Alex Chilton S&D

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Alex Chilton, former singer of Big Star and the Box Tops. What about his solo career? What is there to retain, what is there to throw away (a lot I guess). In Germany he used to be a favourite of the critics 10 to 15 years ago. That was when Morrissey was their other darling!

alex in mainhattan, Wednesday, 18 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I really like High Priest, but I may be alone on that one...anyone know whether it's ever come out on CD? Otherwise, the 19 Years compilation on Rhino may be the best bet, because Chilton tends to be a bit spotty. Still, best solo Chilton is Third/Sister Lovers, even though it came under the Big Star name.

Sean Carruthers, Wednesday, 18 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

"Bangkok" & his version of the Seeds "Can't Seem to Make You Mine" - circa '77 singles - on a lot of compilations...those're fantastic...the "messy" period (late '70s) is the shit man.

duane, Wednesday, 18 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

(specific album titles if you want them - "Like Flies on Sherbet", "Dusted in Memphis", "Bach's Bottom". All his albs've got decent stuff tho')

duane, Wednesday, 18 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

(also a band he's only a peripheral member of - but worth mentioning 'cause they're great - Tav Falco's Panther Burns - like a super-ramshackle blues-rockabilly deal - prototypes of the Gories/Doll Rods/etc)

duane, Wednesday, 18 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

1970 is GRATE. The three solo accousitc tracks on Big Star Live are gut wrenchingly beautiful.

JM, Wednesday, 18 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Unless you're talking about Big Star or Box Tops stuff, destroy it all... here's a man who shot his load early on, and has consistently failed to produce anything listenable since. His records are released because of his pedigree, but it all sucks.

andy, Wednesday, 18 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

He recently had a pretty good covers album, if a bit dull. I like his badly produced 70s stuff, like Bangcock.

Mike Hanle y, Wednesday, 18 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

"Loose Shoes and Tight Pussy" = smashing album name, okay album. 19 years = almost good enough. No Sex EP and Feudalist Tarts EP = more essential than just trax in 19 yrs. Man Called Destruction = just OK. Flies On Sherbert period + live recording of such is groovy. Bangkok = one of the greatest garage songs ever. Lost My Job = similarly essential. No Sex = the most essential. "C'mon baby, fuck me and die!"

Sterling Clover, Wednesday, 18 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I like 'Hey Little Child' on Live in London. 'Bangkok', too. And the version of 'Sugar Sugar' on 1970. I saw him play at McCabe's several years ago, and he was pretty entertaining. The other day, I relistened to an interview I recorded off the radio near the time of the concert - this was when Cliches was released, which I don't have - cos I remembered he said some stuff about songwriting and singing as separate crafts. Well, it just seemed like he wanted to record stuff without having to come up with original songs. But cos he thinks songwriting is really important. He said he'd only come up with a few worthwhile songs in his career, among them 'September Gurls' and 'In the Street'. I love the combination of being laid back about things, but also idealistic and ambitious.

youn, Thursday, 19 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

And "Thirteen". Don't forget "Thirteen".

Sterling Clover, Thursday, 19 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

i still haven't got "1970" but i know some of those songs & they're champ. - & another stray track I dunno what it's off, his version of "I Will Always Love You" live on some radio show in the '70s - acoustic gtr, shaky & clumsy 'cause he "took his last 30 mgs of valium before coming here to the studio tonight" (approx. paraphrase of mid-song monologue) - it sounds dumm i know , "oh he's so WASTED man, cool" but it's really affecting. He realises he's fumbling the chords really badly & making a dick of himself so he sips into self-parody there - this monologue - then he comes back strong for another chorus - even sloppy stoned- drunk-whatever his voice is such a wonder. I *heart* LX!

duane, Thursday, 19 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Ned wrote the (positive) review of Chilton's 19 Years on . I like when Ned and I agree on something - it doesn't happen nearly enough, considering what a fine, knowledgeable, over-opinionated fellow he is. I think we'd probably agree more on pre-80s stuff, before the goth mistake happened. I do find his tendency to call for the assassination of my favorite performers rather disturbing, though.

Patrick, Thursday, 19 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I started this thread as I am about to buy Live in London (great album have got it already on vinyl) and Like Flies on Sherbert on one CD. My favourite besides Big Star's Third (all-time classic of depression) is Cubist Blues from 1996 which Chilton recorded with Alan Vega from Suicide and Ben Vaughn. An amazing session, slightly improvisational with Vega's low voice mumbling and a very stripped down sound. A little bit like Tom Waits in his best time, e.g. Bone Machine but much cooler.

alex in mainhattan, Thursday, 19 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

All meant in the insanely over-the-top intentionally foolish way it is, those assassination attempts. I think it would be more accurate to say that practicing Orwell-like unperson approaches would be more my speed, though. "Springsteen? Never heard of him. Albums, you say? Huh." ;-) But I do thank you for the kind words re: 19 Years and all -- goth's no mistake, it's just sometimes mistaken. ;-)

Ned Raggett, Friday, 20 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

one year passes...
i think that like flies on sherbert is excellent for a goofy, sloppy drug addled studio record... there is a great tale around memphis of one of the guitar solos being performed with a young lady in his lap.

there is little to be gleaned from the live in london set aside from a mere curio stance.

search: the big star boot entitle Beale Street Green which features some great "Lost-Era" Alex doing some very rad demos:
"she might look my way"
"windows hotel"
"can't seem to make you mine" (seeds)
"shaking the world"
"all the time"

but then the greatest song ever written:

"tennis bum"... as alex mentions it's like wooly bully, all strat reverb and the goofiest lyrics you've never heard. i am in love with the lost era chilton voice, it's perfect.

classic classic classic.

gygax!, Tuesday, 19 November 2002 01:19 (sixteen years ago) link

The song Alex Chilton by the Replacements = Classic.

