Tuesday, February 26, 2013

street hassle

Lou Reed courted controversy and claimed his punk rock street cred with the loose gutter glam and dark poetic decadence of this artsy aggressive pièce de résistance.  Reed teamed up with producer Richard Robinson (who had produced his eponymous solo debut) to record 'Street Hassle' using the Binaural process that uses two microphones positioned to simulate the way the human ear receives sound.   Manfred Schunke and Heiner Friesz engineered the sessions at the Record Plant in New York City.  Several of the songs were recorded live in Germany.   The album involved Lou Reed on guitar, bass, piano, and vocals; Stuart Heinrich on guitar and background vocal; Michael Fonfara on piano; Marty Fogel on amplified saxophone; Steve Friedman on lead bass and background vocal; Jeffrey Ross on lead guitar and vocals on live recorded tracks; Michael Suchorsky on drums; Aram Schefrin on string arrangement; Jo'Anna Kameron, Angela Howard, Christine Wiltshire & Genya Raven on background vocals; with spoken word by Bruce Springsteen.  

'Street Hassle' only charted at eighty-nine in the US and twenty in France; but its ragged glory was a validation for the godfather of punk:    "'Street Hassle' is the best album I've done.  'Coney Island Baby' was a good one, but I was under seige.  'Berlin' was 'Berlin', 'Rock and Roll Heart' is good compared to a lot of the shit that's going around.  As opposed to 'Street Hassle', they're all babies.  If you wanna make adult rock records, you gotta take care of all the people along the way.  And it's not child's play.  You're talking about managers, accountants, you're talking about the lowest level of human beings.  'Street Hassle' is me on the line.  And I'm talking to them one to one."


"Street Hassle" – 10:53
A. "Waltzing Matilda" - 3:20
B. "Street Hassle" - 3:31
C. "Slipaway" - 4:02

"I was playing with this thing called Binaural sound and I just had this long lyric and it seemed to divide itself up into three sections.  So I was trying to put together three sections and then figure out how to go from section one to section two to section three.  And there was this string part.  The arranger was a great guy who said 'You could probably do it better than anybody because you know this whole thing.' And I said, 'Yeah, but I can't write it out.'  And he said, 'You don't have to.  All you have to do is hum it or sing it.'   So I did.  And then it was easy.  I just took the string part apart and took the cellist or something who was playing a certain line and used that to go to the another part.  And that solved the problem.  It was all just a mix.  Then you could go from part one to part two to part three...Bruce Springsteen was mixing in the studio below us, and I thought 'How fortuitious'.  People expect me to badmouth him because he's from New Jersey; but I think he's really fabulous.  He did the part so well that I had to bury him in the mix.  I knew Bruce would do the recitation seriously because he really is of the street, you know."

Waltzing Matilda whipped out her wallet
The sexy boy smiled in dismay
She took out four twenties 'cause she liked round figures
Everybody's queen for a day
Oh, babe, I'm on fire and you know how I admire your-
-body why don't we slip away
Although I'm sure you're certain, its a rarity me flirtin'
Sha-la-la-la, this way

Oh, sha-la-la-la-la, sha-la-la-la-la
Hey, baby, come on, lets slip away

Luscious and gorgeous, oh what a humpin' muscle
Call out the national guard
She creamed in her jeans as he picked up her knees
From off of the Formica topped bar
And cascading slowly, he lifted her wholly
And boldly out of this world
And despite people's derision
Proved to be more than diversion
Sha-la-la-la, later on

And then sha-la-la-la-la, he entered her slowly
And showed her where he was coming from
And then sha-la-la-la-la, he made love to her gently
It was like she'd never ever come
And then sha-la-la-la-la, sha-la-la-la-la
When the sun rose and he made to leave
You know, sha-la-la-la-la, sha-la-la-la-la
Neither one regretted a thing


(Slip away, Oooooh)

Hey, that cunt's not breathing
I think she's had too much
Of something or other, hey, man, you know what I mean?
I don't mean to scare you
But you're the one who came here
And you're the one who's gotta take her when you leave
I'm not being smart
Or trying to be cold on my part
And I'm not gonna wear my heart on my sleeve
But you know people get all emotional
And sometimes, man, they just don't act rational you know
They think they're just on TV

Sha-la-la-la, man
Why don't you just slip her away

You know, I'm glad that we met man
It really was nice talking
And I really wish that there was a little more time to speak
But you know it could be a hassle
Trying to explain this all to a police officer
About how it was that your old lady got herself stiffed
And it's not like we could help
But there wasn't nothing no one could do
And if there was, man, you know I would have been the first
But when someone turns that blue
Well, it's a universal truth
And you just know that bitch will never fuck again
By the way, that's really some bad shit
That you came to our place with
But you ought to be more careful around the little girls
It's either the best or it's the worst
And since I don't have to choose
I guess I won't and I know this ain't no way to treat a guest
But why don't you grab your old lady by the feet
And just lay her out in the darkest street
And by morning, she's just another hit and run
You know, some people got no choice
And they can never find a voice
To talk with that they can even call their own
So the first thing that they see
That allows them the right to be
Why they follow it, you know, it's called bad luck

Well hey, man, that's just a lie
It's a lie she tells her friends
'Cause the real song, the real song
Where she won't even admit to herself
The beatin' in her heart
It's a song lots of people know
It's a painful song
A little sad truth
But life's full of sad songs
A penny for a wish
But wishin' won't make you a soldier
With a pretty kiss for a pretty face
Can't have its way
Y'know tramps like us, we were born to pay

Love has gone away
And there's no one here now
And there's nothing left to say
But, oh, how I miss him, baby
Oh, baby, come on and slip away
Come on, baby, why don't you slip away

Love is gone away
Took the rings off my fingers
And there's nothing left to say
But, oh how, oh how I need him, baby
Come on, baby, I need you, baby
Oh, please don't slip away
I need your loving so bad, babe
Please don't slip away

"I Wanna Be Black" – 2:55

"Gimmie Some Good Times" parodies 'Sweet Jane'.   

"Dirt" makes a joke of the criticisms that had been directed at Reed. 

'Street Hassle' 
full album:

All songs written by Lou Reed.

Side One:
"Gimmie Some Good Times" – 3:15
"Dirt" – 4:43
"Street Hassle" – 10:53
A. "Waltzing Matilda" - 3:20
B. "Street Hassle" - 3:31
C. "Slipaway" - 4:02
Side Two:
"I Wanna Be Black" – 2:55
"Real Good Time Together" – 3:21
"Shooting Star" – 3:11
"Leave Me Alone" – 4:44
"Wait" – 3:13

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