Velvet Underground 1969 Live Liner Notes

Elliott Murphy - original liner notes for the Velvet Underground's 1969 Live

These are my original notes from 1972 for what became the liner notes for the Velvet Underground 1969 Live album. I wrote these notes before I recorded my own first album Aquashow (1973) and in fact, I was still looking for a record deal when this came to pass. A friend of mine knew someone at Mercury Records and so I took the train to New York City and went up to see Paul Nelson who was then head of A&R for Mercury Records. I didn’t know it at the time but Paul was a very important figure on the folk scene: he knew Bob Dylan while at the University of Minnesota and later founded the folk magazine Little Sandy Review. Anyway, Paul and I really hit it off and at the time I was listening to little else besides Loaded the last real Velvet Underground album. Many of the songs on Aquashow were inspired by Lou Reed’s writing and he was my favorite rhythm guitarist. It just so happened that Paul was putting out a live Velvet Underground album on Mercury even though the group had broken up a few years before and he asked me if I would like to write the liner notes. I jumped at the chance and I remember writing most of it on the Long Island RailRoad on my way back to Garden City. When the album came out Lou Reed seemed to be pleased with what I had written and asked Paul how to contact me. Paul mistakenly gave him my mother’s number in New York City and the next time I came to visit her she told me of a very nice phone call she had received from a polite young man Louis Reed. I called him back and we became friends and it was through his influence that I was signed to RCA records a few years later. Live 1969 has stayed in print all these years and I was pleased that my liner notes seem to have survived the journey from Vinyl to CD. And still, every year a few people ask me to sign that record. Of course, it wasn’t my first record but it was the first record my name was on. Not a bad way to begin.