2/23/2008

VU workout in The Gymnasium

I just got my hands on this supposedly new Velvet Underground boot, a recording from a 1967 show at the Gymnasium in New York. As far as where this recording has been for 40 years, your guess is as good as mine.

I’ll confess that I’m pretty much a casual fan of VU. I’ve listened a lot more to solo Lou Reed than I have to the Velvets. But I am aware of their place in rock history, which is why I grabbed this recording when I saw it. Also, it was advertised as “rocking like a mother fucker,” which didn’t hurt as far as selling me on giving it a listen.

One forum I looked at referred to this set as a “holy grail” for VU fans. There was a guy on ebay with 100 green vinyl copies of this album that he is selling for somewhere in the area of $40 (21£) each. There’s a part of me that’s a little skeptical about this. It seems strange to me that these recordings would just now be surfacing. And I literally mean “just now”: This started circulating last week.

Assuming this is legit, the big prizes on this boot are the previously unreleased “I’m Not a Young Man Anymore” and a 19-minute version of “Sister Ray.” Reportedly, this recording is also the only one from 1967 as well as the last known recording from the John Cale era. On top of all that, the sound quality is pretty good for as old as it is.

On the Warhol Stars Web site, Chris Stein of Blondie remembered a Velvets performance at the Gymnasium: “By that time the rest of The Velvets had arrived. After a while they started to play and they were like awesomely powerful. I had never expected to experience anything like that before... I was really disappointed that they didn't have Nico, because we thought she was the lead singer, but I distinctly remember the violin and their doing 'Venus in Furs' because a couple of people in dark outfits got up and started doing a slow dance with a chain in between them... There were maybe thirty people there. It was very late, but it was a memorable experience...”

The site where I got this recording (Thanks to the OP ) urged readers to share this piece of rock and roll history. So, I’m either passing along a great moment in rock, or I’m helping perpetuate a major hoax. It could turn out this is a Velvet Underground tribute band from Illinois.

I’m Not a Young Man Anymore.mp3
Guess I’m Falling in Love.mp3
I’m Waiting for the Man.mp3
Run Run Run.mp3
Sister Ray.mp3

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9 Comments:

At 7:54 AM , Blogger Henry's Archive said...

VU allright!
thanks for sharing,
Henry

 
At 10:27 AM , Blogger Bob said...

Sounds like a tribute band to me. Pretty good one, too.

 
At 3:41 PM , Blogger Henry's Archive said...

No way,
it's the real thing, positive
Henry

 
At 1:21 AM , Blogger Aaron said...

I've been hanging out to hear this stuff, cheers for the generous post!

 
At 3:20 AM , Blogger chout said...

This is totally legit...Guess I'm Falling In Love is the exact recording on the official Box Set from 95...thanks for sharing!!!

 
At 11:02 PM , Blogger Harry White said...

of course its legit -- listen to it. it's the VU and only the VU. the one issue I have is the inability to distinguish John Cales's playing throughout the set. Lou, Sterling and Maureen are clearly heard. But where is John???

 
At 6:42 PM , Blogger Pete Shambler said...

Fantastic! If this is a fake, then I'm the cover band's biggest fan.

 
At 1:55 AM , Blogger Grrtch said...

woohoo! the mythical Gynmasium boot! I've been hearing about this for more'n a decade.. until recently, the only way to hear it was to go to the guy's house. word from one such visitor confirms that this is indeed the real deal. thanks for sharing! sounds great!

 
At 10:00 PM , Blogger docdirt said...

lame cover band.............hot dogs and beers for payment

 

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