Various Artists

Soundsville

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Lou Reed's classics "Cycle Annie" and "You're Driving Me Insane" have shown up on bootlegs and have traded in collectors' circles for years. They made their first appearance on Soundsville, an album released by Pickwick International with a 1962 copyright date on back. What the budget label did was create a compilation of "sounds" from different cities, represented by makeshift artists like the Hi-Lifes, who give Detroit the song "Soul City," or Philadelphia's "entry," "Wonderful World of Love," by the Liberty Men. As dreadful as it sounds on paper, it would make a great soundtrack to an American International Pictures release, sounding very much like some Mike Curb production for Tower records with the inclusion of a bona fide star, Lou Reed, adding credibility -- and much fun to the disc. Far and away the best tracks are his "You're Driving Me Insane," which is by the Roughnecks and is considered "the sounds of England," and the Beachnuts' well-produced "Cycle Annie," which was, of course, "the sounds of the Motorcycle." Reed agreed in an interview that "Cycle Annie" is a good song, and if he included it on a future album, his fans would eat it up. He's got great attitude on both "Cycle Annie" and "You're Driving Me Insane." The Beachnuts are also here representing "the sounds of the Hot Rod" with "I've Got a Tiger in My Tank." This is not the Beach Nuts from Bang records, a bit of confusion, as the Goldmine Record Collectors guide erroneously claims it is. Reed's office and fans on the internet have confirmed the distinction between the two groups, the artist listed here is one word, the Beachnuts, while the Bang creation divided the words into "Beach Nuts" and was a project by Sire records co-founder and the Angels producer Richard Gottehrer (a Reed connection, as he would sign to Sire years later). Jeannie Larrimore sounds like she's fronting the Velvet Underground instead of Nico on "Johnny Won't Surf No More" -- a really humorous "Leader of the Pack" meets "Johnny Angel." Is Lou Reed on this track? Does he perform the Beach Boys rewrite that is "I've Got a Tiger in My Tank"? Connie Carson's "It's Hard for a Girl in a World Full of Men" is a folk song by a solo artist, making for a very interesting collection of truly underground '60s music. The album comes in "stereo-spectrum" sound on a label known for putting out reissues of music by Ray Charles, Della Reese, Lou Monte, the Fabulous Ink-Spots, Sammy Davis, Jr., and others available for a couple of bucks in supermarkets back in the '60s. They actually had other titles like Music for Longhairs, which featured Tommy Roe's "Sheila," the Impressions with Jerry Butler, the Chiffons, and Barry McGuire. So when someone asks you, "Which '60s label had Lou Reed, Lou Rawls, and Lou Monte at the same time?," you now know the answer. Worth a lot more than the 39 cents this disc was purchased for. Collectors note: The photo of New York on the album cover sure looks like it was used on the 7" Velvet Underground bootleg of VU album outtakes known as The Foggy Notion E.P. No songwriters or times are listed on this project.