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July 11, 2018

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Three for Lou

November 2, 2013

There's been so much great stuff written about Lou Reed since his passing. I'm not sure what I can add.  But here's my favorite three Lou Reed covers that perhaps you haven't heard before.

1. Go to Blazes, Underneath the Bottle
GTB always had great covers in their repertoire. They even made a sort of "covers" record called "and Other Crimes". It contains stellar versions of songs by Gordon Lightfoot, Gene Clark, Kinky Friedman, Lee Hazelwood and our late friend Bruce Langfeld. A few rockin' originals are thrown in for good measure. But my favorite track is their take on Lou Reed's "Underneath the Bottle". Lou's version on the Blue Mask is powerful but somehow GTB made this song about alcoholism even more visceral. 

 

2. Tommy Keene, Kill Your Sons 
Tommy is my hometown hero (a Bethesda/Rockville, Maryland guy). He cut this Lou Reed song on his debut album for Geffen called "Songs from the Film" produced by Sir George Martin. Yea, that George Martin! Here he is rocking out "Kill Your Sons" at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC. In addition to being a fine songwriter, Tommy is quite the guitar slinger. He brings a wild abandon to this song, one of Lou's most personal and saddest. Lou was given electro-shock as as young man due to his uh, irregular, behavior. Kill Your Sons, indeed. Same thing happened to Townes Van Zandt.

 

3. Howard Tate, How Do You Think It Feels?
Here's one by the late Philly/Camden soul singer Howard Tate. Howard cut some legendary sides with Jerry Ragovoy in the '60s but then disappeared. He struggled with addiction on the streets of Camden, eventually turned his life around and began his own ministry. About ten years before his death, he re-emerged to claim his position as one of the greatest soul singers of all time. His cut of this Lou Reed song from "Berlin" rings so true. Howard knew how it felt. Bonus: Lou plays guitar on the track! 

 

 

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