Coney Island Baby

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Coney Island Baby
Reed Coney.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedJanuary 19, 1976
RecordedOctober 18-28, 1975
StudioMediasound, New York City
GenreRock
Length35:15
LabelRCA Records
ProducerLou Reed, Godfrey Diamond
Steve Katz bonus tracks 2, 4-6
Lou Reed chronology
Metal Machine Music
(1975)
Coney Island Baby
(1976)
Rock and Roll Heart
(1976)

Coney Island Baby is a 1976 solo studio album by Lou Reed, released in January by RCA Records.

Music and lyrics[edit]

The album has been described by Anthony DeCurtis as “perhaps the most romantic album of Reed’s career.” [1] Many of the album's songs were inspired by and dedicated to Reed's girlfriend and muse at the time, a trans woman named Rachel Humphreys.[2] According to Aidan Levy, Coney Island Baby was "as much a love letter to Rachel as it was to the nostalgic Coney Island of the mind."[3] The album's title track directly references Rachel with the line: "I'd like to send this one out to Lou and Rachel, and all the kids at P.S. 192." [4]

The album includes the song "She's My Best Friend", a version of which was originally recorded by Reed's band the Velvet Underground in 1969, and eventually released on the 1985 compilation album VU. The 30th-anniversary re-issue of Coney Island Baby includes bonus tracks featuring Reed's Velvet Underground bandmate Doug Yule.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[5]
Blender2.5/5 stars [8]
Chicago Tribune3/4 stars[6]
Christgau's Record GuideB+[7]
Pitchfork8.5/10[9]

Reviewing for Rolling Stone in 1976, Paul Nelson wrote, "For the eight superb songs on Coney Island Baby, Reed assembled the best band he has performed with since the Velvet Underground. Michael Suchorsky's versatile, controlled drumming is especially praiseworthy, and Reed himself has even managed to rekindle his intense, individualistic guitar playing of the late Sixties. Better yet, he has shelved his recent FM-DJ vocal style in favor of confident, expressive singing. The songs themselves—as structured and melodic as any Reed has written — are timeless, terrific rock & roll, and the strength of the genre is accentuated by the simplicity and logic of crisp, tactile production (by Reed and Godfrey Diamond) and careful, resourceful arrangements which emphasize both electric and acoustic guitars and inventive background vocals."[10]

In Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981), Robert Christgau said, "At first it's gratifying to ascertain that he's trying harder, but very soon that old cheapjack ennui begins to poke through. Oddly, though, most of the cheap stuff is near the surface—the songs sound warmer when you listen close. And not even in his most lyrical moments with the Velvets has he let his soft side show as nakedly as it does on the title cut."[7]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks composed by Lou Reed

Side One

  1. "Crazy Feeling" – 2:56
  2. "Charley's Girl" – 2:36
  3. "She's My Best Friend" – 6:00
  4. "Kicks" – 6:06

Side Two

  1. "A Gift" – 3:47
  2. "Ooohhh Baby" – 3:45
  3. "Nobody's Business" – 3:41
  4. "Coney Island Baby" – 6:36

30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition bonus tracks[edit]

  1. "Nowhere at All" – 3:17 recorded November 18 & 21, 1975 at Mediasound Studios, NYC
  2. "Downtown Dirt" – 4:18 recorded January 3 & 4, 1975 at Electric Lady Studios, NYC
  3. "Leave Me Alone" – 5:35 recorded October 19 & 20, 1975 at Mediasound Studios, NYC
  4. "Crazy Feeling" – 2:39 recorded January 3 & 4, 1975 at Electric Lady Studios, NYC
  5. "She's My Best Friend" – 4:08 recorded January 4, 1975 at Electric Lady Studios, NYC
  6. "Coney Island Baby" – 5:41 recorded January 6, 1975 at Electric Lady Studios, NYC

Personnel[edit]

  • Lou Reed - vocals, rhythm guitar, piano
  • Bob Kulick - lead guitar, slide guitar
  • Bruce Yaw - bass guitar
  • Michael Suchorsky - drums, percussion
  • Joanne Vent, Michael Wendroff, Godfrey Diamond - background vocals
  • Doug Yule - bass guitar on bonus tracks 2, 4-6, guitar on bonus tracks 4-6
  • Bob Meday - drums on bonus tracks 2, 4-6
  • Michael Fonfara - keyboards on bonus tracks 2, 4-6
Technical
  • Geoffrey Diamond, Lou Reed, Michael Wendroff - mixing
  • José Rodriguez - recording
  • Acy Lehman - art direction
  • Mick Rock - photography

References[edit]

  1. ^ DeCurtis, Anthony. Lou Reed: A Life. New York: Little Brown. p. 180. ISBN 978-0-316-37654-9.
  2. ^ DeCurtis, Anthony. Lou Reed: A Life. Little Brown. p. 180. ISBN 978-0-316-37654-9.
  3. ^ Levy, Aidan. Dirty Blvd.: The Life and Music of Lou Reed.Chicago Review Press, 2015
  4. ^ Lou Reed. "Coney Island Baby." Coney Island Baby, RCA, 1976
  5. ^ Deming, Mark. Coney Island Baby at AllMusic
  6. ^ Kot, Greg (January 12, 1992). "Lou Reed's Recordings: 25 Years Of Path-breaking Music". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  7. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: R". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved March 10, 2019 – via robertchristgau.com.
  8. ^ [1] Archived September 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Lou Reed: Coney Island Baby | Album Reviews". Pitchfork. 2006-10-09. Retrieved 2013-12-10.
  10. ^ Nelson, Paul (1976-03-25). "Lou Reed: Coney Island Baby : Music Reviews : Rolling Stone". web.archive.org. Archived from the original on 2009-04-22. Retrieved 3 September 2011. Check date values in: |year= / |date= mismatch (help)