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5.0 out of 5 stars Does rock'n'roll get any purer than this?
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,...
Published on Nov. 13 2002 by mjkvol

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars These are called bootlegs for a reason.
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...
Published on June 8 2003 by Robert Cossaboon


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3.0 out of 5 stars These are called bootlegs for a reason., June 8 2003
By 
Robert Cossaboon "devil doll" (The happy land of Walworth, NY) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bootleg Series, Vol. 1: The Quine Tapes [3 Cd Box Set] (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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5.0 out of 5 stars Does rock'n'roll get any purer than this?, Nov. 13 2002
By 
mjkvol "mjkvol" (Lanoka Harbor, NJ United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Bootleg Series, Vol. 1: The Quine Tapes [3 Cd Box Set] (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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5.0 out of 5 stars The Band That Ate San Francisco, Aug. 19 2002
By 
jgc (Charlottesville, VA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Bootleg Series, Vol. 1: The Quine Tapes [3 Cd Box Set] (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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4.0 out of 5 stars Sister Ray, Marked for Death (redux), Dec 9 2001
By 
Patrick Sullivan (Canaan, CT United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Bootleg Series, Vol. 1: The Quine Tapes [3 Cd Box Set] (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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4.0 out of 5 stars We're the Velvet Underground. Glad you could all make it., Nov. 6 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Bootleg Series, Vol. 1: The Quine Tapes [3 Cd Box Set] (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!) and telepathic instrumental interplay that made the band so great. But once you do this... oh boy! Fasten your seat belts!
After listening to this set I revisited the "Peel Slowly and See" boxed set, which surprisingly, I hadn't heard in a long time. In glancing through the liner notes I noticed a quip that Sterling Morrison had about the "1969" LP. Though he liked the set, he didn't feel that it captured the pure ferocity and intensity of their live sound. He insisted that the band was at its best and "most insane" in the big rooms, and lamented the fact that there was no documentation to prove this. Well, if only the late, great Mr. Morrison was still around today. If there is an afterlife, wherever ol' Sterl is, he probably has a big smile on his face right about now!
This release would get a five star review be it not for the inconsistent and spotty sound quality. Also, I truly believe, despite Sterling Morrison's statement, that some of the tracks on "1969" are of better overall artistic quality; they seem more focused and compressed than some of the meandering and overlong tracks included here. As far as the packaging goes, I'm divided. On the one hand, it's nice to have packaging that appears to be completely made out of recycled paper. On the other hand, it seems cheaply made, and the little "envelopes" don't hold the CD's well at all. Worst of all, the liner notes are skimpy and reveal very little. But these are minor quibbles in the grand scheme of things.
So, should this be in every VU fan's collection? Absolutely. However, neophytes should proceed with caution. You'd do best to start with any of the original studio albums, and the "1969" (both volumes) live album of which I speak; the latter is still the best legally available document of the live VU. If you're not immediately drawn in to any of these, then this band probably ain't for you.
I agree with some of the other reviewers out there. There's too much stuff from the Reed-Yule period and not enough from the Reed-Cale period. Until more stuff is unearthed, we'll have to be content with this set, "1969", the bonus stuff included on "Peel Slowly...", and the sketchy bootlegs out there. But here's hoping there's more on the way (it IS called "Volume 1", after all) and lets hope it gets released VERY, VERY SOON!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simply amazing!, Oct. 26 2001
By 
D. J Schaaf "schaafie" (new jersey) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bootleg Series, Vol. 1: The Quine Tapes [3 Cd Box Set] (Audio CD)
The real tragedy of this set is the lack of modern recording technology and the sound of only a few hands clapping. But this set, compiled by VU junkie Robert Quine, who later helped Lou Reed re-coupe some much needed passion in the early 80's (check out his and Reed's guitar playing on The Blue Mask), is a remarkable testament to the power of the Velvet Underground. Aside from the bootleg quality of the sound at times, my only complaint is the lack of John Cale - these recordings are from '69, after his departure - but this set should be mandatory listening for anyone doubting the influence of the VU on subsequent "alt" artists from the 70's, 80's and 90's. No less than 3 versions of "Sister Ray" are presented here, each unique enough to warrant release. Quiet renditions of "Waiting for the Man" somehow seem more haunting than the more revved up versions we're all used to. Gems like "What Goes On", "Rock and Roll" and "Foggy Notion" are all the more astounding when one realizes that this grossly underrated band in their time is playing their hearts out for a handful of people. Truly, the VU must have realized their own power, and must have simply loved to play, to muster the passion to play to such indifferent crowds. A wonderful historical document and fine tribute to (my own opinion) the greatest rock band ever.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Look beyond the lo-fi sound, it's HISTORICAL, Oct. 25 2001
This review is from: Bootleg Series, Vol. 1: The Quine Tapes [3 Cd Box Set] (Audio CD)
Velvet Underground fans will be in hog heaven with this 3 disc set. Each disc is over 70 minutes long, each concludes with a marathon version of "Sister Ray."
If you've heard the long available "Live 1969" Vols 1 and 2, you have an idea what kind of audio quality to expect. These are not soundboard recordings. The Velvets were an obscure band and we're lucky there were fans like Robert Quine with the presence of mind to record them at clubs.
This is certainly NOT the way to become acquainted with the band if you are new to them. Get all their studio albums (they only released four) first. But if you're already a fan and are contemplating whether to spring for this set, fear not.
