Saturday, November 12, 2022

Lou Reed 's Transformer (50th Anniversary) & Shows # 960, 959, 958, 957, 956, 955

Originally released in November of 1972, Transformer is the second full-length album by Lou Reed. Earlier that year in April his debut and self-titled album was released through RCA Records. Comprised of then unreleased Velvet Underground songs and two new originals, the album didn’t have the reaction that it should have. It did reach #189 on the Billboard top 200 album charts, however, it mostly flew under the radar. The album was made up of session musicians, most notably Rick Wakeman and Steve Howe of the prog rock band Yes. Transformer would be Lou Reed’s commercial breakthrough album. Recorded in London at Trident Studio with (at the time) first time producers David Bowie and Mick Ronson, it is often seen as a landmark album in the glam rock genre.

For the content on Transformer, the lyrics drew on experiences from Reed’s past as part of the Factory scene with Andy Warhol in New York. “Vicious” starts off Transformer. With its razor sharp feedback and jangly guitar, this proto punk classic was written while Lou Reed was still in The Velvet Underground. With lyrics such as “Vicious/You hit me with a flower/You do it every hour/ You want me to hit you with a stick/But all I've got's a guitar pick/Huh, baby, you're so vicious,” Lou Reed offers a critique and attack of the Warhol and Factory scene that he was once a part of. “Andy’s Chest” could also fall into the critique category, however, this song, which was more upbeat when originally recorded with The Velvet Underground, has a different arrangement here. Done with the help of Ronson and Bowie, this more down tempo version of “Andy’s Chest” was originally written following an assassination attempt on Warhol in 1968. Seen as an ode to Andy, it also shows the great appreciation that Lou had for Andy and the impact that Warhol and the Factory scene had on Reed.

“Perfect Day” is a stunning ballad and another one of the strong songs found on Transformer. Featuring piano and string arrangements by Mick Ronson, this song has operated with two potential meanings, one a devotional love song and two and ode to a romanticized attitude towards drug use and addiction. Lyrics such as “Oh, it's such a perfect day/I'm glad I spent it with you/Oh, such a perfect day/You just keep me hanging on,” suggest both and while it has been stated by Reed that it is not about drugs at all, its inclusion in the 1997 film Trainspotting has led people to think otherwise. “Hangin’ Round” is another dirty driving rock song in the vein of “Vicious.” With lyrics such as “You keep hangin' 'round me/And I'm not so glad you found me/You're still doing things that I gave up years ago,” it operates as a send off track about hangers on. Side one of Transformer ends with “Walk on the Wild Side.” This song features a more jazz approach with elements of R&B and doo wop as Lou Reed tells an unfiltered character driven tale throughout its five verses about five different people in the Factory scene in New York. Lyrically, it deals with gender identities as it talks of junkies, drag queens, hustlers, drug use and parts of New York’s underground counter culture. The song with its now iconic double bassline played by Herbie Flowers, had its beginnings as song for a soundtrack to the theatrical adaption of Nelson Algren’s A Walk On The Wild Side. The play never happened. The song has been said to be “a salute to the misfits and hustlers who once surrounded Andy Warhol in the late '60s and appeared in his films.” “A Walk on the Wild Side” became a top ten hit for Reed, becoming one of his signature songs and also changing his status as underground cult musician into international star.

“Make Up” starts off side two of Transformer. A song featuring tuba and an almost jangly, cabaret musical influence, it tells the story of a drag queen and also comments on the glam rock music scene. “Satellite of Love” follows next. Another one of Reed’s well-known songs, it features another excellent arrangement by Bowie and Ronson. A song about jealousy, this song was written in 1969/1970 and was even recorded during the sessions for Velvet Underground’s Loaded album. Around this time period satellites were being sent out into space to Mars as the Space Race amplified and the song features allusions to it, but the character in song watches this technology advancing into space while realizing that his lover has left him. The satellites at the time failed in their lift off to space, which also alludes to what occurs in the song. Additionally, it features one of the strongest choruses Lou Reed ever wrote. “Wagon Wheel” is another proto punk song with some sleazy glam rock swagger, while “New York Telephone Conversation” is a short quirky almost vaudeville song driven by piano. “I’m So Free” is another guitar driven track with soulful backup singers, “Goodnight Ladies” ends Transformer. With a cabaret/big band musical style, it was inspired by the second section in T.S. Elliot’s The Wasteland (“A Game of Chess”).

Throughout Transformer, Lou Reed crafted songs that talked about things just weren’t being talked about at the time and brought them into the mainstream consciousness. It dealt in sexual politics, featured characters inspired by the Factory scene in New York in the 60s, the glam rock music scene at the time and featured a lot of different New York inspired musical styles. Lou Reed once said that each of his records are like a different chapter and that if all his albums were listened to in order, that would be his version of the Great American Novel. Initially, some reviews were mixed for Transformer. However, Transformer’s title has proven to have more meanings than one. For Reed, it cast him in a new light from the shadows of his previous band. It is one of Reed’s strongest albums. The songs, like the words found in a novel can take on multiple meanings. With Transformer, this chapter speaks to the misfits and to the outsiders. It draws on many themes, including calling for them to be themselves, whoever they may be.

