The Velvet Underground

Live at Max's Kansas City (Reissue) (Rhino)

There's no disputing the historical importance of Live at Max's Kansas City. Recorded in 1970 and released two years later, it was a serendipitous document of what wound up being the Velvet Underground's last show with Lou Reed. The album, though, has always undeniably sounded like shit. Captured on a clunky mono tape recorder, Max's serves as a pretty pathetic epitaph for one of rock's most righteous, revered and ripped-off bands. This double-disc reissue, though, is an impressive overhaul: Six previously unheard tracks from the same performance have been tacked on -- including an artery-eroding rendition of "White Light/White Heat" and a fun, sloppy, mumbling run through "Who Loves the Sun" -- and all the amp buzz and background din of the original has been significantly dampened. Plus, the package comes with a fat booklet of stunning photos as well as interviews with bandmembers and various eyewitnesses to the legendary gig. Finally, Max's has been elevated from a dry, dusty chapter in the rock-history book to a record that you might actually want to pull out and listen to every once in a while.
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