Some time ago I placed an order for some under the radar spiritual jazz and reggae tapes with the folks at Loathed Sound, and they were offering a "Mystery Tape" sale. Naturally I took the bait (it's a tape, and I'm generally easy anyway), but submitted one comment with the order: "I don't like Lou Reed." Now, that was probably a little more extreme than my actual opinion, it's just that I don't really have an opinion about Mr. Reed and couldn't see myself enjoying Loathed Sound's 21 track collection of his pre-VELVETS recordings. My order arrived with a SUN RA tape as the mystery item (thanks) and a short note in the package: "Listen To Lou." So the next time I dove into their (continually) impressive catalog of not-really-authorized reissues and long forgotten recording sessions, I took their advice and threw $5 into the mix for a copy of Smart Too Late: The Music Of A Young Lou Reed....and here it is. Do I love it....? Nah. But several of the tracks pique my interest - you get THE JADES, THE ALL NIGHT WORKERS, DOWNLINERS SECT, THE PRIMITIVES and way more California surf that I was expecting (THE BEACH-NUTS were a particularly good surprise). Three versions of "Why Don't You Smile Now" are included, the hopeful "Leave Her For Me," the drunken warble of "God Bless The Child" - there's more than enough to hold interest, and that's why we explore. So thanks...I did "Listen To Lou" and it was a pretty good time.