Saturday, June 07, 2014

The Velvet Underground Scepter Studio Sessions & Show # 512

Discovering a rare piece of music from a band is an extremely rare occurrence, but it does happen. That’s what happened to a Velvet Underground fan from Montreal, Canada when he visited a garage sale in New York City in 2002. What he found was an acetate from the first studio sessions that The Velvet Underground did in April 1966 at Sceptor Studios, prior to completing The Velvet Underground & Nico album. The acetate originated from studio engineer Norman Dolph and was purchased at the garage sale for a mere 75 cents. The recordings were digitally transferred and put online in all their raw hiss and pop glory, but a bid was put in on e-bay for this rare document of The Velvet Underground’s first studio recordings in 2006. A bid was put in for around the sum of $155,000 dollars, but the bid turned out to be a fake and the buyer did not pay. It was put up on auction again and sold for around $25,000. The recordings were eventually released officially, but more on that later.

What makes these recordings unique is that they differ from the original recordings that would be released on the Velvet Underground & Nico album in 1967. The acetate features different mixes of the already released songs and alternate versions and takes of already released songs. There were only nine songs found on the acetate, they were cut on April 25th, 1966, shortly after the recordings which took place from April 18-April 23, 1966. The actetate was made to serve as demos of some sort in hopes of getting a record deal with Columbia Records. Columbia wound up passing on the band. The Velvet Underground were eventually picked up by Verve. “European Son” is extended here and goes beyond the length of the officially released studio version by the band. “All Tomorrow’s Parties”, “Femme Fatale”, and “I’ll Be You Mirror” all feature different mixes and are noticeable in terms of vocals/vocal harmonies, while songs such as “I’m Waiting For The Man”, “Venus In Furs” and “Heroin” are completely different takes from the album versions entirely. Not counting the alternate versions of the three just aforementioned tracks, the remaining six tracks from these sessions were used after some remixing and editing on the 1967 album, commonly referred to as the “banana album” due to Andy Warhol’s album art.

The Scepter Studios recordings from this acetate were eventually cleaned up and released as part of the 45th anniversary 6 CD super deluxe edition of The Velvet Underground & Nico in 2012, along with numerous other bonus tracks and live material. The Scepter Studio sessions were also released as a Record Store Day limited edition vinyl release in 2013. But, these recordings serve as a document of glimpses of works into a band in progress. The discovery of these recordings also prove that you never know what you might find if you stumble into a garage sale.

Saturday Night Playlist:

1. Link Wray - Big City After Dark
2. Dream Dates - The Mess You’re In
3. Cousins - Other Ocean
4. Fuzz Kings -Republican Haircuts
5. Blitzen Trapper - Fletcher
6. Neil Young - My Hometown
7. Wanda Jackson - Tunnel Of Love
8. North By North - Break Some Bones
9. M.G & The Escorts - A Someday Fool
10. Cool Rays - Diary Of You
11. Wylde Rattz - Take LSD
12. She Wolf - Going Back Home
13. The Cramps - Lonesome Town
14. Cream - From Four Until Late
15. Nature Boys - No Subject
16. Mystics - Can’t Be Happy
17. Paul Jacobs - A Place To Stay
18. Tele Novella - Stephanie Says
19. The Carbonas - Count Me Out
20. The Modernettes - Confidential
21. The Spy’s - Machine Shop
22. Paul Westerberg - Got You Down
23. Paul Westerberg - Silent Film Star
24. Pow Wows - Plastic Factory
25. The Replacements - I’m In Trouble
26. Black Lips - Dog Years
27. The Almighty Defenders - Ghost With The Most
28. Dead Ghosts - I Sleep Alone
29. Plimsouls - Zero Hour
30. Nervus Rex - There She Goes
31. Velvet Underground - Heroin (Different Take) (1966 Scepter Session)

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for June 7. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

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