Lou Reed's Raw, Essential New York   Gets Rhino Deluxe Reissue Treatment

Lou Reed's Sire Records debut New York first released in 1989 gets the deluxe Rhino treatment in a new box set scheduled for September 25th release. The original was a gold record-selling, Grammy nominated album with the memorable "Dirty Boulevard" a #1 hit on the Modern Rock charts.

The box includes a "newly remastered" version of the original album on double 180g "audiophile vinyl" as well as 3 CDs and a DVD along with a 12X12 hardcover book written by David Fricke. The extras include 26 unreleased studio and live recordings of album tracks from the Loud Reed Archive as well as the DVD-debut of "The New York Album", a long out-of-print concert video recorded during the New York tour previously available only on VHS and laserdisc.

The press release says "the second disc" presents unreleased live versions of every album track, compiled from multiple performances, but none are from the DVD to avoid duplication. It's not clear if the "second disc" refers to the second 180g LP, with the original LP again on a single LP, with the second LP containing the live album versions or what? We will update this page as we press Rhino for details. Laurie Anderson, Don Fleming, Bill Inglot and the late Hal Willner produced the reissue, which offers hope for good sound. Audio will also be available through digital and streaming services. If you order directly from Rhino.com you'll receive free a cassette version of the album.

New York is a standout in the Reed catalog both musically and sonically. Bob Ludwig mastered the original LP DMM when he was still at Masterdisk and the sound is outstanding. No surprise since Lou Reed was a confirmed audio enthusiast who owned Wilson Audio Specialties loudspeakers and paid particular attention to the sound of his recorded and live performances. I saw Reed perform at Carnegie Hall as part of the 2004 JVC Jazz Festival. Reed and his sound people produced a perfect blend of the amplified instruments and the hall acoustics to produce the best rock show sound I've ever heard in that hall. The performance was equally memorable.

Who was in charge of mastering this box set, what were the sources used to cut lacquers and by whom as well as where it was pressed was not addressed in the press release. I'm getting sick and fucking tired (pardon my cursing, though I figure Lou would approve) of getting these kinds of press releases touting "audiophile vinyl" with no information whatsoever about sources, mastering engineer and pressing plant to help us decide whether or not we want to purchase. I can tell you that the original 1989 LP sounded superb. Can it be bettered? Perhaps but as I've often written, I'm loathe to ever bet against Bob Ludwig's mastering from a fresh tape (assuming it was from tape). I'll ask Bob!

Roffe's picture

...appears to be the second CD as the vinyl is a 2xLP 45rpm of the original album. Would be nice if that was made available separately, but probably not going to happen...

Michael Fremer's picture
Where did you see or read that?
Roffe's picture

I just followed your link to rhino.com and in the track listing tab I found this:

180g/ Vinyl Tracklist:

Side A
1. "Romeo Had Juliette" (3:09)
2. "Halloween Parade" (3:33)
3. "Dirty Blvd." (3:29)
4. "Endless Cycle" (4:01)
Side B
1. "There Is No Time" (3:45)
2. "Last Great American Whale" (3:42)
3. "Beginning of a Great Adventure" (4:57)
Side C
1. "Busload of Faith" (4:50)
2. "Sick of You" (3:25)
3. "Hold On" (3:24)
4. "Good Evening Mr. Waldheim" (4:35)
Side D
1. "Xmas in February" (2:55)
2. "Strawman" (5:54)
3. "Dime Store Mystery" (5:01)

Roffe's picture

Actually, looking at the length of each song here it may very well be a 2x33.

isaacrivera's picture

The 1989 pressings are 1 LP.

cement_head's picture

More than likely it was remastered here: https://masterdisk.com/blog/2018/1/2/remembering-lou-reed

bvanpelt's picture

I can confirm that it is two 33 1/3 180 gram records. I have the original record and I think this one is better. Lou's voice is freaky present - I listened to Halloween Parade just staring at his imaginary voice on my back wall; by the time I came to, the song was over. I would love to see a review of this.

JayTrez's picture

Do you have any plans to review New York? A favorite, though I'm almost exclusively interested in the vinyl. So I am hesitant to purchase the bundle unless the sound is excellent.

cement_head's picture

Yes! I second just being able to but the 2xLP version. Remember, they did part out the box set of vinyl into individual records after a few months.

kairos's picture

I'm with you, Michael, across the board. What exactly is "audiophile vinyl" when you don't define or describe it? It's just marketing.

