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 (twenty 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 (twenty 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 (twenty 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 (twenty 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 (twenty 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 (twenty 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 (twenty 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 (twenty 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 (twenty 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 (twenty years ago) link

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

three years pass...

skin as soft as buttermilk

paper plans (tipsy mothra), Friday, 13 February 2009 06:41 (twelve 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 (twelve 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 (twelve 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 (twelve 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 (twelve 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 (twelve 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 (twelve 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 (twelve 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 (eleven 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 (ten years ago) link
artists listed on the cover of this tribute makes it look fucking horrible

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

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

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 12 January 2011 17:47 (ten 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 (ten 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 (nine 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 (nine 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 (nine 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 (nine years 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 (two years ago) link

Rene Coman, Johnny J and Doug Garrison on LX:

eddhurt, Monday, 11 February 2019 23:14 (two years 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 (two years ago) link

one month passes...

A friend gave me a CD of the The 1970 Sessions. I'm a fan of the first Big Star album, not well acquainted with Chilton's own work--I have Like Flies on Sherbert. Anyway, I didn't get much out of it, although I like "Smile" a lot. I was struck by how much it sounds like early Todd Rundgren, but if that was done in 1970, same year as Runt, I doubt Chilton would have ever heard Rundgren on his own. Is it simply a case of two guys, both coming out of late-'60s quasi-Nuggets bands, arriving at the same sound simultaneously?

clemenza, Saturday, 24 August 2019 17:37 (one year ago) link

The reformed Big Star did go on to cover 'Slut' with Alex on lead vocals

PaulTMA, Saturday, 24 August 2019 17:42 (one year ago) link


PaulTMA, Saturday, 24 August 2019 17:43 (one year ago) link

Chilton might have been aware of the Nazz at the time of those sessions, which were in 1969 & sorta concurrent to the last Box Tops recordings, both preceding the release of Rundgren's solo stuff.

That Chilton album is quite fascinating w/all the directions the material goes. I can hear strands of CCR, Gram Parsons/Flying Burrito Bros./Byrds, Sir Doug, Flamin' Groovies and more. What a different world it would have been had he been able to get that stuff released at the time. For one thing, Big Star probably wouldn't have happened exactly the way they did, or at all.

frustration and wonky passion (C. Grisso/McCain), Saturday, 24 August 2019 19:03 (one year ago) link

several live Big Star sets incl. cover of Rundgren's "Slut" (on at least one occasion, AC reportedly dedicated it to Jody Stephens's wife), and, as I noted to self on Twitter and the main Big Star thread:
radio interview on @BigStarBand's Live at Lafayette's Music Room, AC worries that forthcoming #1 Record is too much like Rundgren, reminding me not to overemph Beatles influences; also T.Rex v. favorably mentioned; both covered here, as on several other live recordings Way to sell the album, perverse AC, confiding your misgivings about it on the radio.

dow, Sunday, 25 August 2019 01:57 (one year ago) link

nine months pass...

Alex Chilton "96 Tears" recently unearthed late '70s home video footage, Memphis.

— Nikki Kreuzer (@NikkiKreuzer) May 26, 2020

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Wednesday, 27 May 2020 17:05 (one year ago) link

wow! I don't think I've ever seen *any* video of him from several years on either side of this

would take abt ten minutes to clean that sound up

Yanni Xenakis (Hadrian VIII), Wednesday, 27 May 2020 18:28 (one year ago) link

Damn, 10 years gone. I guess he didn't leave that much in the vaults? Surely there's some better quality live recordings out there across his entire career.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Wednesday, 27 May 2020 18:30 (one year ago) link

wow! I don't think I've ever seen *any* video of him from several years on either side of this

would take abt ten minutes to clean that sound up

― Yanni Xenakis (Hadrian VIII), Wednesday, May 27, 2020 11:28 AM (three minutes ago)

Welllll... there's some Axel Chitlins footage from approx around this time if I were to guess:

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Wednesday, 27 May 2020 18:35 (one year ago) link

and it looks like Tav is playing the same guitar in the 96 Tears clip.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Wednesday, 27 May 2020 18:36 (one year ago) link

I forgot about that!

also this:

Yanni Xenakis (Hadrian VIII), Wednesday, 27 May 2020 18:36 (one year ago) link

William Eggleston^

Yanni Xenakis (Hadrian VIII), Wednesday, 27 May 2020 18:37 (one year ago) link

Love that 96 Tears

Joey Corona (Euler), Wednesday, 27 May 2020 19:02 (one year ago) link

Tav is in the replies saying that the 96 Tears was filmed at his house in Memphis (perhaps filmed by Tav himself?)

