Joseph Arthur was one of the few people who saw Lou Reed's tender side. They were friends. Knowing that Reed was an electric—and often electrifying—performer, Arthur consciously chose to go in the opposite direction here and record Reed’s songs without electric instruments. Instead he used piano, acoustic guitar, vocals, and these remarkable songs—which had already been so definitively recorded and known for years. Yet when Arthur takes the quiet road here, the songs have room to breathe on their own. Already an established artist with many albums to his credit, Arthur never attempts to imitate Reed or do too much. He bravely offers up such iconic Reed songs as “Walk on the Wild Side,” “Stephanie Says,” “Heroin,” “Satellite of Love,” “Dirty Blvd.,” “Pale Blue Eyes," and “Coney Island Baby.” Each succeeds in its own way, often with Arthur bringing beauty to the melody and compassion to the words. He also brings deserved notice to lesser-known tunes such as “Sword of Damocles,” “NYC Man," and “Magic and Loss,” in which Reed had paid tribute to friends—Doc Pomus and a woman named Rita—who’d died when he was writing the album of the same name in 1991.

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