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Published: 2001/12/19
by David Steinberg

Bootleg Series V1: The Quine Tapes – The Velvet Underground

Rumors that the Underground were going to do a "Dick's Picks"-style series have been around for a few years. I had just about given

up on in when I got the news that volume one had been released.

There are two caveats needed before you spend any money on these CDs.

When they call this "the Bootleg Series", they mean it. These CDs are

based on Robert Quine's audience tapes from a series of shows from

1969. There is tape hiss, distortion, and boominess. Don't expect

audio perfection here. The second is that if you absolutely hate

Sister Ray, you should not buy this set. About 1/3 of each of the cds

is filled with versions of the song.

When I first put this in, I'll have to confess some trepidation over

the Sister Ray factor. One of the unfortunate aspects of the Velvet

Underground is that they had a juvenile streak in their lyrics.

With its lyrics about oral sex and shooting up, Sister Ray is the

worst example of this. Between that and not being convinced that the

Underground could maintain interest throughout a 30 minute jam, I was

expecting little out of those segments. Much to my surprise, they

turned out to be the highlights of the album.

Outside of the Sister Rays, there's a large hit and miss factor. Most

of the short songs suffer from the bootleg factor. If you haven't

noticed that Sunday Morning and I’ll Be Your Mirror are the same song,

these versions make it apparent. On the other hand, Ride Into the

Sun and Follow the Leader are cool new discoveries. The version of

Waiting for the Man has extra verses; admittedly they detract from

the song, but it's interesting to hear Reed play with the song like

that. If nothing else, the purchase is worth it for hearing the

Sister Ray > Foggy Notion > Sister Ray sandwich. The Velvet

Underground playing the setlist games of the Disco Biscuits. That's

worth $30.

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