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Wednesday, 27 May 2020 19:09 (one year ago) link

Those '60s super villain sunglasses...

"...And the Gods Socially Distanced" (C. Grisso/McCain), Wednesday, 27 May 2020 19:14 (one year ago) link


Trouble Is My Métier (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 27 May 2020 19:16 (one year ago) link

Always a good time to reshare this clip...

"...And the Gods Socially Distanced" (C. Grisso/McCain), Wednesday, 27 May 2020 19:28 (one year ago) link

Was wondering when that was coming.

Trouble Is My Métier (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 27 May 2020 19:29 (one year ago) link

Oh sorry, I was thinking of

Trouble Is My Métier (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 27 May 2020 19:34 (one year ago) link

Yeah, there are some decent live Chilton sets around some of them legit-released, as mentioned upthread--- otherwise, for instance somewhere I've got a good radio tape (an aircheck, like in jazz) of him on some Public Radio show (if it's Mountain Stage, might be in their online archives, if they still have those), performing originals, Memphis covers, also some of his favorite Italian pop ballads, adept guitar picking, geniality.
Legit-release/YouTube-wise, one of my fave raves is Live In London, with Morris Windsor and RIP Matthew Seligman of Soft Boys, Knox of the Vibrators---supposedly, somebody showed up at his place of dishwashing business, presented him with a round-trip ticket, and said, "You *are* going to do this." Oh ok go.

dow, Wednesday, 27 May 2020 23:05 (one year ago) link

I still need to check this---from Xgau's site:
Ocean Club '77 [Norton, 2015]
Chilton's 1977 NYC residency fell apart before the year was over, but it began on a high--the young punk/alt godfather gigging amongst us, nowhere more mythically than at his February 21-22 engagement at Mickey Ruskin's short-lived, way-downtown successor to Max's Kansas City. I attended the first of these shows, and it was incandescent--jammed, noisy, charged with ambient adrenaline. Even a quality recording like this one can't capture such an up, but you can definitely hear a more raucous, confident, and engaged Chilton than was his quirky norm. The 16-song set leads with the brand new "All of the Time," includes five loud Big Star covers plus a rough-hewn reading of the Box Tops smash "The Letter," introduces Chilton's great nonhit "My Rival," and covers the Ventures, the Beach Boys, the Seeds, and Chuck Berry's "Memphis." Cult history is being made. Of course we were psyched. A-

dow, Wednesday, 27 May 2020 23:20 (one year ago) link

I had that set on some late 90s bootleg, it's pretty great.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Wednesday, 27 May 2020 23:33 (one year ago) link

some version of it is on Spotify

curmudgeon, Thursday, 28 May 2020 03:11 (one year ago) link

seven months pass...

More videos:


or post even more of your favs here, of course.

dow, Tuesday, 29 December 2020 22:15 (six months ago) link

I wonder if writer Robert Gordon's new updated version of his book "It Came from Memphis" has new details and stories on Alex Chilton?

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 29 December 2020 23:12 (six months ago) link

Hm. Updated you say?

Dog Heavy Manners (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 29 December 2020 23:23 (six months ago) link

He would have been 70 yesterday.

Eggbreak Hotel (Tom D.), Tuesday, 29 December 2020 23:45 (six months ago) link

three weeks pass...

from ilxor tylerw's crucial blog (yes still a few):

Here’s something unusual — and uncirculated, perhaps — to get your day started. An audio verité document of the one and only Alex Chilton playing records late into the night at a pal’s loft back in ‘77.

dow, Thursday, 21 January 2021 00:14 (six months ago) link


Replying to
let's just say that Alex REALLY liked The Beach Boys Love You.

dow, Thursday, 21 January 2021 00:17 (six months ago) link

It Csmr from Memphis Robert Gordon book reading event with Ann Powers tonight may touch on Chilton. Thursday Jan 21 6 pm central which I guess is 7 pm eastern, on Facebook

curmudgeon, Thursday, 21 January 2021 14:10 (six months ago) link

Parnassus Books is doing the conversation

curmudgeon, Thursday, 21 January 2021 14:11 (six months ago) link

a wildly entertaining book

adam, Thursday, 21 January 2021 14:16 (six months ago) link

Newly updated, right?

