Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Velvet Underground - IV

The Velvet Underground – IV

(soniclovenoize reconstruction)

Side A:
1.  We’re Gonna Have A Real Good Time Together
2.  One Of These Days
3.  Andy’s Chest
4.  Lisa Says
5.  Foggy Notion

Side B:
6.  I Can’t Stand It
7.  Coney Island Steeplechase
8.  I’m Sticking With You
9.  She’s My Best Friend
10.  Ocean
11.  Ride Into The Sun

As a memorial to the death of Lou Reed today, I thought I’d rush this mix and post it immediately.  This is a reconstruction of the fabled ‘lost fourth album’ by The Velvet Underground, recorded in-between 1969’s The Velvet Underground and 1970’s Loaded.  Although much of this material has been released as the 1985 compilation album VU, the label made no attempt to reproduce that lost fourth album.  In contrast to VU, this reconstruction attempts to be true to what the actual fourth Velvet Underground might have been like.  I also utilized alternate sources of the songs from those contained on VU in order to include the longest edits of the songs as well as the best mastering available. 

By 1969, we have a completely different Velvet Underground.  After recording an album intended to be the polar opposite of White Light/White Heat with John Cale’s more musically apt (albeit less experimental) replacement Doug Yule, the band enjoyed critical success with their The Velvet Underground album, even though commercial success still eluded them.  Being tired of MGM Records—or perhaps reading the writing on the wall and anticipating a drop from the label due to a lack of commercial potential—the band continued recording a follow-up to The Velvet Underground while touring throughout 1969, biding their time until their management found a better label.  This follow-up, once complete, was indefinitely shelved by MGM as The Velvet Underground was no longer on their roster anyways.   It remained unheard until the tapes were accidentally found and released as the 1985 and 1986 compilation albums VU and Another View. 

Recorded at The Record Plant from May to October 1969, the actual band members have differing opinions on what the intent of these recordings was.  In interviews, bandleader Lou Reed expressed that the 1969 Record Plant recordings were meant for their fourth album—specifically noting that “We’re Gonna Have A Real Good Time Together” was meant as it’s ironic lead single.  Mo Tucker sides with Reed, in that she was under the impression they were recording a proper forth album, although she confusingly claims that The Record Plant recordings found on VU and Another View were not it.  Doug Yule however claimed they were simply professionally-recorded demos for the album that would eventually be Loaded.  Sterling Morrison offers a completely different explanation: that the recordings were simply “busy work”, a put-on so that MGM would not suspect the band as wanting out of their contract, and that these recordings were never even meant to see the light of day.   Who are we to believe, if we believe any of this at all? 

For the purposes of this reconstruction we will assume Reed and Tucker to be correct, and collect the Record Plant sessions into this album they were purportedly recording.  We will also need to assume that Tucker is mistaken, and that The Record Plant sessions were indeed the lost album; 40 years later, what else possibly could it be?  Had they recorded an undocumented album’s worth of material that somehow escaped Velvet Underground historians for decades?  Unlikely… 

While we don’t know what exactly would have been on the “lost forth album”, we do have fourteen finished songs, recorded at a state-of-the-art recording studio from the exact same time period in question.  Seems more than a coincidence!  While the 1985 album VU also includes the unreleased single “Stephanie Says” and “Temptation Inside Your Heart”, we must resist the temptation inside our hearts (no matter what Stephanie says) to include these two songs as they were most likely not a part of this project.  Of the fourteen tracks recorded in 1969, we will exclude the early version of “Rock and Roll”, since it later appears on Loaded; in contrast, although both “Ocean” and “I’m Sticking With You” were re-recorded for Loaded, they did not make that final cut and are thus free-game.  With thirteen songs remaining, I simply dropped the two weakest tracks—the unnecessary filler “Ferryboat Bill” and the long and uninteresting “I’m Gonna Move Right In”.  The result is eleven solid tracks that run nearly 40 minutes: the typical format for a Velvet Underground album! 

