More Great 2016 Reissues and Finds: David Fricke's Picks

Expanded classics, unearthed obscurities and other historical gems

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Lou Reed – The Complete RCA and Arista Album Collection
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Lou Reed – The Complete RCA and Arista Album Collection

For two months in the summer of 2013, Reed sat in a New York studio attending to the remastering of his Seventies and early Eighties solo catalog. It was his last creative work, completed before his death that October. That is one reason to revisit these 16 albums; you hear them the way Reed believed they should stand after he was gone. Here are some others: his 1972 debut, Lou Reed, immediately eclipsed by its rapid follow-up, Transformer, but loaded with unreleased songs from his last two years with the Velvet Underground; The Bells from 1979, a chart disaster that initially sounded like an R&B pastiche gone awry ("Stupid Man," "Disco Mystic") but turned dark, personal and uncompromising at the end; and the shotgun effect of the confessional force and stoic jangle on 1982's The Blue Mask and overlooked '83 sequel Legendary Hearts. "I do Lou Reed better than anybody," the legend crows on the 1978 live brawl Take No Prisoners. This is how he did it – one last time.

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