Highlights for me: Maureen doing back-to-back renditions of her showcase songs, "Afterhours" and "I'm sticking with You"... A previously unheard song, "Follow the Leader"... A terrific 11 minute rendition of "Ride into the Sun" that may be the definitive version... A smoking take on "White Light"... Of course, the aforementioned marathon takes of "Sister Ray" (one lasts 38 minutes!)...
But I'll stop rambling... Suffice it to say, this is great music from a band that sounded like no other. This is the first in a proposed 3 volume set, so BUY IT-- I would hate to see the rest of the series cancelled due to poor sales!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Valuable historical document, Oct. 24 2001
This review is from: Bootleg Series, Vol. 1: The Quine Tapes [3 Cd Box Set] (Audio CD)
These newly released recordings -- made in 1969 by fan and future guitar virtuoso Robert Quine -- expand on the terrain mapped out on the awesome 1974 release "1969 Live." The sound quality on these recordings are not as good, but, as with "1969 Live," "The Bootleg Series Vol. 1" shows some interesting rearrangements of songs that were originally recorded featuring either Nico on vocals ("Femme Fatale") or John Cale on viola ("Venus in Furs," "Heroin" and "Black Angel's Death Song"). The obvious highlights are the three extended (if a 17 minute song can be extended!) versions of "Sister Ray." My favorite is the version on disc one, while the medley of "Sister Ray" with "Foggy Notion" on the third disc somehow seems very faithful to the studio version on "White Light/White Heat." The versions on disc one and two sound like two completely different songs. The previously unreleased cut "Follow the Leader" is also a very good addition to the officially released VU song catalog. Also, some of the performances sound very similar in arrangement to those on "1969 Live," so fans of that record might find some of these cuts redundant (particularly "I Can't Stand It," -- from the CD version of "1969 Live"-- "Rock and Roll," -- which is recorded from the same performance as the one on "1969 Live" -- "White Light/White Heat," "Heroin," "New Age" and "Over You"). But overall, I think these discs are great for all VU fans, but might not be as compelling as an introduction to first-time listeners of the Velvet Underground. For an adequate introduction, try any of their four official studio albums, and work your way from there.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Who knew the Velvets could jam?, Oct. 24 2001
This review is from: Bootleg Series, Vol. 1: The Quine Tapes [3 Cd Box Set] (Audio CD)
Interesting. The Velvet Underground helped inspire all the great punk bands who wanted to get back to basics and eschew solos. Except, as evidenced on this great new live set, the Velvets were a live act akin to the Dead and Jefferson Airplane. Which is a good thing. Creepy songs are even more sinister with the intense guitar interplay between Lou Reed and the late, underrated Sterling Morrison. Reed plays in the vein of Neil Young, just this screaming attack of cacaphony, whereas Morrison is from the Steve Cropper school of soulful fingerpicking. There's 3 versions of "Sister Ray", the longest stretching to 40 minutes. Don't worry, it's not pointless noodling. In fact, for a band that focused more on lyrics and ambience, most of these songs really rock. The only flaw is that since this is a bootleg, the quality isn't so great. However, the flawed sound only adds to that unique Velvet atmosphere. In particular, "Venus In Furs." So if you enjoy rocking out, good poetry, and phantasmagoric songs that can border on beautiful, pick this up. It's the perfect recording for this time of year. Although from the sound and look of them, every day was Halloween. And thanks to Robert Quine for sharing this with everyone. Can't wait for the other voulmes.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The wait is over., Oct. 21 2001
By 
Matthew T (Lutherville, MD United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Bootleg Series, Vol. 1: The Quine Tapes [3 Cd Box Set] (Audio CD)
The Quine Tapes showcases the Velvet Underground's beautiful noise and improvisatory music in a way that that the previous best official live record, "1969 Live," only hints at.
Here we have three versions of Sister Ray of varying lengths and styles, as the VU improvises upon the central riff of the "White Light/White Heat" recording. Only one version, recorded in early 1969 in St. Louis, resembles the studio version in a significant way.
Here we have a wicked version of "White Light/White Heat" with guitar work by Reed to rival the explosive chaos of "I Heard Her Call My Name." This version is infinitely better than the recording on "1969 Live." Here we have oustanding versions of songs from "The Velvet Underground & Nico," including "Black Angel's Death Song," "Heroin," and "Venus in Furs."
Having said all of this, the recordings made at The Matrix (CDs 2 and 3) are better than those made at The Family Dog (CD 1). The latter suffer from too much bass and from tepid songs sung by Mo Tucker. The magesterial 1969 Live version of "What Goes On" is superior to the Family Dog version as well.
Finally, there are many quotidian moments that bring pleasure. Lou and Sterling discussing who should play solo on "White Light/White Heat." Lou reciting the opening lyrics for "Black Angel's Death Song." A female voice asking "What time is it?" during the opening bars of one of the best, if not the best, live version of Heroin ever recorded.
Play CDs 2 and 3 LOUD. You will experience the same blissful combination of joy, headache, and stupor that results from listening to "I Heard Her Call My Name." The unbelievable guitar work by Lou and Sterling will make you forget that Cale's Viola parts are absent, substituted by Yule's hammond organ.
This is a must own.
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Bootleg Series, Vol. 1: The Quine Tapes   [3 Cd Box Set]
Bootleg Series, Vol. 1: The Quine Tapes [3 Cd Box Set] by Velvet Underground (Audio CD - 2008)
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