Side A begins with Reed’s idea of an ironic and intentionally-inane single designed specifically to ‘give FM radio what it wants’, “We’re Gonna Have A Real Good Time Together”.  Although Reed later re-recorded this unreleased song for his 1978 solo album Street Hassle, this is the original Velvet Underground version taken from Another View.  Following is the barroom snarl of “One of These Days”; this is the longer version found on the What Goes On boxset, that runs about five seconds longer than the typical VU version.  “Andy Chest”, a song Reed re-recorded for is classic 1972 Transformer album, follows and is taken from the CD pressing of VU.  “Lisa Says” follows, a song Lou re-recorded for his first solo album; it is taken from the Peel Slowly and See boxset, which runs three seconds longer than the typical VU version.  Concluding Side A is my own edit of “Foggy Notion”, the first of two necessary ‘epic’ songs on a Velvet Underground album.  This reconstruction attempts to make the longest possible complete version by using the guitar intro from the vinyl pressing of VU and the longer-fade mix found on the What Goes On boxset.  This “Foggy Notion” is now as long and complete as possible, clocking in at 7:00 as opposed to the 6:45 version on VU.

Side B starts with a song Reed again re-recorded for his first solo album in 1972, “I Can’t Stand It”, here using the best master found on What Goes On.  After “Coney Island Steeplechase” from Another View, the longest version of “I’m Sticking With You” is taken from Peel Slowly and See, in which the final chord of the song is more articulated.  A song re-recorded by Reed for his 1976 solo album Coney Island Baby, “She’s My Best Friend” is the long version taken from the promo cassette pressing of VU which runs 19 seconds longer.  The second necessary epic of the album, we have the superior master of another song re-recorded for Reed’s first solo album: “Ocean”, which is taken from What Goes On.  The album concludes with a serene What Goes On version of “Ride Into The Sun” that actually features vocals, unlike the common Another View version.  While they were clearly recorded at the same 1969 studio session (mislabeled on the What Goes On liner notes), this version is unfortunately sourced from an old acetate rather than the remixed mastertapes.  The result is that, while definitely listenable and certainly enjoyable, “Ride Into The Sun” has a very obvious lower soundquality than the rest of the album.  But is that really a problem?  After all, we are talking about The Velvet Underground here!  This acetate sounds as good as half of the songs on White Light/White Heat!  This rougher acetate version seemed a perfect fit to conclude the album, not to mention it's one of the best recordings the band ever made.

The resulting album reconstruction—which here I simply titled IV as it would have been The Velvet Underground’s fourth album—lies somewhere between the band-oriented garage-rock of White Light/White Heat and the serene pop sensibilities of The Velvet Underground.  Without any pretense at all ("Are we even making an album right now?  Oh well..."), it is a very clear recording of the band playing directly, something they needed at this point of their career, although no one actually did hear it at this point in their career.  But let's not fool ourselves; if they had, I doubt it would have made much of a difference anyways.  The Velvet Underground's fate was always sealed to be ahead of their time.  But now that that time has passed, we can appreciate the simple beauty of a very honest Velvet Underground album previously lost, as we celebrate Lou Reed’s ride into the sun. 

Sources Used:
Another View (1986 CD)
Peel Slowly and See (1995 CD box set)
The Ultimate Stereo Album (bootleg CD box set, 1996 Nothing Songs Limited)
VU (1985 original CD pressing)
VU (1985 vinyl rip by Kel Bazar)
What Goes On (1993 CD boxset)

flac --> wav --> editing in SONAR, Audacity & Goldwave --> flac encoding via TLH lv8
*md5, artwork and tracknotes included


  1. Thanks so much for this! Just what I need today :(

    Hey, so, even if it's not a Beach Boys' album, you should still make threads for your reconstructions over at Smiley Smile. Just put it in the General Music area.

  2. Thanks. Sounds great! I actually checked your blog earlier today because I thought I had previously seen a VU post. I've tried to find a torrent or download of The Ultimate Stereo Album box set, but there doesn't seem to be any seeds out there. RIP LOU!!!

