Lou Reed always made you work for it. One minute he’d casually toss off an immortal classic like Sweet Jane or Walk On The Wild Side; the next he’d drop an 18-minute song about possums or a concept album so depressing it made you want to kill yourself.
His 1989 hometown ode New York is a couple of steps above some of his other albums from the era, mainly because Lou seems more a little more focused, feisty, inspired and serious than usual — as showcased in edgier, gritty fare like Dirty Blvd., Busload of Faith and There Is No Time. The presence of former Velvet Underground drummer Moe Tucker on a couple of cuts is a nice treat too. This three-disc reissue raises the bar with more goodies, including a dozen interesting demos, working tapes and rough mixes, along with a slew of live recordings culled from various shows on the tour. And no goddamn possum ballads.
THE PRESS RELEASE: “Lou Reed struck a chord with critics and fans alike more than 30 years ago with New York, his 15th solo studio album overall. Its raw sound and evocative lyrics would go on to earn the legendary singer-songwriter-poet a gold record, a Grammy nomination, and a #1 hit on the Modern Rock charts with Dirty Blvd.
New York captures Reed in exceptional form and is packed with incredible songs like Busload Of Faith, Halloween Parade and Dirty Blvd. The entire album has been remastered for the first time ever for this collection. The second disc presents unreleased live versions from the Lou Reed Archive of every album track compiled from multiple performances. To avoid duplication, none of these live tracks were taken from the set’s accompanying DVD.
The third disc showcases unreleased early versions of several album tracks from the Lou Reed Archive, including Last Great American Whale, Sick Of You and Dirty Blvd. Also featured is the non-LP track The Room, as well as live versions of Sweet Jane, a song Reed originally recorded with The Velvet Underground, and Walk On The Wild Side, from his second solo album, Transformer (1972.)
This set also includes The New York Album, a concert video that was originally released in 1990 on VHS and Laserdisc. It has never been available on DVD, until now. It features Reed performing the entire New York album live in Montreal at the Theatre St. Denis. The DVD concludes with an audio-only interview with Reed.”