VELVET UNDERGROUND Cleveland 1968-04-28 tape source RESEED

La Cave
28 (?) April 1968

Sweet Sister Ray 38.38

Lou Reed: guitar, vocals
John Cale: keyboards
Sterling Morrison: guitar
Moe Tucker: drums

trade cassette - wavepad - wav - flac (level 8) - you

original recording by Jaime Klimek
transfer to wav by lurid_uk
uploaded to Dime November 2007 by lurid_uk
RESEEDED November 2012 by lurid_uk

Jaime Klimek recorded many of the Velvets' appearences in Cleveland, but this is the only one in common circulation which features John Cale. Reputedly, most of the original tape was inadvertently erased, leaving only "Sweet Sister Ray", "Heroin" and a small segment of "Venus In Furs". "Heroin" subsequently appeared on the "Live 68" bootleg LP in 1983. "Sweet Sister Ray" was finally issued on the double bootleg LP of the same name in the late 1980s, and again much more recently on the similarly titled 2CD set. (The 2CD set sounds as if it was mastered from a mint copy of the vinyl.). Like all of all the Klimek recordings, the exact date is uncertain - it is attributed to 30 April 1968 on the "Live 68" LP but this does not correlate with local press ads (attached) which list a 26th - 28th April residency. I've plumped for 28 April since that is the date given by the most authoritative sources.

I obtained this tape copy a couple of years prior to the vinyl issue, and it contains a few seconds of preamble which seems to have been trimmed off all other circulating versions. Unfortunately, the recording has multiple flaws - signal level variations, drop-outs, several short periods of silence, no real dynamic range etc etc. Apart from cutting out the silent parts and balancing the channels, I've not tried to improve it at all. Overall quality isn't quite as good as the bootleg LP version, although it could possibly be cleaned up a bit with the right tools.

This is the only known recording of this piece, which was commonly used as an opener for "Sister Ray" in the Cale-era - it very frustratingly cuts off just as Lou launches into the first verse of that song. The poor quality of the recording makes it very difficult to discern the lyrics, but it's probable that they were at least partly extemporised on the spot.

Sweet Sister Ray went
where a movie was goin' around
It was the biggest movie
that had ever come to town

Why this is the biggest movie
I ever seen in my whole day
I've never seen a stranger sketch

Why I must be dead because
I never felt this way alive
At least I never felt this well
since nineteen fifty five

Just then Sister Ray felt
a hand upon her knee
"Hey, I'm the crippled orphan
and I come here constantly"

Why this is just like a mental hospital
doors don't have any locks
Just then in came the doctor
and he's givin' us electro shock

Ah, the vaseline on your forehead
makes you feel so nice
My hair stood up on end
and I thought I'd been frozen in ice

Ah, the room is so pretty
purple curtains 'n' all
No one knew that you're crazy
unless you told them

Just then I saw
a hole in the ground
And I jumped right in
'cause there wasn't nobody around

lyrics transcription by Rob M

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