  3. This is great -- nice cover art work too. A nice upgrade from this set, which I burned a copy of a few years back:

  4. Wow! That was quick, and highly appreciated. Thank you so much.

  5. Fantastic. Many thanks indeed.

  6. I never heard VU on vinyl so it's interesting to hear some of these recreated "long versions". I don't know what the fuss about "Foggy Notion" is; the guitar intro doesn't sound like it belongs all or was included unintentionally on the vinyl (not for nothing is the intro absent even on PEEL SLOWLY AND SEE). On the other hand, I am really enjoying the longer version of "She's My Best Friend" - a great song that's even better slightly longer. Still annoys me that this song was omitted from PEEL SLOWLY AND SEE -- one of the only songs from their recorded catalog omitted entirely.

    It's a shame we've never gotten "Ride Into the Sun" w/ vocals from a good tape source. Your efforts to clean-up this version are excellent and appreciated!! Can you do anything about the out-of-tune guitars? :)

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  8. Here's another nice project for you: A follow-up to Neutral Milk Hotel's In An Aeroplane Over The Sea! =)

  9. Happy Halloween, spirits are dancing! This treasure trove is my favorite spot on the net, so glad i discovered you bro! I can't say enough good things about all your creations, talent and knowledge - hat's off to you my friend, from a fellow artist and lover of music, you're a master!!! Can't wait to hear this VU IV - fly free brother Lou, the End of an Era...."ya know those were different times"....
    well here's a little treat for some cool spookin, my Halloween mix from 2011, 1st in a trilogy, titled: ' A Splendid Time Is Guaranteed For All pt.1'

    Spook Out!

  10. Fantastic ... no love for Countess From Hong Kong, tho?

  11. According to Moe Tucker in Bockris and Malanga's book, Uptight (1983), "We did 'Stephanie Says', 'Lonesome Cowboys' (written for Warhol's movie of the same name), 'Foggy Notion', 'I'm Sticking With You', 'My Best Friend', 'Sad Song', 'Andy's Chest', and 'Ocean'. I'm really pissed that never came out. It's a great album."

    Unless there was a later recorded version of 'Stephanie Says' that is lost or undisclosed, and an earlier version of 'Sad Song', then I think Tucker's memory was probably failing her. 'Stephanie Says' dates from early '68 when John Cale was still a part of the group; and 'Sad Song' dates from the Loaded sessions for Cotillion. 'Stephanie Says', 'Guess I'm Falling in Love', 'Temptation Inside Your Heart', 'Hey Mr Rain', 'What Goes On' and 'That's The Story of My Life' were seemingly the intended track listing for what would have been the band's third album with Cale if Lou had allowed him to stay on board. They held onto the latter two numbers once Doug Yule replaced Cale, and it appears 'Guess I'm Falling in Love' evolved into 'I Can't Stand It' later on.

    I'm not sure where 'Countess From Hong Kong' fits in. It doesn't appear to have been part of the sessions for the unreleased fourth album or Loaded. Could it have been recorded for neither MGM or Cotillion/Atlantic? A private demo...?

  12. You should try Lou Reed & John Cale re-uniting in the mid '70s. (Helen of Troy/Fear mixed with Sally Can't Dance), or a John Cale/Velvet Underground album in 1970 (Vintage Violence mixed with Loaded).. all just ripe to be done.

  13. You're basically a music archaeologist, restoring seemingly "lost albums" to their former glory and giving them for the world to see. Honestly, I'm happy you have such good taste in music, too. Thanks for making all of these. If more people like you worked in the labels that release all this lost material, it'd be every fan's dream.

  14. Just read about your blog on D& stuff and thanks for all the annotation; really great. Thanks very much for the music!

  15. I had problems on both links. Could you reupload it please?

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  17. I like your sequencing and far better than the Sundazed attempt. One criticism is the lack of Ferryboat Bill which, imo, has to be there. Not sure where it would go, though and it would probably ruin your excellent running order.

  18. I removed Sticking With You - which has started to get on my nerves a bit over the years - and inserted the Another View version of Ferryboat Bill from vinyl. It makes a nice set. Agree about the demo tape version of She's My Best Friend.

