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Lou Reed’s previously unreleased 1965 demo of ‘Men of Good Fortune’ is here

Light in the Attic are back with a previously unreleased 1965 demo of “Men of Good Fortune” from Lou Reed.

The demo comes from the forthcoming Words & Music, May 1965, out September 16th. Archivists Jason Stern and Don Fleming believe that the song is inspired by a traditional English and Scottish Child Ballad that inspired a lot of folk-rockers of the ’60s.

“‘Men of Good Fortune’ has every trademark of one of the traditional Child Ballads from England and Scotland dating back for centuries and passed on from person to person,” Stern and Fleming say. “They had rarely been documented in print but were finally compiled in Francis James Child’s landmark book, The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, published between 1882 and 1898.”

Listen to “Men of Good Fortune” below


More on “Men of Good Fortune”:

“The Child Ballads were a great source of inspiration for folk artists in the early 1960s, with Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, and Fairport Convention borrowing heavily from the book,” the archivists continue. “Child Ballad #2, ‘The Elfin Knight,’ through a series of other singers, informed Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘Scarborough Fair’ and Bob Dylan’s ‘Girl from the North Country.’ Child Ballad #2 and many others include a ‘maiden’ or ‘maid,’ as Reed portrays himself in the song. It’s notable how the words to this version of ‘Men of Good Fortune’ could seemingly fit right in as a variant of a Child Ballad, but it doesn’t appear to borrow lines from the book or other songs, traditional or popular. Reed sings and plays the song alone.”

While “Men of Good Fortune” is the same title as a song on Lou Reed’s 1973 record, Berlin, it’s not the same track at all.

More on Words & Music, May 1965:

The record is set for release on August 26th as part of a partnership between Light In The Attic and Reed’s partner Laurie Anderson. Words & Music, May 1965 will feature never-before-heard material and early versions of some of his greatest hits. Reed wrote all of the songs on the record, which were recorded to tape by future Velvet Underground bandmate John Cale. He then mailed the tape to himself, calling it a “poor man’s copyright,” and the tape stayed sealed in its original envelope for almost 50 years.

In addition to the “Men of Good Fortune” demo, Words & Music, May 1965 features the previously released “Heroin” and “I’m Waiting For The Man.”

Check out the full tracklist for the double LP and CD deluxe editions of Words & Music, May 1965 below or pre-order the album here.

Words & Music, May 1965 Deluxe Edition Tracklist:

01 – “I’m Waiting For The Man (May 1965 Demo)”
02 – “Men Of Good Fortune (May 1965 Demo)”
03 – “Heroin (May 1965 Demo)”
04 – “Too Late (May 1965 Demo)”
05 – “Buttercup Song (May 1965 Demo)”
06 – “Walk Alone (May 1965 Demo)”
07 – “Buzz Buzz Buzz (May 1965 Demo)”
08 – “Pale Blue Eyes (May 1965 Demo)”
09 – “Stockpile (May 1965 Demo)”
10 – “Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams (May 1965 Demo)”
11 – “I’m Waiting For The Man (May 1965 Alternate Version)”

Bonus 7-inch:

01 – “Gee Whiz (1958 Rehearsal)’
02 – “Baby, Let Me Follow You Down (1963/4 Home Recording)”
03 – “Michael, Row The Boat Ashore (1963/4 Home Recording)”
04 – “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right (Partial) (1963/4 Home Recording)”
05 – “W & X, Y, Z Blues (1963/4 Home Recording)”
06 – “Lou’s 12-Bar Instrumental (1963/4 Home Recording)”

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