Rare footage of the Velvet Underground playing live in Boston (1967, sound, color, 33 mins. Dir: Andy Warhol) has recently been discovered. [more inside]
This week, a reality show contestant performed a song once described as an "epic, gospel-tinged ballad of desire and rejection, love and sex, God and man, failure and transcendence, the inevitability of death and triumph of the spirit against the greatest odds". Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah. [more inside]
Arthur Rimbaud Documentary [via pb] is an impressionistic tour of Rimbaud's life, from a provincial upbringing, through his teenage poetic revolution, to his world travels and moderately successful business career in the Horn of Africa, featuring contemporary photographs, some taken by Rimbaud, and readings by Joan Baez. His poems (English translations, French, with some translated into English, earlier translations, with French originals) were fundamental in overthrowing the established traditions of writing and his personal story has long been an inspiration to those who chafe under the strictures of society. Ruth Franklin wrote about the whole arc of Rimbaud's life in The New Yorker, while Edmund White focuses on Rimbaud's bull-in-a-china-shop entrance into fellow poet Paul Verlaine's bourgeois existence in The Guardian. You can also read earlier biographical writings on Rimbaud, including his sister Isabelle's hagiographic account. Rimbaud's poetry has been set to music, perhaps most notably by electronic musician Hector Zazou and chansonnier Léo Ferré (links to music below the cut). [more inside]
In a fascinating, still-ongoing conference on The inkWell, Richie Unterberger talks about the process of researching and writing about the Velvet Underground, for his recently published day by day chronicle of the group. (book excerpts here)
Mark Richardson muses about memory, personal history and YouTube. Specifically, he uncovered a storied 1970 Steel Mill gig (with Bruce Springsteen on guitar, audio only) that his wife's uncle MC'ed. And then the 15-year old Boss' garage band, The Castiles. And verified dim memories of seeing Andy Warhol, Bianca Jagger and Steven Spielberg discuss radios in your teeth on TV, and John Cale on a TV game show. And an old Highland Appliances TV ad. That kind of thing.
I'm not into VU bootlegs really, but apparently this is a big deal. It's the ONLY available live stuff from 1967 and has only become available in literally the last two days. Recorded just after the release of The Velvet Underground And Nico and featuring the debut performance of Sister Ray (19 mins long) and the *previously unheard* song I'm Not A Young Man Any More. That's right, A NEW VELVET UNDERGROUND SONG. And it's fucking good too. This version of Sister Ray absolutely shreds and is what the Velvet Underground are all about.
21 years ago, Andy Warhol died of complications from gallbladder surgery. Lou Reed and John Cale, two founding members of the Velvet Underground -- Warhol's Factory house band -- paid tribute to their mentor on the 1990 album Songs for Drella. Edward Lachman's recording of a 1991 performance is available on YouTube: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 [more inside]