The Velvet Underground

Ultra Rare Trax, Vol. 1

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The first volume of this four-part bootleg series is, oddly, one of the less impressive ones, combining odds and ends from throughout the Velvet Underground's career. The most interesting of them, unfortunately, have the worst sound quality, these being five tracks from a rehearsal at Max's Kansas City in the summer of 1970. The band play with good straightforward rock spirit on these, and there's one brief song, "Oh Mickey," not found on any official Velvet Underground release, though it's just a less-than-one-minute tune (likely in honor of Max's owner Mickey Ruskin) that sounds like it might have been made up on the spot. Also on the CD is what's billed as a "different mix" of "Sister Ray" that "sounds more tight and rhythmic"; a mono mix of "Who Loves the Sun" from a promo EP; alternate mixes of "Beginning to See the Light" and "Some Kinda Love"; two 1969 demos of "Ride Into the Sun"; and a 1969 radio ad for the third Velvet Underground LP. Considering both that much of this material is available on other bootlegs in more logical and complete surroundings, and that the alternate/mono mixes often aren't much different than the familiar ones, it's a peripheral acquisition for all but the most serious Velvet Underground completists.