Sister Ray – The Shop – The Song… NGS paint the sign of the times

Sister Ray – The NEW Shop – The Song – NGS brings you this great icon

Mainly from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


  • Poma Celeste T.

    “This record shop is great, they are well-laid out and the staff are helpful, not snobby, and quick.” in 6 reviews

  • Ben Y.

    “Sister Ray, however, has an extremely wide range of genres and an enormous selection.” in 7 reviews

THE NEW SHOP bang opposite the old one :)

… across the street at:

75 Berwick Street, Soho London W1F 8RP


Starting from a humble London market stall Sister Ray has grown into one of the UK’s most recognised and respected record stores. This eBay Shop is designed to bring the Sister Ray experience to customers across the world. We’ll be adding new products every day. Please stay a while and browse. S.R.

Time Out says

Posted: Thu Dec 2 2010

Previously Selectadisc, Sister Ray remains a mecca for Berwick Street’s beat obsessives on their lunchbreaks with its flatscreen TV, cutomer turntables and turquoise walls – not to mention hugely broad stock. Much of the music is on vinyl (over 20,000 plates and counting) and the Sister Ray’s dedication to back-cataloguing genres like drum’n’bass, gothic and industrial, hip hop (with UK talent well represented) and rock albums puts most megastores to shame.

Sister Ray Soho Tobi on it
Sister Ray Soho our super NGS lead artist Tobi right on it
Sister Ray Soho done – NGS signwriters
Sister Ray Soho done - NGS signwriters


“Sister Ray”
Song by The Velvet Underground from the album White Light/White Heat
Released January 30, 1968
Recorded September 1967, Scepter Studios,New York CityNew York
Genre Protopunkexperimental rock,avant-garde
Length 17:29
Label Verve Records
Writer Lou Reed
Composer Lou Reed, John CaleSterling MorrisonMaureen Tucker
Producer Tom Wilson
White Light/White Heat track listing
  1. White Light/White Heat
  2. The Gift
  3. Lady Godiva’s Operation
  4. Here She Comes Now
  5. I Heard Her Call My Name
  6. “Sister Ray”

Sister Ray” is a song by The Velvet Underground that closes side two of their 1968 avant-garde rock album White Light/White Heat. The song’s lyrics were written by Lou Reed, with music composed by John CaleSterling MorrisonMaureen Tucker and Reed. The song concerns drug use, violence, homosexuality and transvestism. Reed said of the lyrics: “‘Sister Ray’ was done as a joke—no, not as a joke—but it has eight characters in it and this guy gets killed and nobody does anything. It was built around this story that I wrote about this scene of total debauchery and decay. I like to think of ‘Sister Ray’ as a transvestite smack dealer. The situation is a bunch of drag queens taking some sailors home with them, shooting up on smack and having this orgy when the police appear.”[1]

Studio version


“Sister Ray” was recorded in one take. The band agreed to accept whatever faults occurred during recording, resulting in over seventeen minutes of highly improvisational material. The song was recorded with Lou Reed providing lead vocals and guitar, Sterling Morrison on guitar and Maureen Tucker on drums while John Cale plays an organ that was routed through a distorted guitar amplifier. Secondary guitarist Sterling Morrison remarked that he was amazed at the volume of Cale’s organ during the recording and had switched the guitar pickup on his Fender Stratocaster from the bridge position to the neck position to get “more oomph”. Also notable about the song is that it features no bass guitarJohn Cale, who usually played bass or viola, was playing his organ on the take. The band had a sponsorship from Vox amplifiers, resulting in use of top-of-the-line amps and distortion pedals to create a very distorted and noisy sound. After the opening sequence, which is a modally flavored I-bVII-IV G-F-C chord progression, much of the song is led by Cale and Reed exchanging percussive chords and noise for over ten minutes, similar to avant-jazz. The recording engineer is famously rumored to have walked out while recording the song. Lou Reed recalled: “The engineer said, ‘I don’t have to listen to this. I’ll put it in Record, and then I’m leaving. When you’re done, come get me.'”[2] Reed called the song “Sister Ray” in acknowledgment to Ray Davies of the British band, The Kinks.[3]

Performance lineup[edit]

Live versions

“Sister Ray” was a concert favorite of the band, who regularly closed their set with the song. The studio recording of the song was recorded in one single take that lasts over seventeen minutes, while live versions were known to last as much as half an hour or more. The triple live album Bootleg Series Volume 1: The Quine Tapes, released in 2001, features three live performances of “Sister Ray” from 1969, with approximate running times of 24, 38 and 29 minutes. The band also had an intro entitled “Sweet Sister Ray” that they would perform occasionally. On the single known recording of this intro (recorded during the April 30, 1968 show, and without the complete subsequent performance of “Sister Ray”), “Sweet Sister Ray” alone lasts for over thirty-eight minutes.[4]

Cover versions

  • Joy DivisionNew OrderSuicideThe Badgeman and The Sisters of Mercy have done covers of the track. A Joy Division cover played live on April 3, 1980 appears on the 1981 compilation Still, and a New Order cover played live at Glastonbury 1987 was released in 1992 on the album BBC Radio 1 Live in Concert.
  • Jonathan Richman plays a portion of “Sister Ray” on his song “Velvet Underground.” Indeed, it has been argued that Richman’s “Roadrunner” is, considering its distorted organ solo (provided by producer John Cale) and chordal similarities, largely a reworking of “Sister Ray” in musical terms, although Richman’s positive and life-affirming lyrics about the joys of driving around suburban Boston are in marked contrast to Reed’s detached saga of “debauchery and decay”.[5][6]
  • British power-punk band Buzzcocks formed as a result of a classified ad placed by founding member Howard Devoto seeking musicians to collaborate on a version of “Sister Ray”.


  1. Jump up^ “The Stranger interview with Lou Reed”.
  2. Jump up^ American Masters: Lou Reed: Rock & Roll Heart documentary
  3. Jump up^ Tom Robinson Radio Show, BBC 6 Music 22/5/07
  4. Jump up^
  5. Jump up^ Laura Barton, The Guardian, 20 July 2007, “The car, the radio, the night – and rock’s most thrilling song”
  6. Jump up^ William Crain, ‘”The Modern Lovers: Despite All the Amputations”, 2002

NGS Signpainters of London

Published by nickgarrett

Artist Signman Teacher

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