Show 960 (Originally Aired On November 12th, 2022)(Jerry Lee Lewis, Low, Keith Levene, The Beatles Revolver Special Edition):

1.  Jerry Lee Lewis – Great Balls of Fire (Live at the Star Club, Hamburg 1964) 
2.  Jerry Lee Lewis – Long Tall Sally (Live at the Star Club, Hamburg 1964) 
3.  MJ Lenderman - You Have Bought Yourself a Boat 
4.  MJ Lenderman - TLC Cage Match
5.  Skinny Dyck – Jackson Hole 
6.  Daniel Romano – A Pig is a Pig Jig
7.  Public Image Ltd. - Swan Lake 
8.  Sunglaciers - Thought Maps
9.  Private Lives - Get Loose
10. Ancient Shapes - (I’m) Against the Wind
11. Anxious Pleasers - Errand Boy 
12. Low – Rome (Always in the Dark)
13. Low – More 
14. Low – In Metal 
15. American Lips - Waste of Crime 
16. Cursed Arrows - Rebulid As One 
17. No Museums - Silence Will Outlast Us
18. The Jackets - Pie In The Sky
19. Black Angels - Empires Falling
20. Dion Lunadon -Too Hard To Love, Too Young To Die 
21. Special Interest – Cherry Blue Intention 
22. Dumb – Excuse Me 
23. Dumb – Pull Me Up 
24. Gilla Band – Post Ryan 
25. The Beatles - Taxman (2022 Stereo Mix) 
26. The Beatles - Yellow Submarine (Songwriting Work Tape Pt.1)
27. The Beatles - Tomorrow Never Knows (Take 1)
28. The Beatles - Got To Get You Into My Life (Second Version/Unnumbered Mix)
29. The Beatles - Rain (Take 5/Actual Speed) 
30. The Beatles - Rain (Take 5/Slowed Down for Master Tape)

To hear this program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and click the November 12 file to download/stream the episode. 

Show 959 (Originally Aired On November 5th, 2022)(Lou Reed Transformer 50th Anniversary Special):

1.  Lou Reed - Stockpile (1965 Demo) (Words & Music: May 1965 - 2022)
2.  Lou Reed - W & X, Y, Z Blues (1963-64 Home Recording) (Words & Music: May 1965 - 2022)
3.  Lou Reed - Wild Child (Lou Reed - RCA - 1972) 
4.  Lou Reed - Walk It Talk It (Live 1972) (American Poet - Easy Action - 2001)
5.  Lou Reed – Lady Day (Berlin - RCA - 1973)
6.  Lou Reed - Crazy Feeling (Coney Island Baby - RCA - 1976)
7.  Lou Reed - Vicious (Transformer - RCA - 1972) 
8.  The Velvet Underground - Andy’s Chest (1969 - UMe/Polydor Records/Verve - 2017) 
9.  Lou Reed - Perfect Day (I’m So Free: The 1971 RCA Demos - RCA - 2022)
10. Lou Reed - Hangin’ Round (Transformer - RCA - 1972) 
11. Lou Reed - Walk on the Wild Side (Live 1972) (American Poet - Easy Action - 2001)
12. Lou Reed – Make Up (Transformer - RCA - 1972
13. The Velvet Underground – Satellite of Love (Demo) (Peel Slowly and See - Polydor Records - 1995) 
14. Lou Reed – Wagon Wheel (Live at Alice Tully Hall Jan. 27, 1973 - 2nd Show - RCA/Legacy - 2020)
15. Lou Reed – New York Telephone Conversation (I’m So Free: The 1971 RCA Demos - RCA - 2022
16. Lou Reed – I’m So Free (Transformer - RCA - 1972)
17. Lou Reed – Goodnight Ladies (Transformer - RCA - 1972)
18. Lou Reed - Shooting Star (Street Hassle - Arista - 1978)
19. Lou Reed - Underneath the Bottle (The Blue Mask - RCA - 1982)
20. Lou Reed – Romeo Had Juliette (New York - Sire Records - 1989)
21. Lou Reed & John Cale – Images (Songs for Drella - Sire Records - 1990) 
22. Lou Reed - Nowhere At All (Coney Island Baby - RCA/Legacy - 1976/2006)
23. Lou Reed - Don’t Talk To Me About Work (Legendary Hearts - RCA - 1983)

To hear this program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and click the November 5 file to download/stream the episode. 

