Never judge a mallet by its punch operator …

If you close the door – the night could last forever
Leave the sunshine out – and say hello to never

(After Hours – Maureen Tucker – Velvet Underground)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘After Hours’ is the closing track from the Velvet Underground’s 3rd (eponymous) album, a sublime mixture of supreme gentleness; “anti-production” was the phrase used by Maureen Tucker. Produced in 1969 (the same year as the double live album), this was the first album to feature Doug Yule (vocal harmonies and bass guitar). John Cale and Lou Reed had had a falling out and Reed presented the rest of the band with a ‘him or me’ ultimatum.

I’ve been looking around for the release history of this album and it seems there must have been several releases. As well as the different mixes (Lou Reed’s so-called “closet” mix and the Val Valentin mix) the album was also released by both MGM and Verve. I bought my (original) copy in England and I seem to remember seeing the MGM logo (although Verve is/was a subsidiary company of MGM so …). The track listing was definitely different, in that it featured ‘Black Angel’s death song’ and (I think) ‘Venus in Furs’ both tracks that featured the electric viola of John Cale (or so I thought). Interestingly, these tracks are the obverse of the quieter all together less frantic style of this album (sans Cale) and I thought at the time that they seemed out-of-sync.

Maureen Tucker is quoted as saying that she hoped the new “calmness” would cause people to “smarten up and give us the recognition we deserve” – obviously she was referring to the commercial success that was still eluding them – sadly, it was never to be. It was also around this time that person or persons unknown stole all the bands equipment but I’m sure the quieter sound is more a reaction to almost ultimate mania of White Light / White Heat (although, unlike most speed come-downs, more romantic than depressing)

The US (Verve) version features the tracks ‘I’m Set Free’, ‘That’s the Story of My Life’ and ‘The Murder Mystery’; none of which I remember. If anyone knows exactly how many of versions of this album there are (they all seem to have had the same cover) I’d be pleased to know.

More Velvet Underground stuff : prequel, parallel, sequel

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