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Between Thought & Expression
Lou Reed
Between Thought & Expression
Genres: Alternative Rock, Folk, Pop, Rock, Classic Rock, Metal
  •  Track Listings (13) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (17) - Disc #2

It's hard to fault this three-CD collection, since Reed himself was so heavily involved with the project. Yet it presents the same problem posed by "authorized" biographies. Coming after the success of New York, this antho...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Lou Reed
Title: Between Thought & Expression
Members Wishing: 3
Total Copies: 0
Label: RCA
Original Release Date: 4/14/1992
Release Date: 4/14/1992
Album Type: Box set
Genres: Alternative Rock, Folk, Pop, Rock, Classic Rock, Metal
Styles: Hardcore & Punk, Singer-Songwriters, Album-Oriented Rock (AOR)
Number of Discs: 3
SwapaCD Credits: 3
UPC: 078636235622

It's hard to fault this three-CD collection, since Reed himself was so heavily involved with the project. Yet it presents the same problem posed by "authorized" biographies. Coming after the success of New York, this anthology offers the more literary, politically correct side of Uncle Lou, neglecting the "fuckin' faggot junkie" (his self-characterization, from Street Hassle's "Gimme Good Times"--not included here) image he cultivated so effectively early in his immediate post-Velvet Underground years. Yes, he's an amazing rock poet, but he was also a rock & roll animal. There are just too many exclusions here for this to be "definitive." It's not for novices, but completists will have to own this 45-track collection simply for the terrific rarities, including the unreleased "Downtown Dirt," "Nowhere At All" (originally a B-side), a 1978 live "Heroin" featuring jazz great Don Cherry, "Little Sister" (from the Get Crazy soundtrack), and the great, unreleased "America (Star Spangled Banner)." --Bill Holdship

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CD Reviews

Excellent survey of Lou Reed's RCA/Arista recordings
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Lou Reed's solo career is notoriously erratic, and for anyone looking for a good introduction or a good summary, this is your best choice. A three CD set over three hours long, it has almost everything going for it. Everything's been remastered by Bob Ludwig from the original sources (in many cases, much better than other currently available CD's), the extensive liner notes by Rob Bowman is very well-written, incorporating a great deal of input by Lou himself, and the track selection by Lou and Bowman is very good. Every studio Lp recorded from 1972 (Lou's self-titled solo debut) to 1986 (MISTRIAL, his final Lp with RCA) is covered as well as a handful of choice live cuts and rarities. Every important aspect is given equal representation, from tender confessionals ("Think It Over"), raging confessionals ("The Blue Mask," "The Last Shot") political anthems ("Voices Of Freedom"), avant-garde experiments ("The Bells"), and even expert pop ("My Friend George").This is almost everything you'd want from Lou Reed's RCA/Arista output (later Sire/WB albums like NEW YORK and MAGIC AND LOSS are worth owning), but it's not definitive. A few key tracks are missing, at very least, "Perfect Day" from TRANSFORMER, "I Wanna Be Black" from STREET HASSLE which Lou was hesitant to include, "Families" or "All Through The Night" from THE BELLS, a few more tracks from THE BLUE MASK and LEGENDARY HEARTS, and "I Love You Suzanne" from NEW SENSATIONS (his finest pop hit ever).It's a minor complaint, because TRANSFORMER is a popular album, THE BELLS is love-it-or-hate-it (some think it's one of his best, others think it's a career killer), and THE BLUE MASK, LEGENDARY HEARTS, and NEW SENSATIONS are three rock-solid albums, arguably Lou's best run, so anyone who misses those tracks will probably buy the albums.Normally I wouldn't recommend a three-CD box set as a first purchase, but in used condition, this set can be found CHEAP. Look around on ebay, or better yet here (as of this writing, there are THREE complete sets selling here for less than $10). Why pay $12 for one of Lou's subpar single disc collections, or a two-disc "NYC Man" when you can get this set for less? A nice introduction, after this set, check out THE BLUE MASK and NEW YORK, and if you still want more, check out TRANSFORMER, LEGENDARY HEARTS, and NEW SENSATIONS for Lou's more accessible side, and THE BELLS, BERLIN, and MAGIC AND LOSS for Lou's darker, somewhat more experimental side."
The ups and downs of Lou (mostly the ups)
Brian D. Rubendall | Oakton, VA | 08/31/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Lou Reed's recorded catalog is frustrating for the average music buyer. He has plenty of great songs that are buried onto mediocre or ill-conceived albums. Fortunately, "Between Thought and Expression" contains many of his best moments from before the release of 1989's "New York" album. The best part is that it contains six cuts from his best 1970s album "Berlin" and mercifully contains only a short snippet from the atrocious double disc "Metal Machine Music" album that nearly destroyed his career. His biggest hit single "Walk on the Wild Side" is here along with his smokin' extended live version of "Sweet Jane." The only truly regrettable exclusion is "Wild Child" which is one of his best songs. Overall, this is a fine anthology album from one of rock's most eccentric figures."
A Great post-Velvets Summation
S. Finefrock | Raleigh, NC | 03/07/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"One could argue that Lou Reed peaked early in his career. His first band the vaunted Velvet Underground's influence re-wrote rock and roll's codes of values (at some level at least)in their short exsitance of 1966 through 1970. Their four studio albums have defined a style which still has impact today, some thirty years after they broke up. Though Lou's solo career never reached those daunting levels consistantly, this box shows that some of that early magic has continued well into the 80's.Reed's solo career has been filled with numerous peaks (THE BLUE MASK, BERLIN, TRANSFORMER), valleys (METAL MACHINE MUSIC, MISTRIAL, ROCK AND ROLL HEART) and a whole lot of in betweens. This collection contains the highlights from his good albums and rescues a number of great tracks from his lesser works, and has a generous helping of good, quality unreleased and rare tracks to boot. Any VU or Lou Reed fan would be well advised to check this out, especially if there are gaps in your collection. I'm sure that anyone would add and subtract certain selections, as I would, but overall this is of excellent quality."