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Coney Island Baby Expanded
Extra Tracks, Remastered
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Coney Island Baby
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No one knew what to expect from Lou after Sally Can't Dance and the perplexing Metal Machine Music. What they got was the best batch of Lou Reed songs in years, and this edition adds unissued bonus rehearsal tracks cut in '75 with VU bassist Doug Yule! They join the title classic; Kicks; Crazy Feeling, and the rest of this timeless rock gem.
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Coney Island Baby was, in my opinion, Reed's first mature album and a masterpiece of the rock era. He was young, he was funny, almost romantic but no sentimental slob. He knew too much of the streets of NYC to fall for that. He was always an outsider, still is. The playing is first rate, crisp and clear. The remastering is almost as good as the original vinyl that I recall. Any Lou Reed fan has to have this in their collection. It's fun and it's real. It was obvious that this recording had a profound affect on one of the greatest bands, Dire Straits, especially Sultans of Swing. You can hear it in Knopfler's vocal and guitar phrasings. It's interesting that Knopfler did the sound track for "Last Exit to Brooklyn". Selby is one of Reed's greatest influences. And oh yeah, make sure you read Nelson's review inside.
while the Legacy edition has a punchier overall sound it ironically has less dynamic nuance with crescendos that build less subtly and therefore less dramatically.
"Kicks" is a good example of the sonic differences with the RVE cd having a far superior version - as well as less subtle dynamics the Legacy version also lacks enormous amounts of sonic information in the upper frequencies and bass. There is deep ominous sounding bass guitar running all through "Kicks" but in the Legacy edition it's pretty much absent.
In general on the RVE CD the bass guitar sounds naturally deep and nuanced whereas on most of the Legacy release it ALSO lacks in upper frequenies (the audible harmonics being an important part of a bass guitar's frequency profile) so bass guitar lines sound extremely muddy..
So overall the RVE cd retains most of the subtleties of the original vinyl release and bass guitar sounds remain intact. (Plus it looks like a mini vinyl LP, the really cool part being that the playing surface is black too!)
[EDIT: Amazon has stuffed up again! This review also appears amongst those of the Legacy version - it applies to the black CD released by RCA Victor Europe.]
A year after his passing, it's still a bitter pill to swallow that we won't be getting any further music from Lou Reed. For anyone under the impression that "Transformer" was the only must-hear album Reed put out during that decade, get this one ASAP.
This reissue has a bunch of cool bonus tracks, too.
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This is one of the best ones.