Nils Lofgren’s upcoming album, Blue With Lou, will include six songs co-written with the late Lou Reed, including five that never have been released before. The album, which also features six songs Lofgren wrote on his own, comes out April 26 in single CD and double vinyl configurations on Lofgren’s Cattle Track Road Records label.
Rolling Stone premiered one of the songs, “Attitude City,” here.
The E Street Band guitarist co-produced the album with his wife, Amy, and recorded the songs at his home studio in Arizona with support from drummer Andy Newmark and bassist Kevin McCormick. Saxophonist Branford Marsalis performs on the Reed-Lofgren song “City Lights,” previously released on Reed’s 1979 album, The Bells. Singer Cindy Mizelle, who has toured with the E Street Band, also performs on the album.
Reed — who died in 2013, at the age of 71 — and Lofgren actually co-wrote three songs for The Bells, and three for Lofgren’s 1979 album Nils. But they wrote 13 songs together, overall, at that time. Lofgren has recorded two, “Damaged Goods” and “Driftin’ Man,” for other albums, over the years. And the other five are finally coming out now.
Lofgren explained in the Rolling Stone article that about 40 years ago, producer Bob Ezrin had suggested that the two write together, and that he had sent Reed a tape with 13 works-in-progress.
“I kind of forgot about the idea,” Lofgren said in a press release. “About a month after that, I was sound asleep, the phone rang at 4:30 in the morning, and I answered it in the dark. ‘Hey, Nils, it’s Lou Reed.’ That woke me up.
“He said, ‘I’ve been listening to the tape you sent, and I love it. I’ve been up for three days and nights straight. I haven’t slept. I’ve been working on your tape. I’ve completed 13 sets of lyrics that I love.’ And I’m like, ‘You’ve gotta be kidding me.’ Then he said, ‘If you wanna get a pad and pencil, I’ll dictate them to you.’ We spent two more hours on the phone. You can imagine my excitement.”
Among the other tracks on the album will be “Dear Heartbreaker,” a tribute to the late Tom Petty.
Lofgren performs at City Winery in New York, May 19-20. Visit citywinery.com/newyork.
For more on Lofgren and the album, visit nilslofgren.com.