What Goes On-The Songs Of Lou Reed.

Label: Ace Records.

Format: CD.

After leaving The Velvet Underground, Lou Reed embarked upon a solo career that spanned five decades and saw him release twenty albums. His final album was Hudson River Wind Meditations which was released on April the ‘24th’ 2007. By then, the former Velvet Underground frontman was one of the biggest names in rock music and his music had influenced several generations of musicians. That’s still the case nearly eight years after Lou Reed’s death on October the ‘27th’ 2013 aged seventy-one. 

Given the influence he’s had on songwriters and musicians since his days with the Velvet Underground it’s fitting that Lou Reed is the latest induction into Ace Records’ Songwriter Series. Twenty-four cover of his songs feature on What Goes On-The Songs Of Lou Reed which was recently released by Ace Records. There’s songs from his solo career and his time with The Velvet Underground. They’re a reminder of a truly talented and influential songwriter.

Opening What Goes On-The Songs Of Lou Reed is alt-rocker Beck’s cover I’m Waiting For The Man which was released as part of the Spotify Original Series in 2018. Beck stays true to the original as he pays homage to the author of a classic song.

Bryan Ferry covered What Goes On for his album The Bride Stripped Bare in 1978. This melodic cover was one of the highlights of one the former Roxy Music frontman’s fifth solo album as he takes this familiar song in a new direction.

Perfect Day originally featured on Lou Reed’s 1972 album Transformer. In 1995, Kirsty MacColl and Evan Dando covered the song and the single was released by Virgin. It’s transformed into an orchestrated ballad with The Lemonheads’ frontman crooning his way through the track proving the perfect foil for the late and much-missed Kirsty MacColl who tragically died in 2000.

Following the release of The Velvet Underground and Nico in 1967, Nico left the group and embarked upon a solo career. Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams is taken from her Chelsea Girl album and finds her delivering an emotive and orotund vocal against a chamber folk arrangement that was produced by Tom Wilson.

On the ‘25th’ April 1985 Echo and The Bunnymen were in  Karen, Gothenburg, where they recorded several tracks for The Bommen Show. This includes an anthemic and driving cover of Run, Run, Run. It’s a welcome inclusion to the compilation and is a reminder of a group at the peak of their powers.

Psychedelic folk rockers The Soft Boys were formed in Cambridge, England, by Robin Hitchcock in 1976. By the time they played at The Hope and Anchor in Islington, London, in March 1980 they had acquired a cult following. That night, the tapes were running and the concert was recorded. On the setlist was a cover of a cover Train Round The Bend where the group  fuse rock and blues during a breathtaking cover. Sadly, this hidden gem of a track lay unreleased until 1993 when it belatedly made its debut on the Rykodisc compilation 1976-81.

Canadian quartet Cowboy Junkies covered The Velvet Underground classic Loaded which features that timeless guitar riff. This haunting cover originally featured on The Trinity Sessions album which was released in 1988 by Latent Recordings and finds the group taking the track in a new direction. 

Tracey Thorn from Everything But The Girl recorded The Velvet Underground’s Femme Fatale for her album A Distant Shore which was released by Cherry Red in 1983. This cover features an understated arrangement that’s the perfect backdrop for the heartfelt and emotive vocal. It’s a welcome addition to the compilation as many people may not have heard this timeless cover. 

Rock ’N’ Roll originally featured on The Velvet Underground’s fourth album Loaded, which was released in 1970. A year later, in 1971, the track was covered by Detroit featuring Mitch Ryder. It’s regarded by many as one of the best covers of the track. Hard rocking and fervid with blistering guitar licks the former Detroit Wheels’ frontman struts his way through this classic track.

Iggy Pop closes What Goes On-The Songs Of Lou Reed with a cover of We Are The People which featured on his album Free, which was released in 2019. The cover features a soliloquy from the legendary rocker that’s delivered against a wistful, spacious  and ruminative sounding arrangement that features just trumpet and keyboards. It’s a beautiful way to close the compilation.

The twenty tracks on What Goes On-The Songs Of Lou Reed are a reminder of one of the most influential musicians of his generation. This lovingly curated compilation features a cover of one of his earliest songs Why Don’t You Smile Now which was before he cofounded The Velvet Underground. There’s also a  selections of songs from the legendary art rockers and a triumvirate of tracks from his 1972 classic solo album Transformer. This was one of twenty solo albums Lou Reed released during a five decade solo career.

During that period, he influenced and inspired many artists and groups who went on to cover his compositions and some of them  pay homage to a musical legend on What Goes On-The Songs Of Lou Reed. Hopefully, Ace Records will release a followup to this latest instalment in their long-running and successful Songwriter Series as many artists have covered songs written by Lou Reed over the last six decades and will continue to do so.

What Goes On-The Songs Of Lou Reed.

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