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The Velvet Underground And Nico -Mar 1967

The dark side of the 1960s, not the Summer Of Love with peace and flowers. It begins with the gentle "Sunday Morning" which is very different from what comes after. "I'm Waiting For The Man" brings us to a white boy standing on the corner uptown while waiting for his drug dealer, Lou Reed shows us his strange but effective style of talk/singing. Nico sings lead on "Femme Fatale", she has a ghostly monotone voice with a rough German accent, and she is also effective on this tale of a "little tease" who will make a fool of you. "Venus In Furs" is one of the best on the album, a haunting, hypnotic look into the perverse world of S&M. Nico sings "All Tomorrow's Parties" about a girl who lives for the party scene but has nothing else. "Heroin" is a powerful look at the life of a drug addict, the driving guitar gives a sense of the rush he gets from it. But he admits it will be the "death of me". My favorite of the Nico songs is "I'll Be Your Mirror", she somehow manages to sound a bit warm and friendly on this one. This ends with an experimental 7 minute song "European Son" with some sound effects and feedback.

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THE BEACH BOYS Smiley Smile / Wild Honey  


I had a lot of BEACH BOYS on vinyl, including Smiley Smile.  I had forgotten how there are real embarrassments on Smiley Smile.  I own the CD because I wanted Wild Honey.  I do own the decades later release of Smile which is superior to Smiley Smile, though both are chopped salad. 


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Chelsea Girl by Nico -Oct 1967

A good album for the German singer with the mysterious monotone voice. She gets a lot of help from some of the best songwriters of the time along with some lush production by Tom Wilson. The first song is good folky tune called 'The Fairest Of Seasons" co written by Jackson Browne. Browne also contributes a soothing "These Days".  Nico's Velvet Underground friends Lou Reed and John Cale helped her with writing "It Was A Pleasure Then" an 8 minute track which sounds a lot like  a Velvet Underground song with it's feedback and distorted viola. My favorite track is "Chelsea Girls" written by Reed along with Sterling Morrison. It's a great look at several characters that lived in the historic NY Hotel Chelsea. It has some great string and flute arrangement on it. I heard Nico did not approve of the production but I like it. There is a great Bob Dylan song "I'll Keep It With Mine" which Nico performs quite well. "Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams" is another haunting tune from Lou Reed. It ends with "Eulogy To Lenny Bruce" a nice tribute by Tim Hardin to the late comedian.

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The Supremes A Go Go-Aug 1966

A #1 album which contains two of their hit singles and several covers of other Motown songs and current pop hits. The first is one of their many catchy top ten hits "Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart".  They do a nice version of the Isley Brothers' "This Old Heart Of Mine". "You Can't Hurry Love" is a #1 song, one of their best, perfect for Diana Ross's chirpy, girlish voice. There are several OK remakes of Four Tops songs-"Shake Me, Wake Me", "Baby I Need Your Loving" and "I Can't Help Myself". They do a version of Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made For Walking" but Diana can't pull off the tough girl persona, maybe Florence Ballard should have taken the lead. The best of the covers is "Put Yourself In My Place" a minor hit for the Elgins but is perfect for the Supremes style. One of the best and most interesting tracks (especially now) is a remake of "Come And Get These Memories" which has the late Mary Wilson singing lead. She has a very nice, mature sounding voice, so different from Diana's little girl sound, and well suited for the song. It ends with a cover of the McCoys' "Hang On Sloopy" but lacks the energy of the original.

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