Lou Reed - See That My Grave Is Kept Clean

There's one kind of favor that I ask of you.

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Comment by Jim Hunter on October 30, 2013 at 12:08pm

I don't recommend listening to it...it will clear the room pretty quick.   Rumor has it that the Metallica collaboration is good...but I have been wary of it also.

Comment by Paul Wilner on October 30, 2013 at 9:22am

Yes, Jim, I can't say I've listened to it closely so maybe it's a masterpiece, but Metal Machine Music strikes me as Reed's Self Portrait (now back in vogue, so I guess you never know). I haven't heard the Metallica collaboration either, since I have a constitutional aversion to anything involving Lars Ulrich, but sounds dubious to me, too. But there were all those other great tunes along the way, which more than make up for any lapses...

Comment by Jim Hunter on October 30, 2013 at 7:12am

I appreciate your willingness to spell correctly Paul...I hate when I make a typo too, I am not sure why, most people don't care anymore.  Thanks for the Youtube.   Robert Palmer (the writer in this case, not the singer) was a good one...and Lester Bangs, who had his moments with Lou as well...Christgau's epitaph piece pretty much confirms your conclusion that he wanted to be Lou...he clearly loved him as an artist, even though he didn't always write positive reviews about certain records...he recounts how psyched he was when Lou signed with Sire Records, and it was at the Sire's signing celebration that the infamous moment where Lou refused to shake Christgau's hand occurred...for what it is worth, RC seems to remember it fondly...Gary's comment that Lou never compromised his art is probably true, although I still think his middle finger to everyone was Metal Machine Music.  There is a place in the Eagles' documentary where Joe Walsh (referring to trying to make a followup record to Hotel California) says "And the record company didn't care if we burped or farted...they would put that out".  Metal Machine Music is proof of that...RCA did actually put it out, Lou was an intimidating guy...Lou claimed that there were allusions in it to Beethoven, and that he had tried to have it released as a classical record on the RCA Red Seal label...I always thought he was just pulling everyone's leg, giving everyone, fans included, the middle digit...by all accounts, he actually performed it once though, re-arranged and augmented by strings, woodwinds and piano...there was a book back in the late 80's or early 90's that ranked it as the second worst Rock and Roll Record of all time...he probably was proud of that...

Comment by Paul Wilner on October 29, 2013 at 9:06pm

excuse me (copyeditor alert) that shudda been Christgau not Christagu...Sweet Lou in full, Lenny Bruce flight here...

Comment by Paul Wilner on October 29, 2013 at 9:05pm

I think Christagu wanted to be Lou when he grew up. Not so reluctant respect from one crusty soul to another...though I liked the tale of Reed refusing to shake the self-avowed Dean of Rock N' Roll critic's  hand in disgust. "Mr. Reed''  - I love the digs against the Times former "rock/boogie/ballet critic'' John Rockwell better...he came to CBGB's with an armed guard.  Thank god Bob Palmer was there to actually keep the faith, along with other unapproved substances..



Comment by Gary E. Hamm on October 29, 2013 at 9:00pm

Lou Reed never compromised for his art.  From Metal Machine Music to Songs for Drella to Berlin to Lulu the man had a vision that was unencumbered by critics or even his fans.  Lou is and will always be considered an artist of integrity.  What else is there?

Comment by Jim Hunter on October 29, 2013 at 1:25pm

Yes...the critic Robert Christgau had a nice piece on Lou today, which maybe is a surprise considering Lou had publicly savaged him on stage on several occasions...he would probably not take all this glad handing too well...he was a grumpy old dude...and as you noted a grumpy young dude too...a New York guy all the way...

Comment by Paul Wilner on October 29, 2013 at 11:06am

He managed to play the blues without condescending to the blues, if that makes sense. It makes me smile to think of the sardonic responses Lou might have had (particularly the younger Lou) to some of the (well-deserved) encomiums he is receiving this week. 

Comment by Jim Hunter on October 29, 2013 at 10:25am

A great artist, and a perfect song in tribute...thanks Paul.

Comment by Amelia Blarney on October 29, 2013 at 5:44am

This song was written by Blind Lemon Jefferson.   Condensed From Wikipedia: "Blind" Lemon Jefferson (Lemon Henry Jefferson; September 24, 1893 – December 19, 1929) was an American blues singer and guitarist from Texas. He was one of the most popular blues singers of the 1920s, and has been titled "Father of the Texas Blues".[3]  Jefferson's singing and self-accompaniment were distinctive as a result of his high-pitched voice and originality on the guitar [3] Although his recordings sold well, he was not so influential on some younger blues singers of his generation, who could not imitate him as they could other commercially successful artists.[4] Later blues and rock and roll musicians attempted to imitate both his songs and his musical style.[3]   In 1927, Jefferson recorded another of his now classic songs, the haunting "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean" (using the pseudonym Deacon L. J. Bates) along with two other uncharacteristically spiritual songs, "He Arose from the Dead" and "Where Shall I Be". Of the three, "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean" was so successful that it was re-recorded and re-released in 1928.  Jefferson died in Chicago at 10:00 am on December 19, 1929, of what his death certificate called "probably acute myocarditis".[2] For many years, apocryphal rumors circulated that a jealous lover had poisoned his coffee, but a more likely scenario is that he died of a heart attack after becoming disoriented during a snowstorm.  More recently, the book, Tolbert's Texas, claimed that he was killed while being robbed of a large royalty payment by a guide escorting him to Union Station to catch a train home to Texas. Paramount Records paid for the return of his body to Texas by train, accompanied by pianist William Ezell.  Jefferson was buried at Wortham Negro Cemetery (later Wortham Black Cemetery). Far from his grave being kept clean, it was unmarked until 1967, when a Texas Historical Marker was erected in the general area of his plot, the precise location being unknown. By 1996, the cemetery and marker were in poor condition, but a new granite headstone was erected in 1997. In 2007, the cemetery's name was changed to Blind Lemon Memorial Cemetery and his gravesite is kept clean by a cemetery committee in Wortham, Texas

 From Find a Grave to see monument:  http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=pv&GRid=6142078&a...


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Created by No Depression Feb 17, 2009 at 9:06pm. Last updated by No Depression Sep 24, 2012.