into the Sun and 38- and 24-minute versions of Sister Ray . Quite a find!
Despite the black market vibe of the title (Bootleg Series Volume 1: The Quine Tapes), these grainy but historically significant live Velvet Underground recordings--taken from poorly attended shows in San Francisco during November 1969 (the post-John Cale and pre-Loaded era)--have never been made available before, illegally or otherwise. Furthermore--and unlike most other bootleggers--avid young fan and tape recorder operative Robert Quine (an apprentice disciple of Lou Reed's savage guitar style and a future founding member of punk combo Richard Hell and the Voidoids) didn't have to suffer the personal indignity of standing furtively at the back of the hall with a microphone stuffed down his trousers. Quine's recordings--initially made on cassette tape but later (and rather fortuitously) transferred to the more durable reel-to-reel format--were made with the band's blessing and enthusiasm but have remained hidden away ever since. Consisting of three CDs, the Bootleg Series Volume 1 set is further forensic proof, if needed, that the Velvet's seedy, dissonant, lurid, violent, anarchic pop was well out-of-step with the times but has remained decidedly in-step ever since. Specifically, these shows capture (courtesy of the mute audience philistinism) some kind of culture-clash between the West Coast's "flower in your hair" optimism and the Velvets' "spike into my vein" subterranean nihilism. With sheer bloody-mindedness, the Velvets' treat their audience to 38 soundboard-splintering, pornographic minutes of "Sister Ray", as well as kooky School Concert takes on "After Hours" and "I'm Sticking with You" and a "Venus in Furs" which--in the absence of John Cale's whiplash viola glissandos--creeps and crawls with Doug Yule's spooked Doors' organ. As Jonathan Richman once enquired, "How did they make that sound, Velvet Underground?". Dunno. But they did. And things have never been the same since. --Kevin Maidment
Top Customer Reviews
The more you listen, the less the sound seems to matter. Several tunes are given definitive performances here, including a raucous 10-minute "White Light/White Heat", versions of "New Age", and "Ride Into the Sun" that conclude with long, intense solos, and a 38-minute(!) reading of "Sister Ray".
I resent some of the comments I've read here comparing this set to bands like the Dead or the Allmans. THAT is endless, boring noodling. THIS is the purest essence of what rock'n'roll is supposed to be!
If you're new to the band, it's still a good idea to start with the four studio albums. But if you're a fan, this is an absolute must-own. While it would be wonderful to have these recordings with perfect sound, we should consider ourselves fortunate that Robert Quine had the foresight to preserve these tapes, and thankful to him for sharing them with us.
Excuse for the poor sound: Robert Quine recorded the damn thing with an off-the-rack tape machine and a hand-held microphone. Fine for recording the minutes of a re-zoning hearing, say, but not the sonic density of the live Velvets. What can I say -- the longer you listen, the less this seems to matter.
Excuse for limp audience: The VU was not exactly burning up the record charts in those days. Quine was probably the only guy in the audience who even knew who the band was. I can just see some poor sap dropping into the Family Dog after work one night to try the new Schlitz on tap and being subjected to a bunch of crazy New Yorkers playing a 38-minute version of "Sister Ray." How was he supposed to realize (in 1969) how lucky he was?
Lou Reed lays down some ferocious rhythm guitar throughout, and his deadpan patter cracks me up (love his introduction to "New Age": "This is a very interesting song"); but in the end, this nifty 3-CD set may be Sterling Morrison's triumph more than anyone else's. This is, at long last, the album where he stretches.
But it also reveals that even the VU was not immune to the same kind of 60s excess that drove hideous mutants like Rick Wakeman to put out four, six, eight record sets of endless noodling. To wit, the three extended versions of Sister Ray.
Sorry -- it's just not that interesting a song. A superior "Inna-Gadda-Da-Vida," maybe, but after you get through the narrative, such as it is, where are you?
Bored, that's where.
In "Uptight," Victor Bockris' Velvets bio, Reed complains that Doug Yule and Steve Selznick butchered "Sweet Jane" and "New Age" (from the "Loaded" LP), but a listen to the restored versions reveals that the edits made the finished songs considerably stronger and more concise. "The Quine Tapes" capture a band desperately in need of the self-consciously arty discipline of the Warhol days and the sinister genius of John Cale.
And it doesn't even have some drunk demanding another Pernod in the background.
Most recent customer reviews
These are three live concerts recorded by uber fan Robert Quine at a few of the Velvet's concerts. The fact that these still exist despite the sound quality ( which isn't that bad... Read morePublished on June 19 2004 by filterite
Given that these tapes are still here is something of a miracle - the sound is reasonable. I wasn't expecting perfect quality but it's close enough ( and given these are 30 years... Read morePublished on June 17 2004 by filterite
These recordings are simply incredible and I would say essential for anyone who considers themselves rabid VU fans. Read morePublished on May 11 2004 by Colin Jones
I've not had the chance to listen to this yet, so pay no attention to my rating (it had to be done to get this out on the site) but to give you guys some context about the other... Read morePublished on March 27 2004 by Paul W. Cockerham
This is as raw and real as it can get. Quite possibly the most versatile band of all time. This is absolutely wonderful and only someone like Lou Reed would have the balls to... Read morePublished on Oct. 30 2003 by Michael K Bassett
I was pretty hesitant about grabbing this: Doug Yule all the way through (ick! Mark me as a Cale-ist please) and 1969 mostly... but PHEW! Read morePublished on Sept. 16 2003 by Ontor Pertawst
but for everyone who loves the Velvet Underground, this is an absolute revelation. We hear classic V.U. songs performed in ways never heard before. Read morePublished on Nov. 12 2002
The Quine tapes are not very listenable....there more of an artifact. Doug Quine was lucky enough to capture some of the Velvets' shows at very small clubs in San Fransisco, and... Read morePublished on Nov. 5 2002 by Jeff Beal
It's a little known fact that the VU and the Grateful Dead both started out calling themselves "The Warlocks," and it's fascinating to those of us (the few, the... Read morePublished on Oct. 5 2002
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