Wednesday, December 15, 2004

"Sweet Sister Ray"

Download: VELVET UNDERGROUND "Sweet Sister Ray"

In 1968, the Velvet Underground briefly played a lovely drone-y buildup to "Sister Ray" that's known as "Sweet Sister Ray." I initially heard of it as this totally different, crazier version of "Sister Ray"! So when I bought a double LP bootleg of it at Venus or Midnight or somewhere and got home, I was truthfully disappointed to just hear this long druggy feedback thing covering one of the LPs, with two definitely hot, but not too dissimilar, live versions of "Sister Ray" on the second LP.

Later, I put "Sweet Sister Ray" on and heard it for the awesome link between Cale's work with the Dream Syndicate and the Velvets that it is. Of late, I've been DJ'ing out with the LP plus an a capella album of prison songs mixed on top of it. I know that sounds unbearably pretentious, but it sounds excellent together like that, I swear.

The entire boot is reviewed on a Velvets site as follows: The other indispensable VU boot of recent years, this captures the band doing the long-rumored 40 minute hypnotic "Sweet Sister Ray" intro to "Sister Ray". It follows that with a great loud/soft "Ray" from Philadelphia in 1970, and bums the house down with the guitar amp "Sister Ray" from the Tea party 15 Jan. 1969. Sadly, the vinyl is all gone, but this tape carries all the punch. Sound : VG- to VG. It seems this has been included on several CD boots in the last few years, so I'm sure you can find it on Soulseek or the other usual places if you look.

The bit I've posted here is a pretty long file -- it's the entire second side of the first LP; it's about 16 minutes of "SSR" plus a few minutes of "Sister Ray," from the Cleveland La Cave gig on April 30 1968. I was not at the show, as I was three days old at the time -- plus I think it was a few more months until our family moved to Cleveland. My memory of that time period is less than clear.