Just had to point that out.

David Allen, Tuesday, 19 November 2002 01:22 (sixteen years ago) link

I can't remember what album it's from, but the song "Free Again" is fantastic. A classic three-chord charmer, also covered (I think?) by Teenage Fanclub, back when they were inexplicably garnering so many Big Star comparisons.

Shakey Mo Collier, Tuesday, 19 November 2002 01:32 (sixteen years ago) link

Not mentioned yet, this Ep I got a while ago "Black List", it's mostly really good despite coming from 1989 and has my favourite solo proper Chilton song "Guatanamerika" and as usual a bunch of weird covers, which are good too, esp. "Little GTO" and "I Will Turn Your Money Green".

Andrew Thames (Andrew Thames), Tuesday, 19 November 2002 02:36 (sixteen years ago) link

Alex Chilton puts on a swanky live show. The time I saw him, he was great.

earlnash, Tuesday, 19 November 2002 03:59 (sixteen years ago) link

i think the very first post i ever made here on ILM was about "flies on sherbert". i love it. and "1970" too, especially that version of 'jumpin jack flash'

Fritz Wollner (Fritz), Tuesday, 19 November 2002 16:39 (sixteen years ago) link

three weeks pass...
So. Here we are. Does he still tour?

Nordicskillz (Nordicskillz), Monday, 16 December 2002 19:40 (sixteen years ago) link

Yes, both as a solo act and with Big Star.

hstencil, Monday, 16 December 2002 19:45 (sixteen years ago) link

Really? He/They never come to the UK. Just like Tom Waits, Devo, X, Screamin Jay (RIP), Jay Z...

Nordicskillz (Nordicskillz), Monday, 16 December 2002 20:20 (sixteen years ago) link

four months pass...
I've only just bought the Chris Bell album! It makes me want to listen to Like Flies On Sherbert.

Nordicskillz (Nordicskillz), Friday, 9 May 2003 12:19 (sixteen years ago) link

"Flies on Sherbert" is a great record--lots of power-poppers hate it, because they "fuck up" the songs...I believe the dumb-ass person who wrote the review for All Music Guide hates it, which should tell you right there that it's a good record. I mean, how much can you "fuck up" "Boogie Shoes" and why on earth would you want to "respect" it? The version that came out in 2000 is the best reissue I've heard of "Sherbert"--I copped an original Peabody LP of it a few years back.
"19 Years" contains most of his good stuff from that 19 years. "Dalai Lama" is missing, though, and it's one of his best songs, I think. "No Sex" is another highlight from the '80s.
His version of Willie Tee's "Thank You John" is some of his best singing ever--the production leaves a bit to be desired. He does for real fuck up the Slim Harpo tunes, though.
"Black List" is nice, he references the Charlie Rich version of "Nice and Easy" (compare the guitar parts), and "Guantanamerika" is among his best songs post-Big Star.
"A Man Called Destruction" is his best single record since "Sherbert" and of course much more "listenable." "Don't Stop" is great as a sort of homage to the New York sound of 1977 (Richard Lloyd goes thru therapy and comes out relaxed), and his take on Dan Pearson's "What's Your Sign Girl" is awesome. Doug Garrison, his drummer, is fantastic on this and other songs.
"Loose Shoes and Tight Pussy"/"Set" sucks, I find it, except for the nice version of the Brenton Wood song, almost completely unlistenable--his voice is terrible (try listening to "Single Again").
"Live in London" has its moments but it's not too hot and the version of "September Gurls" is horrible. I've seen AC play live many times and not once has he ever done a decent version of "September Gurls."
"High Priest" is about half-good. As with all his '80s work, the production leaves much to be desired. And as I say, "Destruction" is his single best effort post-drunkenness because it's the best produced, someone at Ardent actually took the time to make it sound good.
The demos collected on "Dusted in Memphis" are generally quite good, esp. "She Might Look My Way." There's a bootleg called "Beale Street Green" that collects "Dusted" and some other stuff, including a pretty instrumental outtake from the first Big Star album, I believe. The cover of "Beale Street Green" is a photo by Eggleston--of Nashville, not Memphis, and you gotta wonder when the bootlegger-liner-note "writer" can't even spell Eggleston's name right...
I dislike "Cubist Blues" but did see that trio in NYC in 1996, decent enough if you can tolerate Alan Vega. "One Day in NYC" contains a couple of nice live tracks. "Bach's Bottom" is the stupid Jon Tiven attempt to remake AC in the dubious image of Mr. Tiven himself, but I enjoy Chilton's obvious relish in sabatoging the whole thing, and the endless take on "Take Me Home" is fun, as is the "version" of "I'm So Tired." Tiven re-recorded that stuff, apparently; the other thing, besides the fact that Tiven was involved, that's wrong with that 1975 material is that AC doesn't play guitar on it.
I saw the Panther Burns live a couple times with Chilton. Tav Falco as a guy who found some great Cordell Jackon tunes, is great--as a performer he's worthless, and I sold my copy of "Behind the Magnolia Curtain" years ago, as it's a piece of shit.