Next Time Might Be Hammer Time (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 21 January 2021 14:40 (six months ago) link

published on jack white's vanity label!

adam, Thursday, 21 January 2021 15:37 (six months ago) link

Yes, newly updated

curmudgeon, Thursday, 21 January 2021 17:28 (six months ago) link

two months pass...

Alex Chilton and Hi Rhythm Section
Boogie Shoes: Live On Beale Street

Release date: May 7, 2021

Unissued 1999 live set from Alex Chilton (The Box Tops/Big Star) and Hi Rhythm Section

“I never saw him have so much fun on stage. Without rehearsal, Alex called songs and the band locked in. The horn section consists of top Memphis session guys who huddled together when each song was called creating parts on the fly. The pure joy of playing this music so freely with such legendary musicians comes across in every groove of the record.”

—David Less, from his liner notes.

Memphis is a city with music in its blood. When Fred Ford, co-founder of the Beale Street Music Festival, was diagnosed with cancer, David Less organized Fredstock, a fund raiser to help with his medical bills. Less contacted Memphis legend Alex Chilton (The Box Tops, Big Star), who was living in New Orleans, to ask him to participate. Alex said he didn’t have any musicians to play with in Memphis, so Less suggested the Hi Rhythm Section (the band behind classics from artists including Ann Peebles, Ike & Tina Turner, O. V. Wright, Otis Clay, and Al Green). Alex replied, “That will work.”

This previously unissued live set contains versions of soul classics from The Supremes and Otis Clay, rock numbers from Chuck Berry and Little Richard, and even a cover of the KC & The Sunshine Band title track. Available on CD, Digital, and LP, Boogie Shoes: Live On Beale Street was recorded at the New Daisy Theater in Memphis in 1999, during Fredstock.

Packaging contains liner notes from Producer David Less, a friend of Chilton, and author of the acclaimed Memphis Mayhem: A Story Of The Music That Shook Up The World, and features a cover from rock & roll and folk art painter, Lamar Sorrento.

Get ready to discover this performance by Memphis icons—tearing it up on stage, making music, and having fun. You’ll want to put on y-y-y-y-your Boogie Shoes.

Alex Chilton - Boogie Shoes LP Bundle

Special LP Bundle Available:
We also have a limited-edition bundle that features the LP and a numbered lithographic print of the album cover. This special edition is limited to 100 copies and available only via the Omnivore webstore.

CD / LP / Digital Track List:

Boogie Shoes
Precious, Precious
Kansas City
Big Boss Man
Where Did Our Love Go
Hello Josephine
Trying To Live My Life Without You

more info:

dow, Sunday, 28 March 2021 21:28 (three months ago) link

A live session of Chilton w/ Hi rhythm section sounds promising for sure

curmudgeon, Monday, 29 March 2021 15:31 (three months ago) link

one month passes...

Surely there's some better quality live recordings out there across his entire career.

I answered my own question:
Ocean Club '77 - solid but only a handful of unique tracks
Electricity By Candlelight NYC 2/13/97 - good selection of songs but terrible bootleg sound quality
Live In Anvers - ahhh, this one is great. A bunch of fun covers, his backing band is a bit loose but enjoyable, and he's in fine voice.

I'm looking forward to the new one based on that review!