  19. Here's a challenge: The Velvet Underground 3rd as if John Cale had not left the band. Imagine what he would have bought to the direction, the sound, and also his viola and bass playing. I think the roots were there in Stephanie Says, Temptation Inside Your Heart and Mr. Rain. Guess I'm Fallin' in Love (although that track was earlier it might hint at the sound of What Goes On with him on board). And then there's the swinging version of Beginning To See The Light that surfaced last year.

    Will you edit your version now? When this version is released?
    What are you working on now? I love it when I find a new entry on your blog. We have very simular taste in music you and I.
    Thank you very much!

    1. Yes, I've been following this release and I am very excited to hear it! And just like the upcoming Bob Dylan's Complete Basement Tapes box set, it will without a doubt completely DEMOLISH my own reconstructions, haha. Looks like they have vintage mixes and some new mixes, both which probably eliminate the 80s drum sound unavoidably found on my reconstruction since, as you know, all we have as source material was Another View and VU. But I will most likely be NOT upgrading my reconstruction of IV here, even though I much prefer my tracklist to theirs and will probably just upgrade my reconstruction with theirs for my personal library and listening.

      You see, with these reconstructions, I try to make it somewhat of a challenge to make it fun for me... That some sound editing or mixing might be needed or that the tracks are gathered from a number of sources in a goose hunt scenario. That is fun and challenging for me! I don't see the challenge in simply re-organizing the tracks all found on one bonus disc. That's just making an alternate playlist and that's not what I want to do on this blog. I try to make my reconstructions unique to this blog in that, as I said, either feature my own editing or the songs are all gathered from multiple releases and bootlegs that otherwise would have been a pain to gather yourself, you know what I mean? This is the same reason I will not do the Jethro Tull's unreleased Chateau Disaster album, as it's literally featured in it's entirety as a bonus disc already. You know what I mean?

      Expect a new upload this weekend, I'm doing the write-up it right now...

    2. That makes sense, of course. I will keep your tracklist for IV and keep calling it IV also, heh. It suits the album.
      The Complete Basement Tapes box set will be great. So you won't remake Big Pink then?

    3. Based on the iTunes sound samples they've posted so far, it sounds like they made stereo mixes almost precisely as I had for my Big Pink reconstruction. So you'd be able to just take the exact tracks from either the Complete or Raw 2CD version and upgrade my Big Pink exactly, just like for IV. So I won't be updating it here, just something for my own library...

      HOWEVER I am toying with the idea of making a unique remastered mono mix of the 14 song Dwarf Music Acetate, which many Dylan fans feel should have been released as an exclusive vinyl release along with the box set. Is that something that'd interest you and anyone else reading this? I've already done it with the sources we have (A Tree With Roots) but it gets kinda hissy...

    4. Hey, I'm a big fan of your work. I'm comparing your versions of VU IV with the Super Deluxe edition tracks and I feel like I like some of yours better actually. Any thoughts on this? Have you spent time with the box set? Of course, your track list is probably also one of the reasons I prefer the version here.

    5. Ever since the box set came out, I swapped those original (or 2014 remixed tracks that sound "more original") with the 80s ones I used here from VU/Another View. I used my same tracklist though, but adding "Ferryboat Bill" in between "Lisa Says" and "Foggy Notion". I might upload it sometime as an upgrade, but honestly I have about 10 different reconstructions I have finished that I would rather upload first. So it might be a while.

      It's weird-- the 80s mixes from VU and Another View sound more polished and album-ready than the orignal 60s mixes. I still prefer the box set ones though!

  21. I have grown fond of the idea of an album like that called Big Pink, so I might do that!

    That sounds great! I would like it and I am sure others whould to. It whould make a good companion to the box set.

    I don't know if this is the right place but, here is a best of that never were:
    A Best of Sandy Salisbury I put together. I have "remastered" the songs. Give it a listen if you feel like it.

  22. I heard this today about your version of this album:

    "Missing from your version, however, is "Temptation Inside Your Heart" and the Mo Tucker version of "Rock And Roll" (which has a great end)."

    Are they songs that you think would fit in with this version of the album?