Of course the third Big Star record is an Alex Chlton solo album and it's one of the greatest LPs ever made, in my opinion, greater even than "Radio City."

So I would say get "19 Years," "Sherbert" and "Destruction" and you'd have it. Alex has been treading the same water for years now, though--I've seen him be brilliant live and I've seen him just go thru the motions. Some experimental genie seems to ruin many of his efforts, which I guess is kind of a good thing, since how many performers even try anything new, ever? As a commentator on pop-music history, he's been intermittently great--there's something very second-hand about his passion, which doesn't mean I disregard what's real about his passion. Very strange guy, but I rate him very high as a guitarist, despite the fact that he's among the most mannered of all rock guitarists.

Jess Hill (jesshill), Friday, 9 May 2003 13:56 (sixteen years ago) link

I saw him play last Friday night after a Big Star show with some friends (a couple could have been ex-Box Toppers). They did covers of Stax and early Rock'n'roll standards and not much else. It was kind of off-the-cuff and loungy, for lack of a better adjective. Highlight of the evening: a cover of "Desafinado" (sp??) with Alex playing the Stan Getz part all slinky on the guitar. Low point: the band half-heartedly busting into "Don't Lie to Me" (or was it "In the Street," I was DRUNK) while Alex was packing up his stuff to leave.

Will (will), Friday, 9 May 2003 13:57 (sixteen years ago) link

Sabotage, not sabatage...

"1970" is decent, I always liked "Just to See You" and "All I Really Want is Money," both of which circulated for yrs on tapes...I never liked "Free Again" at all. What they do to "Sugar Sugar" is nice. It's good juvenalia, I guess.

The Big Star reunion CD is all right--they left off the best thing about that show in Missouri, though: AC leading his backup band thru the very demanding changes of Gene Chandler's "Duke of Earl" as an encore.

Will, it is "Desafinado."

Jess Hill (jesshill), Friday, 9 May 2003 14:10 (sixteen years ago) link

two years pass...
I love 1970 sooo much.

Stormy Davis (diamond), Friday, 5 August 2005 05:56 (fourteen years ago) link

"The Smile Song" is so beautifully sweet and trippy.

Stormy Davis (diamond), Friday, 5 August 2005 05:57 (fourteen years ago) link

Like Flies on Sherbet is outstanding. The rest of his solo stuff is not so hot.

polyphonic (polyphonic), Friday, 5 August 2005 09:45 (fourteen years ago) link

"Sherbert" is great. You got to have the two Rs in that one, because that's the way it's spelled in the south. "Man Called Destruction" is the other really consistently good one. Most of his solo stuff that is unreleased or fairly hard-to-get (like the Elektra/Ardent demos on the boot "Dusted in Memphis" and the live CBGB material on "One Day in New York") is good too. The Jon Tiven album "Bach's Bottom" is good fun, nice to hear how he hijacked it out from under Tiven. "Guantanamerika" from "Black List" is a good song.

edd s hurt (ddduncan), Friday, 5 August 2005 13:02 (fourteen years ago) link

three years pass...

skin as soft as buttermilk

paper plans (tipsy mothra), Friday, 13 February 2009 06:41 (ten years ago) link

one month passes...

guys which of his solo albums/compilations are worth checking out? i'm going through a big star phase and i'd like to explore chilton solo too. i know it's depressing stuff, i'm down for that

k3vin k., Friday, 10 April 2009 21:23 (ten years ago) link

solo chilton isn't that depressing really -- it's fun! definitely start with like flies on sherbert

tylerw, Friday, 10 April 2009 21:25 (ten years ago) link

omg that french tv clip

This Board is a Prison on Planet Bullshit (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 10 April 2009 21:26 (ten years ago) link

The album called 1970 rocks balls and isn't depressing at all; the cover of "Jumpin' Jack Flash" tops the Stones' original (acc. to me)

Euler, Friday, 10 April 2009 21:38 (ten years ago) link

Search: the 1987 CD version of High Priest on Big Time, which includes the Feudalist Tarts EP and the "No Sex"/"Underclass" single.

...but is apparently rare as hell, because I can't find any copies for sale anywhere.

WmC, Friday, 10 April 2009 22:03 (ten years ago) link

Wow, this edition is apparently really rare. I wonder what I could get for it.

WmC, Friday, 10 April 2009 23:21 (ten years ago) link

yeah, 1970 is good, he's trying out different things like country rock, funk, almost bubblegum-y ballads

velko, Friday, 10 April 2009 23:25 (ten years ago) link

five months pass...

fuck the "Jumpin' Jack Flash" on 1970 is tight. The drum sound in particular is amazing, as you'd expect from a Terry Manning production, as is the bass. And Chilton's lead guitar mines the song's implicit funk, brings it forth. The vocal is good and hoarse too but the rhythm section sells this one.

