Sunday, December 10, 2006


NYC--This item has been up on ebay since late-November, and sold in the last two-days. What is it, and what was ebay's cut? It must be huge. The identity of the buyer is unknown, but wouldn't it be funny if it was Lou Reed? He has the dough. The original first-sessions for the first V.U. LP, from 1966. It's an astounding-find, because these are literally the very first studio-recordings, and were rejected by Columbia records at the time. MGM wasn't having it either, so new sessions were scheduled with producer Tom Wilson, who also recorded Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel, and the Mothers of Invention (Freak Out). There are some 1965 recordings available in the V.U. box-set that are rehearsal-tapes, saved by John Cale on reel-to-reel. This acetate is different, it's a studio-mixdown for the group to listen-to for reference. Most of the witnesses to the sessions have said the sound-quality was poor, if unremarkable, so most of the interest here will be in the historical-value.

The Wilson recordings became the stereo and mono versions of the first LP (mono sounds best on the rockers), while the sessions on the acetate vanished. Stories have always been vague about their whereabouts, and one has to wonder if Lou bought them to keep them suppressed. It's unclear what his opinion of them might be, we'll have to have a listen, won't we? The acetate-record was bought in 2002 by a record-collector from Montreal in a 'Manhattan flea market' for 75 cents. Now, if someone can find sound-synched footage of them live from the same period, we'll all be happier! Shame-on-you, Andy, for not filming the Exploding Plastic Inevitable shows, a multi-media extravaganza that can only be remembered now. How someone had this 12" acetate in their possession is a total-mystery.
It's possible they were someone close to Warhol's Factory entourage, and died before 2002, their belongings being sold and disseminated blindly. It's been 40 years, and mortality surely played-a-hand here.

We can expect this acetate to surface as a release, someone will make sure of this. By-all-accounts, the engineering on these sessions was poor, and acetates from this era aren't great for sound-quality. But, the acetate is close to the original-tapes (first-generation), so it could be salvageable. With advanced digital sound-restoration being so good these-days, a team of engineers could make it presentable. It's unclear whether the recordings are mono or stereo. Let the NEW bidding begin! There's another aspect to these historic-recordings: they were produced by Andy Warhol. All are different versions from the final LP. They coulda used the money 40-years-ago, and they probably won't be making much this-time, either. Guitarist Sterling Morrison died in 1995 0f cancer, but there might be a few royalties for the survivors. Easily as influential as the Beatles, it's official. Kraftwerk also shares this distinction. Kiss, however, does not. We can thank God for this.

The AP story: