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Album Review: Lou Reed - Take No Prisoners - Live

 

Just your typical 1970s Lou Reed night out

I know what you're thinking, that Holder guy and his reviews of old records again. But hear me out; this is a great album. 

Recorded at the Bottom Line and released in 1978, the double-album captures Reed at his sarcastic, shit-talking best, talking to the crowd, the band, roadies, even himself at times. Rather than sing "Walk On The Wild Side," which Reed admits is a song he's become bored with, he tells the story of how the song came to be written, shedding light on the Warhol Superstars mentioned throughout. 

"Coney Island Baby" has always been one of my favorite songs. The studio version of the song showed Reed at his subtle best. The Take No Prisoners version is anything but subtle, with wailing saxophone, sultry background vocals, and a thundering chorus transforms the piece from a song to an experience. 

Take No Prisoners is an intense, honest, even funny album. It captures Reed at an interesting time, after his initial success as the Godfather of Punk and before his foray into pop ("New Sensations") and late 80s masterpieces ("New York" and "Magic and Loss"). The music itself is a mix of cabaret and punk, do wop and soul. It is a truly unique album in terms of delivering a concert experience, while the concert in question is as much comedy stand up in the Lenny Bruce style as it is a performance of songs from an artist's catalog. 

Rough, gritty, hilarious, Take No Prisoners is a brilliant capture of an artist in his time, having a good time. 

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