Velvet Underground, “Sweet Jane [Early Version]” (2014) : One Track Mind

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There’s a surprisingly sweetness to this, as the Velvet Underground quite obviously try to work out the dark contours of “Sweet Jane.” We hear Lou Reed feeling his way on this early version, part of a forthcoming 45th anniversary reissue of 1969’s The Velvet Underground.

By the time he settles into a later deleted heavenly-wine-and-roses bridge, this more considered, deeply charming live take — made a year before “Sweet Jane” arrived as part of the 1970 follow up Loaded — has distinguished itself like only the best bonus material can.

You hear this classic track as never before, without its now-familiar street-tough attitude, to say nothing of its insouciant gait. It’s almost like a love song, though that’s probably too much to ask from the iconoclastic Velvet Underground, here or anywhere else.

This take – featuring a different mix from that featured on the later-released 1969: The Velvet Underground Live project — is part of a veritable avalanche of bonus material to be included in the super-deluxe version of The Velvet Underground, due November 24, 2014 via Polydor.

Included are both stereo and mono versions of the original 1969 studio album, live recordings from an appearance at San Francisco’s Matrix in 1969 and previously unreleased 1969 sessions. Of particular note is an unreleased blues-rock gem called “I Can’t Stand It” that ultimately wouldn’t appear on vinyl until Reed made his solo debut in 1972.

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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