Wednesday, July 16, 2008

sucking on my ding dong

the velvet underground with john cale in the foreground at the dom, april 1, 1966. Photographs by Andy Warhol.

This is potentially the longest song I might ever get round to posting on SibLINGSHOT ON THE BLEACHERS. Turn up the heat.

I was listening attentively to the Ian Curtis and Joy Division version I posted a couple of days back, and while it was seldom off my turntable in 1981, it occurred to me then that the original just can't be beat.

No, sir. Not by a long short.

I suspect Mr. Beer N. Hockey might wholeheartedly agree. In fact, I may have inadvertently offended his sensibilities by not opting for this classic jazz "fuck you" from the very off.

Recorded at Scepter Studios, New York City in September 1967, the blistering "Sister Ray" not only fields the original and best line-up bar none - featuring Sterling Morrison; John Cale; Maureen Tucker; and Lou - but is also a distinct improvement on the fantastic plastic four's debut. And that is no small achievement.

Stripped of chanteuse, Nico's partridge feather bedding chamber sighs, the sound throughout "White Light / White Heat" is much more an impenetrable spider's web. It drips venom all over the fucking carpet.

No bass either on this one. Just howling electric organ and full-on Vox.

Andy, too, gets kicked to the kerb on production duties. The song is recorded in one fluid take, needle tracks and all. It is a righteous blast which has never been equalled, and perhaps never shall.

A group composition, produced by Tom Wilson - who apparently did little more than punch the record button - and engineered by Greg Kellgren.

The summer of love really ended here. Go suck your ding dong.

I'm counting on the fact that each and every one of you owns this one already, of course.

THE VELVET UNDERGROUND: SISTER RAY from "White Light / White Heat" LP (Verve) 1967 (US)



Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

Too bad Ed Sullivan did not have these New York dolls on his show in 1967. Already a huge fan of Lou and John's solo records, it was a few years later when my buddy Hank introduced me to Sister Ray: music that did not fit television so well.

ib said...

The velvets on Ed Sullivan. Now that would've been some fun... Recalling his facial expression and finger wagging when Jim Morrison sang "higher" anyway, one can only imagine.