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The Roughnecks

The Roughnecks were one of the studio-only groups that released tracks to which Lou Reed contributed in the mid-’60s, when he was an employee songwriter and session musician in the spending budget/exploitation label Pickwick. From the four Pickwick-era Reed-associated slashes that surfaced around the Velvet Underground rarities bootleg The Velvet Underground Etc., the only real inclusion from the Roughnecks, “You’re Drivin’ Me Insane,” may be the very best. It’s a pleasingly natural, somewhat dissonant garage-rock tune, with an appealingly unruffled vocal by Reed and history whoops and shouts that show that the music artists weren’t acquiring the enterprise extremely seriously whatsoever. And why whenever they have been? As the monitor was originally released within a compilation recording, Soundsville!, which purported to assemble songs by numerous performers — the Hi-Lifes, the J Brothers, the Liberty Males, Jeannie Larimore, Connie Carson, as well as the Seaside Nut products — to illustrate different genres (The Noises of NY, The Noises of Detroit, The Noises of Chicago, The Noises of Hot Fishing rod, The Sounds from the Motorbike, The Noises of Hollywood, The Noises of Nashville, as well as the Sounds from the Campus). The Roughnecks’ “You’re Generating Me Insane” was pegged as the tune representing The Noises of Britain, although as we realize Lou Reed isn’t English.

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