Saturday, 13 February 2010

Say Something - Concepts 1 Songs For Drella

I must admit I've got more than a bit of a soft spot for concept lps. Not the ones about far way galaxies or the lives of goblins, more the ones that tell a story and follow a theme.

Songs for Drella was Lou Reed's and John Cale's "tribute" to Andy Warhol. I'm not sure tribute is the right word perhaps a dedication is better. I first heard the lp when the songs were payed by the pair in a concert that was televised in 1989. The music is very simple , just guitar , keyboards and violin with vocals shared by Reed and Cale. It tells the story of Warhol's life through interpretation of his own thoughts and words (including one piece that has John Cale reading a long extract from Warhol's diaries) and the reaction of Reed and Cale to the events that surrounded Warhol. It focuses as much on his relationships as it does biographical details. The simplicity of the music just makes the story the words tell stand out even more

The lp starts with Andy growing up in and needing to escape from a "Smalltown" , and ends with Lou Reed's message to a the dead Warhol. What it makes it so good is that this is no love fest but recognises the difficulty of the relationships the 3 had with each other. For example the dairy entry chosen that Cale reads includes

"Then I saw Lou, I'm so mad at him, Lou Reed got married and didn't invite me, maybe he was worried I'd bring to many people. I don't get it. he could have at least called I mean he is doing so great why doesn't he call? I saw him at the MTV awards and he was one row away but he didn't even say hello I don't get it. You know I hate Lou I really do he wont even hire us to do his videos and I used to be so proud of him"

An lp of the songs came out the following year in 1990, the birth of which ended with John cale saying he would never work with Reed again. Although a full Velvet Underground reunion did happen a bit later , ending with John Cale repeating his promise - you'd think he'd learn

I've posted 3 tracks

Style in Takes - Andy starts to rise in the art world

I Believe - Lou Reeds reaction to Warhol's shooting

Hello it's me - the final track and Lou reeds message to Andy Warhol

Andy it's me, haven't seen you in a while
I wished I talked to you more when you were alive
I thought you were self-assured when you acted shy
Hello it's me

I really miss you, I really miss your mind
I haven't heard ideas like that in such a long, long time
I loved to watch you draw and watch you paint
But when I saw you last I turned away

When Billy Name was sick and locked up in his room
You asked me for some speed, I though it was for you
I'm sorry that I doubted your good heart
Things always seem to end before they start

Hello it's me, that was a great gallery show
Your cow wallpaper and your floating silver pillows
I wish I paid more attention when they laughed at you
Hello it's me

"Pop goes pop artist," the headline said
"Is shooting a put-on, is Warhol really dead?"
You get less time for stealing a car
I remember thinking as I heard my own record in a bar

They really hated you, now all that's changed
But I have some resentments that can never be unmade
You hit me where it hurt I didn't laugh
Your Diaries are not a worthy epitaph

Oh well now Andy - guess we've got to go
I hope some way somehow you like this little show
I know it's late in coming but it's the only way I know
Hello it's me - goodnight Andy...

Goodbye, Andy

You canbuy Songs for Drella here

1 comment:

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