    1. I dropped Temptation because it wasn't recorded during these sessions, and I dropped Rock n Roll because it was later on Loaded and didn't want overlap.

  23. Ok - Good reasons to keep them off, thanks.

  24. Curious as to which versions are the actual 1969 mixes rather than mixes done in the 80s, etc. The new 25th deluxe edition disc 4 has 8 songs with a 1969 mix and 6 with a 2014 mix. Not sure why that is, but trying to confirm where I can find 1969 mixes of the other 6 songs. Even on the 2014 mixes they tried to make it sound vintage, though. Do you prefer the new release over the others?

    1. Yeah I've been listening to the set since it came out, and I much prefer these new (and old) mixes to the 80s ones. It just simply sounds more like a Velvet Underground album! There are some mixing decisions I liked on the 80s mixes better though, including the "telephone" vocal effect in Coney Island Steeplechase and the lack of the giggles and laughs in other tracks. I also think "She's My best Friend" soudns more rough here... overall everything seems like demo sessions rather than a more finished album as the 80s tracks would lead you to believe. Regardless, I'm still going to go for the vintage mixes and the modern mixes meant to emulate the vintage mixes.

      Contrary to what I said earlier, I will update this reconstruction with the box set sources, simply because the studio chatter can be edited off of a few songs. And then of course the instrumental Ride Into The Sun is still unsatisfactory to me, so I've speed-corrected the acetate version with vocals and mastered it as loud as the rest of the tracks, as well as folding the fake-stereo image to mono. The rougher quality of the acetate blends much better with the vintage mixing of the box set tracks.

      I also added slightly resequenced IV to include Ferryboat Bill. ;)

      I will try to upload it soon. I've fallen behind on my blog uploads due to a very busy schedule ever since Halloween, as well as working on projects with a few of my own bands. I'll try to get some things up soon.

    2. I always loved the Another View mix of Ride, but the 2014 mix is simply sublime. A gorgeous instrumental -- I prefer it without vocals.

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  26. Hi
    First, I wanted to thank you for all those nuggets on this blog.

    Lately, while I was listening to the Velvet's "Loaded", I was wondering what could have been if they did an album with a more "velvety" sound. Less Yule, More Reed. So I compiled something (I'm far from having your talent) with tracks from "Peel Slowly And See" and "Loaded: Fully Loaded Edition". I've edited the tracks a little to cut the studio talk and to avoir all the dry ends of the demos (and remixed "Head Held High") and I imagined the last four tracks as an Abbey-Roady medley. This is what I got, with two sides of 18mn:

    The Velvet Underground - Loading...

    Side A:
    Satellite Of Love
    Cool It Down
    Sweet Jane
    Sad Song
    I'm Sticking With You

    Side B:
    Oh Gin
    Head Held High
    Rock & Roll
    Oh! Sweet Nuthin'

    01. Satellite Of Love [Demo Version, Peel Slowly And See]
    02. Cool It Down [Early Version, Loaded : Fully Loaded Edition]
    03. Sweet Jane [Early Version, Loaded : Fully Loaded Edition]
    04. Sad Song [Demo, Loaded : Fully Loaded Edition]
    05. I'm Sticking With You [Outtake, Loaded : Fully Loaded Edition]
    06. Ocean [Demo, Loaded : Fully Loaded Edition]
    07. Oh Gin [Demo, Loaded : Fully Loaded Edition]
    08. Head Held High [Early Version, Loaded : Fully Loaded Edition]
    09. Rock & Roll [Demo, Loaded : Fully Loaded Edition]
    10. Oh! Sweet Nuthin' [Early Version, Loaded : Fully Loaded Edition]

    You can download it here:

    Keep on keeping on! You're great!


  27. This is one of my fave sequences of yours, but IMHO Ferryboat Bill should be tucked into the end of Side A after Foggy Notion, and Countess from Hong Kong should appear after Ocean and before Ride Into the Sun.

  28. Am I being dense or is there no DL link for this gem?

  29. I see notes ,but no link. This is the one thing I need to complete the collection and you are teasing up ass

  30. Hi, any chance of a new flac link for this original version of your "IV" project? Thank you!