Euler, Saturday, 3 October 2009 14:58 (nine years ago) link

one year passes...

kinda cool
Ray Davies , whose new album See My Friends contains special contributions from artists like Billy Corgan and Bruce Springsteen, recently talked about working with Alex Chilton. The Big Star icon died earlier this year, but he recorded “Till the End of the Day” with Ray Davies before he became sick.

Speaking to ClashMusic, Ray Davies elaborates on the collaboration: “Way back in 2004 I was in New Orleans, recovering from an injury, and I was befriended by a neighbor called Alex Chilton. Alex had been in a band called Big Star, and had sung on a record called ‘The Letter’ by The Box Tops. We didn’t talk about music much, but he did say to me before I came back to England, ‘You know, I’ve recorded one of your songs, ‘Till the End of the Day’, with Big Star, and I’d love to do another song with you. And he asked me to write some songs for him – I felt really flattered, because by then I had found out about his history. A very unassuming guy.”

Then, in 2009, Chilton and Davies did indeed get together to record. Davies recalls: “In 2009, on July 4th, Independence Day, he came up to Konk Studios. He was a real character – he was wearing a New Orleans beret, he had a cigarette holder, he was a chain smoker, and I think a recovering drinker – and he said, ‘Let’s do it!’ I said, ‘What would you like to do?’ He said, ‘Till the End of the Day’ and ‘Set Me Free.’ So I just had an acoustic guitar and a rhythm box, because I hadn’t organized anything. I played guitar and Alex sang.”

tylerw, Wednesday, 12 January 2011 17:37 (eight years ago) link
artists listed on the cover of this tribute makes it look fucking horrible

tylerw, Wednesday, 12 January 2011 17:37 (eight years ago) link

Wish I could make it to Los Angeles and hear this Holly George-Warren presentation on Alex Chilton at the February 2010 EMP Pop conference

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 12 January 2011 17:46 (eight years ago) link

She's writing a bio of him that is scheduled for a 2012 release.

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 12 January 2011 17:47 (eight years ago) link

ooh that does look good. interesting that there's a bio in the works. would read.

tylerw, Wednesday, 12 January 2011 17:47 (eight years ago) link

eight months pass...

thought i'd bumped one of the AC threads to say this a while back but either way, damn, cliches still sounds exquisite to me

and my soul said you can't go there (schlump), Tuesday, 13 September 2011 14:55 (seven years ago) link

I picked up Cliches in a used cd shop last year and still haven't gotten around to it. This week!

Trip Maker, Tuesday, 13 September 2011 15:09 (seven years ago) link

would be really interested to hear from anyone else who likes/hates it etc, i'd never heard anything about it before hearing it. it's a really good showcase for his guitar playing, &c, but it's also just such a satisfying fit for him, knowing how into the standards he was, & how much working in that sorta context was what he was drawn to, eg playing with pick-up groups etc.

and my soul said you can't go there (schlump), Tuesday, 13 September 2011 15:21 (seven years ago) link

It makes me feel great listening to it, his guitar is so enveloping.

Also note the Box Tops reunion album is surprisingly alright, with a few of the tracks absolutely essential for AC fans.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Tuesday, 13 September 2011 15:53 (seven years ago) link

Bless this guy; but he had some of the worst album titles of any artist —

Like Flies on Sherbert
Bach's Bottom
High Priest
A Man Called Destruction
Loose Shoes and Tight Pussy

absorbed carol channing's powers & psyche (morrisp), Thursday, 15 March 2018 01:52 (one year ago) link

I like the title Like Flies on Sherbert

Am guessing Gordon's latest Memphis book (and companion record) are worth investigating too

curmudgeon, Thursday, 15 March 2018 02:49 (one year ago) link

Pretty sure he had nothing to do with the release, and naming, of "Bach's Bottom".

Buff Jeckley (Tom D.), Thursday, 15 March 2018 10:24 (one year ago) link

"High Priest" is apropos, as is "A Man Called Destruction". "Cliches" is what it says on the tin. The rest I'm with you.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Thursday, 15 March 2018 13:50 (one year ago) link

Could Bach's Bottom be in part a ref to the olde association of bock beer with bottom of the barrel and/or stored in cellar? Apparently it is *not* from the bottom of the barrel/fermenter as I was told many years ago, around the time this platter was released. Was also told that "bock" means "billy goat" in German, dunno. But all associations that come to mind (incl. of course rude whimsical gotta-call-it-something ref to Classical Composer) seems ACpropriate.

dow, Thursday, 15 March 2018 20:50 (one year ago) link

also: "seem"

dow, Thursday, 15 March 2018 20:51 (one year ago) link

Surely a play on Box Tops, no? You mean in addition to that?

