Velvet Underground: Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison, Maureen Tucker, Doug Yule.
Producers: Andy Warhol, Tom Wilson, The Velvet Underground.
Compilation producer: Andy Levenson.
Includes liner notes by Joseph Laredo.
Liner Note Author: Joseph F. Laredo.
Recording information: 06/1966-05/1969.
Photographers: Billy Name; Lisa Law.
Arranger: The Velvet Underground.
Calling an 11-track CD the best of the Velvets is something of a misnomer--the band was too prolific and creative for that sort of reductivism, and obviously the omission of certain songs (take your pick, fans) is going to rankle somebody. That said, these tracks are by and large intelligently chosen, with representative samplings from all four of the band's musical periods.
There's the Nelson Algren-ish realistic and musically avant-garde approach of their debut "I'm Waiting For the Man," the completely over-the-top metallic assault of "White Light/White Heat," the Byrds-ian delicacy and grace of the third album ("I'm Beginning to See the Light") and the pop songcraft mastery of their endgame. Purists may balk at the inclusion of live versions of "Sweet Jane" and "Rock and Roll" in lieu of the more familiar studio versions from LOADED, but these quibbles aside this is a fine introduction to one of the seminal rock bands of all time.