January 5, 2011
I just noticed those red cassette tapes up on the shelf. They are the “Afterhours” set from the VUAS (Velvet Underground Appreciation Society) from circa 1990. In those days 30 or so tapes covered all known VU material that wasn’t already available as legitimate releases including most of the known cover versions of VU songs. Of course in the last 20 years there must have been thousands more cover versions including the ultra-rare drunken karaoke version of “Pale Blue Eyes” by me. Oh and I’m sure every moment of the VU’s unexpected 1993 reunion tour would have been recorded as well.
I’m not an obsessive completist even regarding singers and bands I love dearly but I do pick up things if my curiosity is piqued. So when that String Quartet version of the Banana Album was released I had to get it. Ditto the live Zeitkratzer version of Lou’s Metal Machine Music. Consequently today I broke my rule of not buying mp3 downloads by getting Puttin’ on the Ritz’s version of Sister Ray. I guess 79p for a 17 minute-long track isn’t too bad a deal. Although you really need to be a fan of atonal jazz or a VU completist to appreciate it or to want to buy the whole LP (It’s available in just two formats… either on vinyl or as a download). Puttin’ on the Ritz have released a whole cover album of the VU’s White Light White Heat currently available (on Hot Cup Records) from the usual sources. Instead of screaming guitar feedback, a solid backbeat and Maureen’s metronome drums you get screeching horns and freestyle jazz drumming. It make’s the VU’s original cacophony sound quite comforting in comparison.