The Velvet Underground

Classic Velvet Underground: The Universal Masters Collection

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With only 11 tracks, this Universal Masters Collection is a pretty solid little Velvet Underground compilation. There's plenty missing, but what's here is not only solid, but offers a great sampler of the kind of power and diversity the band had in its heyday -- and even for a few minutes after. Thankfully, the producers offer an unedited, 17-minute-and-49-second take of "Sister Ray," despite the expense of having to leave other things off. With the exception of the gorgeous "Pale Blue Eyes," this set accents the harder, edgier side of the band's output, but that's just fine and it makes a great party record. It's guaranteed to bring out the dark side of your guests as well as serve as a fine introduction for the new listener.

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