Whiney On The Moog (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 15 March 2018 20:52 (one year ago) link

i've come around to the idea that the "dusted in memphis" bootleg really is chilton's best solo record. i'm in awe of his capacity for self-sabotage.

ziggy the ginhead (rushomancy), Thursday, 15 March 2018 20:56 (one year ago) link

I didn't catch that... terrible pun! I guess intentionally so.

absorbed carol channing's powers & psyche (morrisp), Thursday, 15 March 2018 20:59 (one year ago) link

I didn't catch it either, thanks! All the best puns are terrible.

dow, Friday, 16 March 2018 00:34 (one year ago) link

It’s a thin line

Came to say that the book called A Man Called Destruction is useful, but a book in which the actual man called Destruction features, Moanin’ at Midnight: The Life and Times of Howlin’ Wolfby James Segrest and Mark Hoffman, is excellent.

Whiney On The Moog (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 16 March 2018 01:04 (one year ago) link

I recently talked to Danny Graflund. He was Alex' bodyguard and was in the studio when the Tiven stuff was going down. He's the guy who says at the end of the Bach's BottomLP, "If you was Mott the Hoople, I'd go out there and pee all over you, but who gives a shit." Danny told me he didn't piss on the board, he pissed in the corner. I've also been in touch with a guy named David Leonard, who's putting together a Chilton documentary, and I sent him a cassette of the interview I and Mike Fink and David Duncan did with Alex in 1981. Which Holly George-Warren cites in her book, not realizing it was me, the last interview he did for a while until he resurfaced a few years later out of New Orleans. I looked thru the new Robert Gordon book. Robert says Alex liked him until Robert told Alex his astrological sign. The abacus clicked inside Alex' head, the calculations were completed, and Alex never treated Robert the same way again. He told Dickinson this, that Alex made him very uncomfortable. Dickinson said, don't worry, he makes everyone feel that way. Tiven is still angry about Alex supposedly messing up those 1975 sessions, to this day. I talked to Jon about it the other day. We hung out at a Donnie Fritts show here this week. From "Nightime" and "O Dana," sublime poetic music, thousand minutes of "Take Me Home and Make Me Like It," a song that exists in its perfect form only once, on the CBGB live thing found on One Day in New York.

eddhurt, Friday, 16 March 2018 04:40 (one year ago) link

Booked Alex for a show in 87. We were hanging out and a couple women friends joined us. Their conversation seem to put him off, and at one point he asked them when they were born (1966). He coolly told them that that was the year of the fire horse in Chinese astrology and that women born that year would bring destruction to all in their lives.

by the light of the burning Citroën, Friday, 16 March 2018 04:55 (one year ago) link

What did they say to that?

dow, Friday, 16 March 2018 16:22 (one year ago) link

And did he grace them with the famous Chilton grimace?

Whiney On The Moog (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 16 March 2018 23:31 (one year ago) link

They had been talking while he rolled one. Left them a little pretty stunned. They didn't stay much longer, needless to say. Definitely a wry grin as he stuck the knife in. Never meet your idols.

During the set, he was in classic LX hassling the sound guy mode, asking repeatedly for more high end. I was back at the mixing desk and our guy had things pretty much pegged. Fortunately, without a change, he found the sound improved and played on.

A friend with a small label around the time joked about putting out an EP of just Chilton complaining about sound.

by the light of the burning Citroën, Friday, 16 March 2018 23:51 (one year ago) link

Yeah, once we some him back in the day at Tramps on 21st Street after he had played at Maxwell’s a day or two earlier. He had actually been pleased with the audio at the Maxwell’s show so he hired that sound guy to work the Tramps show as well, which of course ended up being plagued with all sorts of problems.

Whiney On The Moog (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 17 March 2018 02:03 (one year ago) link

A muso buddy of mine once mentioned to another friend that his band was going to open for Jeff Beck, and she made him agree to introduce them---he warned her of what a dick Beck could be, cited examples, but she was ready to take her chances, Yadda yadda, he and she joined Beck and a few others at an afterhours spot, all in a secluded corner booth, the stah treatment. She chose a lull in the conversation just briefly to say hi, I'm SoandSo, been into your music since the Sixties. He totally ignored her for the rest of the evening, until finally asking her to go get him a pack of cigarettes. She told him what a corny cliche rockstar asshole he was being---"like a rabid chihuahua," muso buddy told me. Beck looked shocked---and stunned---the road manager 'bout to died laughing.

dow, Saturday, 17 March 2018 21:04 (one year ago) link

two weeks pass...

follow-up to the take on xpost Carmaig De Forest, Chilton-produced (press release for this one is also upthread):

