Do you want Rock n Roll? Well, How about an amazing performance from Lou Reed from way back in ’78 recorded on the West Coast in San Fran and Ohio this is arguably the guy in his pomp tearing it up with an incredible band behind him it contains a set of some of his finest songs no question about that.
‘Gimme Some Good Times’ sounds huge with all the swagger of New Yawk City fizzing through the airwaves. With being way too young to even remember seeing any band in 78 let alone how it must have felt like seeing something like this from the saxophone and that carefree swing on the drum kit to Reed in his prime its a real pleasure to see Easy Action taking such good care of our musical history. It’s an immaculate recording and really capture the raw beauty that is songs as amazing as ‘Satellite Of Love’ never mind your Bono’s tucking up Reed’s legacy get an earful of this. Spread out over two records with either two or three tracks per side has really let the sound come flooding out on these pressings. Hell, You can close your eyes and get transported back in time. Reed could rock it up with the best of them as he demonstrates on ‘Leave Me Alone’ as the band kick seven shades out of the backbeat whilst the guitar (Stuart Heinrich) and saxophone courtesy of Marty Fogel duke it out – out front. Man, this band had groove and feeling. The ‘Street Hassle’ tour in support of that fine fine album is the order of the day and it’s hard not to love what was the guy on top of his game. It might get a little jazzy at times as the players take a turn in jamming out from the piano to sax to guitar but boring it certainly isn’t.
You also get the most incredible groove from this band hell I can understand Reed wanting to introduce them they’re so good they embrace the songs and own them whilst breathing unbelievable amounts of energy in them and with all that style they still maintain a grittiness and back street punch up if you want it attitude. Take ‘I Want To Be Black’ as a shining example. Amazing musicianship but attitude and toughness. Glossy and shiny it isn’t (thank god)
‘Walk On The Wildside’ is funked up and the title track of the tour ends the recording taken from Ohio there is a drop in audio quality for the Frisco show but the change in sound doesn’t detract from the performance that Reed and his band makes. To be fair side four does offer up ‘Coney Island Baby’, ‘Sweet Jane’ and album closer ‘rock and Roll’ which isn’t to be sniffed at by any means. Imagine being responsible for writing those three?! It’s commendable the love and attention Easy Action pour into their reissues and this is no exception with some great sleeve notes from Dick Porter perfectly summing up where Reed was at. 78 was the pinnacle of punk rock and Reed just did his own thing as he had always done and this collection shows he was right to continue to lead and never follow. Excellent live double album and one I’d safely recommend to anyone with even the slightest bit of taste and rock and roll in their soul. Love hasn’t gone away at all – buy it!
Author: Dom Daley
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