Show 958 (Originally Aired On October 29th, 2022)(Halloween 2022 Special):

1.  The Coffin Daggers - Munsters Theme 
2.  Phono-Comb & Jad Fair - In A Haunted House
3.  Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet - Zombie Compromise 
4.  Mac DeMarco - Very Spooky 
5.  Bloodshot Bill - Monsters Everywhere 
6.  The Viewers - Monsters Rule OK 
7.  Slim Twig - Mansion Haunting
8.  Alex G - Heirloom Piano 
9.  La Luz - Spider House
10. Los Straitjackets - It's Monster Surfing Time 
11. Satan's Pilgrims - Spider Island 
12. Los Straitjackets - Ghoul on a Hill 
13. Los Plantronics - T for Terror
14. Los Straitjackets - The Theme from Young Frankenstein 
15. The Surfmen - Ghost Hop 
16. The Mummies - The House on the Hill 
17. The Moontrekkers - The Bogey Man 
18. The Ventures - Twilight Zone Theme 
19. The Black Flamingos - Are You Afraid of the Dark 
20. The Black Flamingos - Devil's Punchbowl 
21. The Garys - Love Potion
22. The Greasy Gills - Frankenstein's Mug 
23. Snake River - Sister Edith's Dream 
24. Matt Ellis - Monster Under My Bed 
25. Weak Signal - Haunting the Halls
26. John Spencer & The HITmakers - Death Ray Spencer 
27. Charlie Clouser - Hello Zepp 
28. Los Straitjackets feat. Southern Culture on the Skids & the Fleshtones - Que Monstruos Son
29. Los Straitjackets - Halloween Theme 
30. Men in Grey Suits - Clickety Snarl Snarl!
31. Urban Surf Kings - Zombie Road Trip 

To hear this program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and click the October 29 file to download/stream the episode. 

Show 957 Playlist (Originally Aired On October 22nd, 2022)(Sloan, Dry Cleaning, Kid Congo Powers, Al Green, Stevie Wonder, Prince):

1.  Sloan – Scratch the Surface
2.  Dry Cleaning – Gary Ashby
3.  Frankie Cosmos – Aftershook
4.  Iceage – Shake the Feeling
5.  Archers of Loaf – Screaming Undercover
6.  Life Stuff - Dance Into The Sun
7.  Private Lives - Private Lives
8.  King Woobs - Break Time 
9.  Wolfmanhattan Project - Silky Narcotic 
10. Kid Congo Powers and the Near Death Experience - Garbageman (Live in St. Kilda)
11. Jesus Lizard – Whirl 
12. Mission of Burma – That’s How I Escaped My Certain Fate 
13. The Libertines – Vertigo
14. Broken Social Scene – Almost Crimes 
15. Alvvays – After the Earthquake
16. White Lung – Date Night
17. Vapid – Take a Walk, Baby 
18. Defektors – Static Age 
19. Les Shirley – Nothing Compares
20. Al Green - I’m Glad You’re Mine 
21. Stevie Wonder – Maybe Your Baby
22. Prince – Free 
23. Bill Callahan – Drainface
24. Julianna Riolino – You 
25. Cass McCombs – Music is Blue 

To hear this program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and click the October 22 file to download/stream the episode. 

Show 955 Playlist (Originally Aired On October 10th, 2022)(Booker T & the MGs, The Milkshakes, Loretta Lynn, The Bell Peppers):

1.  Titus Andronicus – Dead Meat 
2.  By Divine Right – Smokies and Cannonballs 
3.  The Beths – I Want to Listen 
4.  Zoon – Playground
5.  Aversions – Interview 99
6.  The Volebeats - I Needed Someone
7.  Munks - Long Time Waiting 
8.  49th Parallel - You Do Things
9.  The Milkshakes - For She 
10. The Milkshakes - You’re Asking Too Much 
11. Booker T & the MGs – Mo’ Onions 
12. Booker T & the MGs – Comin’ Home Baby
13. Miles Davis – Black Satin
14. Loretta Lynn - Trouble on the Line
15. Loretta Lynn - A Hundred Proof Heartache
16. Loretta Lynn - I’m Shootin’ For Tomorrow 
17. Loretta Lynn - What Makes Me Tick 
18. Daniel Romano’s Outfit - Impossible Green
19. Al Oster - Way Up Alaska Way
20. Bloodshot Bill - Block Party
21. Alvvays – Very Online Guy 
22. LCD Soundsystem – New Body Rhumba
23. The Bell Peppers - Born To Love
24. The Bell Peppers - Soda Pop
25. Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros - Secret Agent Man
26. The Student Teachers - Christmas Weather 
27. Gloin - Work Patrol 
28. Preoccupations - Fix Bayonets! 

To hear this program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and click the October 10 file to download/stream the episode. 

For those keeping track episode #956 was a repeat of episode 954 (from October 1st). You can find that playlist here.