SWEET LOU AT HIS LATE 70's BEST
Linda C. Nakhleh | Minneapolis, MN | 09/12/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you've never listened to Lou Reed before, this mightn't be where you want to start. The uninitiated would do better to pick up "Transformer," "Rock And Roll Animal," or "New York." However, if you are already a bona-fide Lou Reed fan looking to get a new, totally fresh perspective on the man, you are ready for "Street Hassle." I'd also apply the same caveat to "Take No Prisoners," his live album from this era: not for first-time listeners, but if you're ready for the real HEART of Lou Reed, it's all here.
"Gimme Some Good Times" starts proceedings in fine fashion, with Lou's quavering, overdubbed vocals casting a gritty pallor over a ultimately catchy tune. "Dirt," is my opinion, was better served in it's earlier form as "Downtown Dirt" from the Coney Island Baby sessions (available on the "Between Thought And Expression" box set) but this version is a fascinating evolution of the original idea and features some VERY far-out and great playing by the band.
"Street Hassle" is the unqualified masterpiece of the disc. Several other reviewers have nailed the essence of the song, if you haven't heard it, just listen. Definitely one of the top highlights in a career full of them. I could go on all day about it but the other reviewer's comment have summed it up nicely.
"I Wanna Be Black" is a fun, bouncy number, although I prefer the "Take No Prisoners" version. "Real Good Time Together" is a sonic head-trip that melds studio and live performance to great effect.
In my opinion, however, the hidden classic on "Street Hassle" is the next song, "Shooting Star." The band crashs and plods wildly all over the place as Lou lays down one of his catchiest tunes ever. Lou's chorus and the sax riff that hold the song together provide BIG hooks, the song might've had a chance on the radio had it not be such an experimental, noisy, improvised performance. It rocks as hard as anything Lou's ever done, and it's a must-hear.
"Leave Me Alone" is another song that I feel he did better on "TNP" but perhaps I just haven't opened up to this version yet. The last song, "Wait" seemed to me a throwaway number when I first heard the album years ago. Now it's one of my favorite tracks on the album...some great singing by the girls and one Lou's funniest, heartfelt vocals ever. I love when he says "I know propriety is such a WASTE!" He ends the album in true punk fashion, pleading "Babe I really wish that you would wait...I really think you oughta wait..." The band is all over the place again, but listen hard, and you'll hear there's some great hooks in this song...they just need to be drawn out. The horn playing of Marty Fogel and bass of "Moose" Boles particularly stand out.
All in all..."Street Hassle" is definitely 5-star, a must-have for any Lou Reed fan. There's a reason they call this his "Godfather Of Punk" album...without giving an inch or kowtowing a bit to the scene that had taken his beloved NYC by storm, he sticks to his guns and beats the punks at their own game."
Simply a classic
Dean T. Sinclair | Louisiana | 11/07/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"That this album isn't more widely available is a shame, and maybe even a crime. I remember having this on vinyl years ago, and putting it on a turntable and hearing it explode out of my speakers. The effect is the same lo these many years later. I was leery buying this import, thought it might be a tad expensive for me, but it was worth every cent. I ordered it through Amazon, came in a timely fashion, and I'm glad I did. If you're a fan, you have to have this in your collection. And I wouldn't delay, since this may well disappear forever."