The Velvet Underground

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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