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Bootleg Series, Vol. 1: The Quine Tapes [3 Cd Box Set] Box set, Best of, Original recording remastered

36 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 17 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Box set, Original recording remastered, Best of
  • Label: Polydor - Universal Special Imports
  • ASIN: B00005Q567
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #121,193 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Disc: 1
1. I'm Waiting For The Man
2. It's Just Too Much
3. What Goes On
4. I Can't Stand It
5. Some Kinda Love
6. Foggy Notion
See all 11 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Follow The Leader
2. White Light/White Heat
3. Venus In Furs
4. Heroin
5. Sister Ray
Disc: 3
1. Rock And Roll
2. New Age
3. Over You
4. Black Angel's Death Song
5. I'm Waiting For The Man
6. Ride Into The Sun
See all 7 tracks on this disc

Product Description

Product Description

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

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Format: Audio CD
And that reason is that the recording quality usually stinks atrociously-the Quine Tapes of the Velvet Underground concerts just before the release of Loaded are no exception. The technology is out there to clean messes like this up (listen to King Crimson's Epitaph box set and prepare for an epiphany in digital transfer and cleanup), so the real tragedy is the missed opportunity to get the message out that the Velvet Underground was, bar none, the most original American band of their time. Still, for the fan, this 3 disc set will be a sweet deal. Included are not one, not two, but THREE savage versions of Sister Ray-or Sister Rave-up . . . you'll get the drift once you listen. You will also be treated to a pre-Loaded version of Rock and Roll, sans killer guitar solo; the same can be said of What Goes On, longer but inferior to the studio version and the live version on the five disc boxed-set. Other stand-outs, however are Foggy Notion, which just sizzles on disc one, and the one-two attack of Follow the Leader and White Light White Heat on disc two-these two songs together run over 27 minutes, still not as long as the Sister Ray version that closes the disc!
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Format: Audio CD
I don't think it's a stretch to say that with better sound we would be talking about one of the great live albums ever, if not the greatest. The Quine Tapes captures an awesome band at their peak (notwithstanding the absence of John Cale) on three discs worth of classic material, recorded by an avid fan (Quine) on a hand-held cassette recorder!!
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.
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Format: Audio CD
If only the sound quality -- and the crowd -- were better, this would be the greatest live rock'n'roll album ever. Yeah, you heard right, it's that good.
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.
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Format: Audio CD
Okay, okay. So it sounds like it was recorded with a mono cassette recorder in the bathroom of a nightclub. It's still the Velvets, and it still outdoes the legions of goateed, tattoed, emaciated anti-fops who moan and groan about their MDMA addictions, the feeble-minded brats.
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.
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Format: Audio CD
Like Mr. Quine, I am also an obsessive fan of the VU. There is almost nothing recorded by them that I do not love (except stuff from the Doug Yule-lead version of the band that existed following the years after Lou's departure, and the problematic 1993 "reunion" album). Though I have always been enamored with the groundbreaking material from the "Cale Period", I often find myself gravitating towards the later stuff. If I had to choose my "desert island" VU disc, it would definitely be "1969: Live with Lou Reed" (an inappropriate and unfortunate marketing title, just as ridiculous now as it was when it was released in the mid-70s). Quite simply, this captures the band at their improvisational best. For years, I have sought out VU bootlegs. Almost all of them date from this same era (late '69), and almost all of them have wretched sound quality.
The good news is that "The Quine Tapes" sound a little better than these, though sometimes not by much . Most of the tracks were recorded at either the Family Dog or the Matrix in SF. The tracks from the latter seem to fare the best sound-wise, though there are definitely exceptions. A note to those with cheap speakers: turn your bass down before starting Disc 1! There are two songs, "Waiting for the Man" and "Sister Ray" (one of three epic-length versions included) that were recorded in a gymnasium at Washington U., where Quine was enrolled as a student at the time. I'm sad to say that these tracks sound as if they were recorded in, well, a gymnasium. At first it's hard to listen to some of these tracks; you really have to train your ears to listen through all the muck for the subtle nuances of Reed's vocals (if only he still SANG like that!
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