Lou Reed 1971 Dunbar Acetate?

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hkmartin
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Lou Reed 1971 Dunbar Acetate?

Post by hkmartin » 07 Oct 2021 21:04

I saw something up on eBay yesterday (for 10,000 Pounds!) that is new to me and I can't find any past discussion of here. I'm not sure we're supposed to post links to live eBay auctions, but it's easy to find. Here is the hype from the auction:
The Lou Reed acetate came directly from a London-based collector/dealer, who was assigned the terrifying task of cataloguing, sorting, and ultimately selling a collection of records that came from EMI's in-house publishing company Ardmore & Beechwood. Clearly, Dunbar, Lou's USA publishing house at the time, sent along the album acetate to EMI, hoping to garner a record label or UK publishing deal. This would be late 1970 early 1971, just before Lou signed a publishing deal with RCA. The provenance is impeccable.
Most, if not all the tracks, are live and rough mixes completely different from all studio album releases. I believe all tracks have not been published previously. Even though the label states a 'Lou Reed Sampler' all tracks are clearly played by the disintegrating VU with Doug Yule replacing John Cale. Three of the tracks are from the debut VU & Nico album and one track is from White Light, so it is possible that Cale is on them, but the rest of the tracks are from Loaded and the self-titled album.
An astonishing, undocumented, and unreleased acetate LP, produced in late 1970, early 1971. The Velvet Underground and Lou Reed here performing 12 original Velvet Underground tracks. This release was produced by Lou Reed’s publishing company Dunbar Music, attempting to gain Reed a new record deal, post The Velvet Underground. This Acetate came from Dunbar Music, the publishing company who published all of The Velvet Underground and early solo Lou Reed-written tracks, and was created around the time the Velvet Underground disbanded, and Lou was looking for a new record deal. (Reed was later to sign to RCA records, retaining Dunbar Music to cover publishing rights.) Because Lou had not yet recorded any solo material at this stage, all of the tracks on this double-sided acetate LP are effectively by the disintegrating Velvet Underground. The showcase promo acetate includes many unreleased live tracks, including wonderful live versions of “Femme Fatale” (with introduction by Lou Reed himself) and “I'm Waiting For The Man”.
I couldn't find much information about this on the net, but I did find Youtube videos with very short clips from most of the songs. It's a little hard to tell from the short, lo-fi clips, but to these ears, this doesn't sound like anything new. These sound like the known studio versions or Max's live versions. Possibly slightly different mixes - hard to tell.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35NWj9aa8z4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQUgMVUWAqA

If this really was something Lou was using to get a solo deal, seems strange that he picked two songs Yule sang.

Anyone know anything more about this?

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iaredatsun
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Re: Lou Reed 1971 Dunbar Acetate?

Post by iaredatsun » 07 Oct 2021 22:41

£10,000 for otherwise available recordings of VU songs. Who would pay that? A very minor VU-related artefact, I would say.
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hkmartin
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Re: Lou Reed 1971 Dunbar Acetate?

Post by hkmartin » 07 Oct 2021 23:01

iaredatsun wrote:
07 Oct 2021 22:41
£10,000 for otherwise available recordings of VU songs. Who would pay that?
I don't think anyone will, but, if the hype is all you have to go on, this sounds a lot more special than it really is.
The Youtubes I found were from a different auction of the same acetate.
Most, if not all the tracks, are live and rough mixes completely different from all studio album releases. I believe all tracks have not been published previously.
The showcase promo acetate includes many unreleased live tracks, including wonderful live versions of “Femme Fatale” (with introduction by Lou Reed himself) and “I'm Waiting For The Man”.

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iaredatsun
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Re: Lou Reed 1971 Dunbar Acetate?

Post by iaredatsun » 08 Oct 2021 06:14

I don’t know, but most of the snippets seemed to be taken from the albums. A couple of new live recordings of familiar songs performed in the 1969/70 era are really going to be overshadowed by the Matrix Tapes these days. I’m afraid that I can’t see this acetate making any great waves. I may be wrong of course.

Nevertheless thank-you for finding and posting this. It’s still an interesting object given the background story of its genesis.
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hkmartin
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Re: Lou Reed 1971 Dunbar Acetate?

Post by hkmartin » 08 Oct 2021 06:39

iaredatsun wrote:
08 Oct 2021 06:14
A couple of new live recordings of familiar songs performed in the 1969/70 era are really going to be overshadowed by the Matrix Tapes these days.
The funny thing is that I believe these are not "new live recordings" at all, despite being billed as such. I think these cuts are from Live at Max's. There's no sample of Femme Fatale for whatever reason, but the description of the intro by Lou fits. The other two live cuts (Waiting and Mirror), I'm pretty sure, are from the Max's album. I guess they were "unreleased" when this acetate was pressed, but not unreleased now by any means.

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simonm
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Re: Lou Reed 1971 Dunbar Acetate?

Post by simonm » 08 Oct 2021 11:56

I think this acetate might be have been made by the publisher to shop the songs around UK artists, to try to get cover versions recorded - this is what Dylan's publisher did with with some of the Basement Tapes songs. These are released recordings rather than unreleased demos, but Lou + the VU were not well known at the time...

hkmartin
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Re: Lou Reed 1971 Dunbar Acetate?

Post by hkmartin » 08 Oct 2021 18:55

simonm wrote:
08 Oct 2021 11:56
I think this acetate might be have been made by the publisher to shop the songs around UK artists, to try to get cover versions recorded
This actually makes a lot more sense to me. If the purpose of the acetate were to get Lou a solo deal, why would he include two songs sung by Yule, who was still in the Velvet Underground at the time?

I'd say the choice of using the Max's version of Waiting, Mirror and (probably) Femme Fatale was questionable, though.

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