Various Artists

After Hours: A Tribute To The Music Of Lou Reed

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Titled after the Moe Tucker rendition of a song from the third self-titled Velvet Underground disc on MGM, this ambitious assortment of 14 songs is a good tool to introduce the audience who appreciate's Lou Reed's work to bands whose followers may never have heard of him. Johnny J. Blair and the Cellarbirds, Brook Pridemore (a guy who sings the title track), Kowtow Popof, Silent 4: let's face it, you may never hear of some of these entities again, but like an appearance on the original Star Trek television show guaranteed some sort of pop celebrity, the music of the Velvet Underground, and Lou Reed in particular, will continue to evolve and be appreciated through the lenses of the seemingly endless followers who pick up guitars and emulate someone who did things a little differently. The standouts on this collection are, not surprisingly, the artists who rearrange the original ideas and take chances. "How Do You Think It Feels" by Tvfordogs is creative, bringing that essential track from the Berlin LP into the world of modern rock, the way a follower of the Velvet Underground, more than Reed, might interpret it. It's whacked out enough to get high marks, as is Okapi Guitars' fun and frivolous folk version of the fun, frivolous, and quite accurate composition, "Vicious." The Special Agents deliver a Dick Dale-style instrumental "All Tomorrow's (Beach) Parties," and it is also a delight. It's really a wonder there are not tons of Velvet Underground/Lou Reed tribute albums beyond the hard to find but excellent Heaven and Hell, Vol. 1, and Warner Brothers interesting -- and equally obscure -- Under Cover: The Songs of Lou Reed. The essential covers -- Mitch Ryder's "Rock & Roll" from his classic Detroit album (which is an all-important component of the Berlin/Rock 'n' Roll Animal legacy ); the Runaways and Blue Swede's copy of that arrangement; the Nervous Eaters' "What Goes On" (guitarist Steve Cataldo, as legend has it, opted to sign to Elektra rather than tour with Reed ); John Cale and Nico's post- V.U. contributions; all will make for exciting future episodes of this concept. Silent 4 certainly sound like Cale doing Reed's "I Love You" over a "Venus in Furs" drumbeat, and it is indicative of most of this album, as faithful as Marianne was to the Stones' "As Tears Go By"; or Todd Rundgren in his wonderful cover album entitled, of course, Faithful. Hearing a female voice on "Going Down," from the first solo RCA disc Reed unleashed on the world, or Lee Rude's "Cremation" from latter-day Reed (get it? "Lee Rude" is a play on the nickname for Reed when he would get "difficult" and insiders would call him "Lou Rude"), both add something. It's a highly listenable combination of a baker's dozen-plus of performances from Wampus Multimedia (www.Wampus.com -- the crew who also have a tribute to Jonathan Richman), and it is very deserving of your attention.

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