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Take No Prisoners (Live)

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Album Review

"I do Lou Reed better than anybody, so I thought I'd get in on it," Reed says at one point during this double live set, and that seems to sum up the album's theme quite well. Recorded during a week of shows at New York's Bottom Line in 1978, Live: Take No Prisoners presents Lou Reed the Standup Comic, doing schtick on Patti Smith ("F*ck Radio Ethiopia, man! I'm Radio Brooklyn!"), political activism ("Give me an issue, I'll give you a tissue, and you can wipe my ass with it"), and the agony of playing "Walk on the Wild Side" ("It's not that I don't want to play your favorites, but there are so many favorites to choose from!") while occasionally pausing to play a song. As a comic, Lou is no Lenny Bruce or Bill Hicks, but he's funny by fits and starts (and he plays guitar better than either of them). On the odd moments when Lou is focused enough to actually perform a song from start to finish (such as "Pale Blue Eyes" or "Coney Island Baby"), he's in fine form, sounding loose but enthusiastic, but those moments don't happen especially often, and this album plows through a mere ten songs in close to 100 minutes, which gives you an idea of just how far he stretches out here. If you're a fan who wants a look into the mind of Lou Reed, comic or otherwise, Live: Take No Prisoners certainly fills the bill, but if you want to hear Lou actually play his music, you're better off with Rock N Roll Animal or Live in Italy. But then again, as Lou himself points out, "What's wrong with cheap dirty jokes? I never said I was tasteful."

Customer Reviews

Buy The Album!

This has one of the best live versions of Sweet Jane out there. Lou's irreverent and spontaneous commentary in between verses is priceless. Years ago I spent hours combing the record store of St. Marks Place in NYC trying to find this album. Vintage Lou!

Great Live Album

While acerbic commentary is provided by Lou Reed throughout, there is not as much as this album's reputation would lead you to believe.Triumphant and aggresive versions of tender songs are what the focus of this set should be. Walk on the Wild Side is the only song where Lou does stand-up comedy for the entire 17 minutes. It is amusing to hear an artist so burned out by his most famous song that he deconstructs how mundane it is during a performance of the very song,this moment may have been the birth of postmodern rock criticism.The majority of the songs on this album are like the end of a love affair; where one reads the love letters one final time before you set them on fire.

Lou talks too much!

I've been a huge Lou Reed fan since when I was in high school. All 4 of the Velvet Undergound albums are considered to be my favorite albums ever and I always believe, as any other Reed fans argue, Lou Reed's solo career was hugely underated somewhat. However, once thing that I am not satsfied musically with Lou Reed is definitely his live skill. I've been to his live shows twice and thought he talked too much. I bought 2 the velvet live albums and 3 solo live albums including this one and thought wow Lou Reed should stop talking. Someone can argue it's just his style, but most of his words are not as humorous as Ray Davies' or as inspirational as Neil Young's but often dull and random. Now that his drug days are over, though the age matters much in performing, I wish Lou will make his live album masterpiece pretty soon.


Born: March 2, 1942 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The career of Lou Reed defied capsule summarization. Like David Bowie (whom Reed directly inspired in many ways), he made over his image many times, mutating from theatrical glam rocker to strung-out junkie to avant-garde noiseman to straight rock & roller to your average guy. Few would deny Reed's immense importance and considerable achievements. As has often been written, he expanded the vocabulary of rock & roll lyrics into the previously forbidden territory of kinky sex, drug use (and abuse),...
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