Listen to Lou Reed's Previously Unreleased "Men of Good Fortune" Demo

It's the latest cut from Light in the Attic's archival 'Words & Music, May 1965' release

Photo: Julian Schnabel

BY Allie GregoryPublished Aug 15, 2022

Archival material of the late Lou Reed continues to be unearthed for Light in the Attic's Words & Music, May 1965 (the inaugural instalment of the forthcoming Lou Reed Archive Series) with a previously unreleased demo of "Men of Good Fortune."

Following the unveiling of "Heroin (May 1965 Demo)" and the earliest known recording of "I'm Waiting for the Man," this latest release further previews the first batch from the Archive Series, which is out September 16 and contains songs penned by the young artist, recorded to tape with John Cale, and "mailed to himself as a 'poor man's copyright' — remained sealed in its original envelope and unopened for nearly 50 years," according to press materials.

Here's what archivists Jason Stern and Don Fleming had to say about the "Men of Good Fortune" demo:

"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. 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. 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. 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.

Listen to the previously unreleased demo below.

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