Meanwhile, original pressings aren't hard to find and they are not expensive. Mine copy sounds amazing. (As does most/all of Lou's catalog.) I suppose there's something to be said for the new disc. But if you're after the best sound, pick up an original pressing.

robert r dawson's picture

I purchased New York on CD when it came out and to this day is the only Lou album that I do not have on vinyl. I will be looking for an original at once. On another note, it's good to see you get fired up MF. Let all those frustrations out...good for the soul.

Glotz's picture

Bought the day it came out and I will love the additional material. Given their recent Stooges and Replacements releases, I am sure Rhino won't skimp, but I do agree- Today's vinyl labels really need to be transparent to the source and their process. Audiophiles buy a fuck-ton of vinyl and this is 2020, where expectations of information delivery on any product are high.

I would like to have a double 45 of this, and I'm sure Michael will find out if this is subterfuge or legit.

jamesp's picture

1. Ludwig mastered the US vinyl using DMM. If you are not a fan of DMM, try an import copy that has both sides lacquered and mastered by Alsdorf: https://www.discogs.com/Lou-Reed-New-York/release/12465041 . To my ears, the Alsdorf pressings/mastering sounds better than the Ludwig DMM. As this is a long album, it will probably benefit from being spread over two discs at 45 RMP, if done right.

2. The performance of New York, that will be on the DVD, is most excellent. Bass is played by Rob Wasserman, Michael Rathke is on second guitar and Robert Medici is on drums. Ludwig mastered this originally for the VHS.

Tom L's picture

I saw Lou play in April of 1989 at the American Theater in St. Louis, a smaller venue with great sound. It was stunning. And the band! Rob Wasserman and Michael Rathke just knocked it out of the park, with Lou's underrated guitar playing setting the tone. I even got in free-the record store I managed sold a lot of copies of New York by playing it in the store. This is an essential purchase.

StonedBeatles1's picture

Not viewing the VHS in years, I'm very much looking forward to the DVD. I wouldn't say it's the most exciting of Lou's tours but the album's another fav of mine now. With the follow up albums' VHS having Jimmy Scott singing backup, I'm now optimistic of a reissue of that as well.

In retrospect, I unintentionally insulted Mike Rathke after seeing the show in Philly with him asking me how I liked the show, saying I miss Quine (how freaking ignorant of me). Never one to keep my thoughts to myself, to this day I owe that guy an honest and sincere apology. Afterwards, Lou shot the shit with me for a while (apparently catching him on a friendly night) with him offering me a a promo photo and signing it. Ah memories.

Call me a snob, jaded or old but very little music compares to what was..

Mijostyn's picture

I have the original disc and I will have to get this one but since you are at it Michael I am getting sick and fucking tired (no apologies) of Rhino releasing "audiophile 180 gm vinyl" that was pressed in a garbage can. Can somebody tell these people that 180 gms does you no good if there is saw dust in the PVC!!!
Glad I got that off my chest. Now please give Berlin the same treatment but have Quality do the pressing.

haidasounds's picture

This album was one of the most influential for me over the decades and I still listen to it regularly. Turned me into a big Lou fan too. I have the original US and Germany pressings and I just pre-ordered this one. But I totally agree that it would be great to see some detail on the source, master and pressing. Same goes for Songs for Drella, another masterpiece, which Rhino is releasing this year for RSD. Also, very curious to hear from RL on the recording, was is analog or digital?

isaacrivera's picture

I love this album. It was the first Lou Reed I heard knowingly a friend owned the CD and we took long road trips listening to it. I have it on an original pressing LP if memory is correct, it sounds as good as the CD. I have always suspected that it was a 16/44.1 recording. There are some songs were the sound gets saturated and distorts and is quite hard to listen to, but otherwise it is a decent enough sounding LP that I play a couple of times a year because I love the music. If this deluxe edition was better sounding I would definitely get it, otherwise I do not need the extra stuff.

I saw Lou in person a couple of decades ago when attending a Robert Wilson's Time Rocker performace at the BAM, which he had composed the music to, and was performed live by a band in the pit. It was the first week of the performance and Lou was definitely overseeing it. The sound matched the magic of Wilson's visuals. It was a memorable event.

Grx8's picture

Being Rhino I would guess a Bellman mastering, probably pressed at Optimal?

mitchell.feldstein@gmail.com's picture

THis album ( as are most if not all albums by lou) is near and dear to my heart. First for the mindblowing production when i first heard it. Second it was the last new vinyl record i bought for many years as CD's were going into focus as this album was released. I still have my vinyl copy as well as a CD. will i buy the deluxe version. not quite sure yet. not a big fan of 180 gram vinyl and i am guessing it will all be on spotify anyhow. right now i am 50/50 on whether or not to buy it.