Chilton also juices the familiars on his own expanded Omnivore, A Man Called Destruction---tempted to say "of course," because the unexpected reliability of this set, incl. alt. takes and prev. unissued titles, breeds a little bit of complacency in the robust litter, alongside interest and excitement---I was already starting to think, re the chunky originals ending the original album, that things were getting a little generic, though its prob the more agreeable, reasonable side of the subgenre which solo entertainer AC staked a claim to: that droll, rolling, r&r&b&b Memphis-NOLA thing, with a tad of country (bonus ["I Don't Know Why] But I Do" reverie not at all bothered by electric horse thermometer bass and equally business-like drums) and Southern 50s-mid-60s AM radio fodder (Brian Wilson contribution to Jan and Dean "New Girl In School," and the diligently, consistently worked-out, silly come-on "What's Your Sign, Girl?", falsetto now reformed to an agreeable twang), all work at least OK, in there with Italian rockabilly and a rockin' dirge and jitterbug jazzabilly and slow dunk unstoppable Jimmy Reed shuffles and heavy power pop---Chilton's sharp-edged, witty, sometimes slightly migrainey, dust devil guitar leads the session, with his voice adding even more genial clarity and definition to the "dry," sufficiently vivid sonics---but like I said was already getting a bit complacently discontented re "generic"/ his kind of subgeneric (which also reminded me of the way NRBQ pulls these ingredients together when they're on it, not to mention some thoughts of Beatles) even before I got to the part of Bob Merlis's notes in which he goes from very detailed and relevant clarity of backstory to opining that Chilton's chunky originals herein are of the rootsy AC vein that "had emerged as his greatest form of self-expression---as opposed to the pristine pop of Big Star, which some fans were still hoping he would produce." It was not pristine, never generic, basically reliably-to-easily-reproducible power pop---well, occasionally too sealed-over in the self-regard, as in words to "Ballad of El Goodo,"---too "pristine" in that sense---but never without some sonic distinction----and here the AC lyrics that are least wet-leafy, most likely to spin the spark and vice-versa, are the ones that have a glint of Big Star:"You're Lookin' Good"'s "I dig your mind/I dig your clothes," and "I'm ravin' I'm your slave/You're my/French fries, " from "You're My Favorite." And yes I'm quibblin' I'm dribblin' all sorts of generous quality, for these are almost all as good as french and even freedom fries, if not quite as in-the-spirit-of- Big Star free-fryin' as I'd like. (Speaking of keeping thinking, was also flagging *several* tracks, all along, as additions to midsize folder of BS faves x solo titbits, from Feudalist Tarts etc.)
"In-the-spirit of Big Star" really means also in the spirit and tradition of pushing the older elements a little further, a little more seemingly off-handed for lagniappe.

dow, Wednesday, 4 April 2018 20:11 (one year ago) link

Oh yeah, and speaking of AM radio fodder, want to get into Box Tops albums for the first time---where should I start? Think Spotify's got quite a few, last time I looked.

dow, Wednesday, 4 April 2018 20:13 (one year ago) link

I pretty much like all of them tbh.

Buff Jeckley (Tom D.), Wednesday, 4 April 2018 21:51 (one year ago) link

The Best of the Box Tops: Soul Deep is the best comp, Arista '96. But all of their albums are good and worth hearing, and the Arista comp leaves off stuff like "Weeping Analeah" and "Break My Mind." I always kind of liked Man Called Destruction. "What's Your Sign" is great and I think "Don't Stop" is actually not unlike his "power pop" "Big Star" stuff, the closest he came to a thought-out, calibrated power pop song on any of his solo albums. I think there are moments when the niteclub vibe of genial ultra-hip reconstruction of old-tyme man-woman modes, as on Chris Kenner's "Sick and Tired," clashes with the knowingness of Alex here (he's seen more violent things than just kickin' her ass outside, so as usual there's a certain slight affectlessness going on in the singing--the derisive croon. But the production really works, the gamboling organ and the horns, and it's easily his most listenable solo album and maybe his best after Sherbert (which remains sui generis, though it's more listenable now than it was 40 years ago because it's been totally normalized, see Low Cut Connie, several million others at this point).

eddhurt, Thursday, 5 April 2018 06:20 (one year ago) link

Thanks for the tip, will check it. Yeah, I've always wished he re-deployed the raspy, unpretentious Box Tops footsoldier voice for some albums or tracks, though if he had, might have just seemed like another
nudge-nudge Henry the Hipster metabit in solo career context. Nevertheless, I enjoy most of this vivacious album.

dow, Friday, 6 April 2018 01:14 (one year ago) link

And he's got me using a juicy word there I don't never use, so thank you friend.

dow, Friday, 6 April 2018 01:17 (one year ago) link

Thanks, edd. Almost forgot about “Weeping Analeah.”

Rudy’s Mood For Dub (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 6 April 2018 01:25 (one year ago) link

Dow, the one of the few moments Chilton references his old Box Tops voice is at the end of the studio "Thank You John." "It's gonna be all right," and his voice dips down into the Dan Penn register for just a second. The singer who did "Neon Rainbow" morphaed into the one who did "O, Dana," which are actually somewhat similar, he goes for it just a bit more than he usually did. Man Called Destrcution is vivacious, a bowl of lime sorbet brought to you by a server in an ultra-cool Backstage in Show Bizness Lounge where Chilton is playing to the reeeal insiders. Some of it's kinda pro forma a bit actually, you get the persistent sense he is evading something here re "New Girl in School" or the Jimmy Reed number, but then the weird glassy surface of his music can also enable you to hear these songs as if they were just being worked out. Which is a fancy way of saying you nevah quite know, dahling, where you stand with old Alex. Mark Harrison, of the glam-power poppers Snakehips, told me an Alex Chilton story. Mark was hanging out with Alex in New Orleans the night before Alex was supposed to go to Missouri for the Big Star reunion show that got recorded as Columbia. He got them all passes to see his regular gig at the Howlin' Wolf that night. Mark said he never even mentioned the Missouri show, they hung out, talked baseball and records. A Man Called Casual.