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Sunday, 2 May 2021 04:27 (two months ago) link

I thought Live In London was pretty cool. esp. since he got drafted into a one-off (interrupting his dishwashing gig).
So far "Boogie Shoes" is the only Live on Beale Street track posted on Spotify and the 'Tube---as I expected, most of the interest is insturumental:
Also a tiny trailer:

dow, Sunday, 2 May 2021 17:13 (two months ago) link

His voice seems more effective on these Chet Baker-associated tunes (first track is glitchy on my computer, but no prob w others). He plays some nice guitar too getting into it more on uptempo "There Will Be Another You" (reminds me, look for Sonnly Rollins's version of that, from the album of the same title, which he sued to have deleted, but later on an import., and prob posted somewhere)

0:00​ There Will Never Be Another You [acoustic]
3:02​ That Old Feeling
5:07​ Let's Get Lost
7:11​ Look for the Silver Lining
9:33​ Time After Time
12:11​ Like Someone in Love
14:48​ There Will Never Be Another You [electric]

Band on "That Old Feeling", "Look for the Silver Lining" and "Like Someone in Love" : Ron Miller,acoustic bass and producer; Robert Arron on piano and tenor saxophone; Richard Dworkin on drums. From the album "Imagination" by Medium Cool, with Alex Chilton as guest vocalist on these three tracks only.

Band on "There Will Never Be Another You [electric]" : Ron Easley, electric bass, Richard Dworkin, drums. From the 1999 album "Loose Shoes and Tight Pussy" (New Rose Records) (a.k.a. "Set", Bar/None Records).

"There Will Never Be Another You [acoustic]", "Let's Get Lost", and "Time After Time" are solo performances from the album "Cliches" (1994, New Rose / Ardent)

Photos: Chet Baker, Times Square, New York City, 1958 (age 29; photo by Carole Reiff); Alex Chilton, The Bowery, New York City, 1977 (age 26; photo by David Godlis)

dow, Sunday, 2 May 2021 17:28 (two months ago) link

two weeks pass...

So this is streaming now but haven’t listened yet

Working in the POLL Mine (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 16 May 2021 22:11 (two months ago) link

It's fun if not as epic as I'd hoped. As always, his choice of covers is impeccable.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Monday, 17 May 2021 00:45 (two months ago) link

I kind of sometimes want to be contrarian about that, but hard to find fault really.

Working in the POLL Mine (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 17 May 2021 00:51 (two months ago) link

two months pass...

sequence from Sweet Soul Music thread:

Judging by "Boogie Shoes" on YouTube, most of the appeal of the Alex Chilton/Hi Rhythm live album might be insrumental, which reminds me: here they are with Terry Manning, better known as a producer and engineer at Ardent etc. but his rough-and-ready vocal approach works better with HRS live than Chilton's (comparing just one track to another):

dow, Tuesday, 20 July 2021 01:06 (five days ago) link

(Chilton seems a bit cautious by comparison---their set was a one-off, but so was Manning's w HRS---filling in at the last minute for a no-show, and just taking the plunge, what the hell---this is the only live track on his album, and really seemed like the only keeper---according to the press sheet, he did a Box Tops Chilton parody for kicks, and was ordered to create an album around it, which mostly seemed like filler, but I didn't listen much)

So Chilton does okay after all, though yeah of course Hi Rhythm Gang is the main interest, esp. horns and bass, though everybody steps up--most songs go on a little over four minutes and a half minutes; the studio originals were at least a minute shorter, but but we get more solo turns and full Section flexing, comfortably. Fave is the penultimate performance, "Hello Josephine," where a Hi man starts the vocal, Chilton coming in later: a very robust 7:12 work-out, calm as ever. Also: Motown gets the Memphis treatment on "Where Did Our Love Go," with Chilton as okay stand-in for Diana Ross, though this is one of he shorter ones, as it probably should be).Does not sing as high, loud and fast there as on "Lucille" or "Maybelline." Sounds like Pat Boone looking to go rong on "Kansas City." Any of yall heard this one? xgau sez:
On the Loose [Hi, 1976]
In which Al Green's sidemen, perhaps disgruntled at Al's unwillingness to record their material, get together and cut it. Some stickler for detail is sure to point out that the singing on side two is completely out of tune, but that's OK--so is most of the singing on side one, which I prefer to Full of Fire. One of the more carefully thought out tracks features a mildly malicious lyric about Green himself, but it's the eccentricity of the music, which sounds as if it includes a banjo, that does him in. Loose indeed. A-

Anyway, very good music for a holiday weekend, has me looking to go for b-b-q chicken.

― dow, Thursday, July 1, 2021 4:33 PM

dow, Tuesday, 20 July 2021 01:09 (five days ago) link

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