eddhurt, Friday, 6 April 2018 05:19 (one year ago) link

Destruction, that is. (and re Box Tops, note the wide range of nascent Middle California and South Tennessee songwriting represented thruout--Fritts, Newbury, and then the great Wayne Carson).

eddhurt, Friday, 6 April 2018 05:22 (one year ago) link

xp yep but come to think of it, the kind of rolling Memphis and especially New Orleans chestnuts he favored could sound kinda droll and detached to start with, like barroom gossips taking us on a tour of funky situations. And/or just a notion that worked out, like "Workin' In A Coal Mine," with its composer, Allan Toussaint, readily pointing out there aren't coal mines anywhere near NO or in all of Louisiana, he was pretty sure.

dow, Saturday, 7 April 2018 02:57 (one year ago) link

Def. could have lived without "New Girl In School," esp. compared to some of the bonus tracks left off the original (which was a CD, so wouldn't think he had to keep the whole thing to LP length, unless he was being strictly traditional).

dow, Saturday, 7 April 2018 03:00 (one year ago) link

four months pass...

Eventually occurred to me that use of the dishy, convivial pop filter in Memphis and NOLA could be a way of countering outbursts of chaos etc.

Forthwith on Omnivore:

Peter Holsapple vs. Alex Chilton
The Death Of Rock
Release date: October 12, 2018

Newly discovered recordings of early solo Peter Holsapple and Like Flies On Sherbert–era Alex Chilton.

“I caught Alex exiting a world of sweet pop that I was only just trying to enter, and the door hit me on the way in, I guess”
—Peter Holsapple

It’s 1978 at Sam Phillips Recording Service in Memphis, TN. Peter Holsapple had rolled into town chasing the essence of Big Star. He hooked up with musician/engineer/friend-of-Big-Star, Richard Rosebrough after approaching, and being turned down by, Chris Bell who Holsapple had hoped might be interested in producing him. Together Richard and Peter started laying down tracks during the off hours at the studio.

Chilton meanwhile, was knee deep in the making of Like Flies On Sherbert, also being tracked at Phillips. He told Peter, “I heard some of that stuff you’re working on with Richard… and it really sucks.” Alex promised to come by and show Peter “how it’s done.”

The results? Alex’s tracks definitely line up with the chaos found on Flies, while several of Peter’s songs found homes on The dB’s albums (“Bad Reputation” and “We Were Happy There”) and on an album by The Troggs (“The Death Of Rock” retooled as “I’m In Control”), so not a loss at all. What we have in these newly discovered tapes, is a fascinating pivot point with both artists moving past each other headed in distinctly different directions. Chilton moved toward punk/psychobilly as he began playing with Tav Falco’s Panther Burns and produced The Cramps debut, Songs The Lord Taught Us, within a few months of these recordings. Holsapple was off to New York to audition for The dB’s and enter the world of “sweet pop.”

Liner notes by Peter Holsapple tell the story of these recordings firsthand and author/filmmaker/Memphian, Robert Gordon, helps pull the time and place into focus. Previously unseen photos included in the package are drawn from the collections of Peter Holsapple and Pat Rainer. Produced by Cheryl Pawelski with mastering by Mike Graves at Osiris Studio and Jeff Powell at Take Out Vinyl/Sam Phillips Recording Service in Memphis, who brings it all right back to where it started.

TAKE ME BACK (Backing Track)
TENNIS BUM (Rehearsal)*
O MY SOUL (Instrumental Rehearsal)
IN THE STREET (Instrumental Rehearsal)
BABY I LOVE YOU (Rehearsal)
MIND YOUR MANNERS (4-Track Version With Vocals)
LP consists of Tracks 1–11 and includes download card of entire CD Program.
Cat: OV-303

dow, Friday, 10 August 2018 19:30 (one year ago) link

"Newly discovered recordings"... haha

The Chilton tracks have been bootlegged a dozen or so times.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Friday, 10 August 2018 20:12 (one year ago) link

even I have heard Tennis Bum (which is hilarious)

Οὖτις, Friday, 10 August 2018 20:14 (one year ago) link

from Big Star thread---thanks for several like these, Mr. Eggleston:

dow, Friday, 10 August 2018 20:40 (one year ago) link

also like "this"

dow, Friday, 10 August 2018 20:41 (one year ago) link

one month passes...

what's that alex chilton quote about if you make music that's good enough eventually someone will find it?

niels, Saturday, 29 September 2018 10:55 (ten months ago) link

"Somewhere along the line I figured out that if you only press up a hundred copies of a record, then eventually it will find it’s way to the hundred people in the world who want it most."


Ctrl+Alt+Del in Poughkeepsie (fionnland), Saturday, 29 September 2018 11:03 (ten months ago) link

that's not it, but maybe i'm misremembering something I read paraphrased in a review somewhere

niels, Saturday, 29 September 2018 12:53 (ten months ago) link

four months pass...

Re previously posted press sheet for The Death of Rock, I finally listened, tweeted this:
Peter Holsapple/Alex Chilton, The Death of Rock: main keeper AC's "Marshall Law" (sic): blithe Ray Davies vox over terse VU-ish detail "sharpshooters" etc PH says it's re 70s Memphis Fire & Police Strike, tho incl. "Martin Luther King" (who came to town during Garbage Strike).
The title track is okay too, but most of the vocals are either awkward (PH) or nerfy (AC), too self-conscious no matter who's singing---and AC esp. redic on "Train Kept A-Rolling" and "Mona," though playing is okay on those and several others, incl. stand-alone leftover backing tracks. Somebody cover "Marshall Law."

dow, Wednesday, 30 January 2019 00:54 (six months ago) link

Several of the PH originals got another chance w the dBs (and "Death of Rock" got retitled remodeled etc. for a Troggs album).

dow, Wednesday, 30 January 2019 00:56 (six months ago) link

I met and interviewed Lesa Aldridge today. She's been living in Nashville for years and is doing a Klitz show (all 4 original Klitz) here in February.

eddhurt, Thursday, 31 January 2019 23:45 (six months ago) link

Please post the link when it's published!

Thanx also to Gerald McBoing-Boing for Rolling Reissues 2019 mention of two forthcoming AC collections: From Memphis to New Orleans looks mostly familiar, from the Feudalist Tarts etc era, but then there's Songs From Robin Hood Lane, which might be okay in its way---as listed on Amazon (comes out Feb.8):
Alex Chilton, lead singer for the Boxtops and Big Star, made these recordings of jazz standards in the 1990s. Many he heard them in the 1950s, growing up in a house full of music on a street called Robin Hood Lane in Memphis, Tennessee. Included are many rare and previously unreleased songs from the Great American Songbook: "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying," "Time After Time," and "My Baby Just Cares For Me."

Track Listings
Disc: 1
1. Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying
2. My Baby Just Cares For Me
3. Save Your Love For Me
4. There Will Never Be Another You
5. Let's Get Lost
6. That Old Feeling
7. Like Someone In Love
8. Look For the Silver Lining
9. All Of You
10. Frame For the Blues
11. Time After Time
12. What Was

dow, Saturday, 2 February 2019 16:49 (six months ago) link

What the heck, here's From Memphis To New Orleans also Feb 8 (both of these are on vinyl, CD, MP3):

Some know Alex Chilton as the lead singer of the Boxtops who had a number one hit in 1967 with “The Letter,” others know him from the majestic Beatlesque pop of Big Star or as the name in a song by the Replacements (“Children by the millions sing of Alex Chilton…”) Others know him as the songwriter of the theme song for That 70s Show. He was at the height of his cult star fame in the mid 1980s when he made these recordings. It is some of his best most honest work oddly neglected for some time but delivered here for enthusiasts and neophytes alike. Includes B-A-B-Y, Guantanaamerika, Let Me Get Close to You, Dalai Lama and many more.

Track Listings
Disc: 1
1. B-A-B-Y
2. Thank You John
3. Lost My Job
4. Paradise
5. No Sex
6. Underclass
7. Take It Off
8. Let Me Get Close To You
9. Dalai Lama
10. Thing For You
11. Make A Little Love
12. Nobody's Fool
13. Little GTO
14. Guantanamerika
15. Lonely Weekend

dow, Saturday, 2 February 2019 16:54 (six months ago) link

Disc 1 both collections are one disc each.

dow, Saturday, 2 February 2019 16:55 (six months ago) link

Quick review shows that "From Memphis To New Orleans" has all been previously released - there's a few expanded version of "High Priest" which have all of these tracks.

"Robin Hood Lane" has 8 tracks from "Cliches", which leaves "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying", "That Old Feeling", "Like Someone In Love" and "Look For the Silver Lining" unique to this release. If they're from the same sessions, we're in for a treat. Alex was the consummate interpreter.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Saturday, 2 February 2019 17:29 (six months ago) link

I love this era of AC.

campreverb, Saturday, 2 February 2019 20:23 (six months ago) link

Doesn't dig Songs From Robin Hood Lane as much as the others here, but I didn't expect him to (although it seems he did like Cliches, but indicates these aren't from the same sessions after all, or not all of 'em?).

dow, Saturday, 9 February 2019 01:27 (six months ago) link

Some of the Robin Hood Lane stuff is apparently from the sessions for Medium Cool, a record I used to own. I never liked Cliches all that much. All the stuff on Memphis to New Orleans has been reissued before. I always felt a lot of that stuff was tentative or just underpowered, though "Thank You John" is one of his best interpretations and the No Sex and Black List EPs are mostly good. I'm working on a piece on the Klitz, the Memphis punk band who worked w/ Alex and Dickinson (and, amusingly, Sam the Sham). I met and interviewed Lesa Aldridge the other day; she's lived in Nashville for years, was once married to Chilton wannabe Tommy Hoehn. They're playing a show up here this month. They're still aiming for their shot, all these years later. The crazies thing I learned is that they did a version of "Brown Sugar" in 1979 at a south Memphis studio whose owners had bought the old Stax equipment at auction when Stax folded. It's the best thing they ever did.

eddhurt, Saturday, 9 February 2019 14:47 (six months ago) link

Rene Coman, Johnny J and Doug Garrison on LX:

eddhurt, Monday, 11 February 2019 23:14 (six months ago) link

five months pass...

Kickstarter for Chilton movie doc by filmmaker David Julian Leonard who lived in Memphis

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 23 July 2019 16:09 (four weeks ago) link

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