Big Star

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Thoughts on these fellas?

David, Thursday, 18 October 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

new answers

David, Thursday, 18 October 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

why, is there a new release or something ;-)

g, Thursday, 18 October 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

overrated Grandpappy Indie (VU notwithstanding); not worthless, but nor are Wishbone Ash, for goodness sake

mark s, Thursday, 18 October 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

I know you wanna buck the conventional critical wisdom and say something like that, but sometimes you just can't...

They really did make 3 really great records

g, Thursday, 18 October 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link


Sean, Thursday, 18 October 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

All of the hype is deserved. There only crime is partial responsibility for Teenage Fanclub.

Dan, Thursday, 18 October 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

They were touring recently.

David, Thursday, 18 October 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Their truest crime is their holy grail status, which they did not wish for but had foisted upon them.

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 18 October 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

they're horrible, their first album sounds like kiss.

ethan, Thursday, 18 October 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

2nd best VU cover.

Mr Noodles, Thursday, 18 October 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

sisters/lovers is absolutely terrific. haunting and beautiful.

matthew stevens, Thursday, 18 October 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

They're grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreat! You gotta clean out those ears, ethan--that first record sounds more like a revved up Kinks crossed with the glam glory of T.Rex, and there's nothing wrong with that. If it sounds boring and cliched, now, it's only because they invented some of those cliches. (Besides, if it does sound anything like Kiss, and I'm not saying that it does, Kiss would have cribbed from Big Star, seeing as how Kiss' first album came out two years after Big Star's #1 Record.)

Ultimately, I'm most partial to Third/Sister Lovers, but the first two certainly have a prominent place in my collection.

Sean Carruthers, Thursday, 18 October 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link


O My Soul

September Gurls

Down The Street

Mod Lang

I'm In Love With A Girl.

Yep. Legend secure...

JM, Thursday, 18 October 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

i heard the bands that sound like them first, therefore big star are secondary to awful indie-leaning alt rock. and the first album sounds so much like kiss. how could the nearly untouchable stax release that kind of shit?

ethan, Thursday, 18 October 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Their ballads were nice, the rockers crap. For that, see Cheap Trick or the Raspberries, or even the Beatles in a pinch

dave q, Friday, 19 October 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

First two = classic. Sister Lovers = dull + overrated.

The Rasperries - NO! Sugary proto-poodle soft-metal.

Dr. C, Friday, 19 October 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

ethan-i'vw made a kiss comparison myself ,but with the second album . the indie grandfathers aura works against this nice loser pop band , their first record sounds good anyway

francesco, Friday, 19 October 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

For giving Teenage Fanclub a career, classic. For inspiring every other halfwit Glaswegian indie band, dud.

Agree with dave q, the soppy gurly ballads win over the rockers everytime (esp on #1 record), and yup Sister Lovers is overwrought and overrated but any Lp with Holocaust, jesus christ and Kanga roo is ok by me (though I prefer This Mortal Coil's versions).

I will pass on the Raspberries coz' all I know about them is that they taste nice in trifle.

Billy Dods, Friday, 19 October 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Weeellll I've never been that partial to "#1 record" unless I'm completely in the right mood for it, the rockers sound forced but the ballads are wonderful, especially the last few on side two. "Radio city" is end to end genius without doubt. "Sister lovers" has too much of a reputation hanging around it of 'tortured genius' to ever live up to it - didn't NME vote it most depressing album of all time a few years back? Oh come on! But it still has moments. And I'm probably the only person here who'll admit that they like the Columbia live album (but hell I love the Posies so what do you expect?) The rockier songs from "#1" sound better on "Columbia" than the originals - discuss.

Rob M, Friday, 19 October 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

The three BS albums are like a drunk's progress. First album - happy buzz, sociable and 'up'. Second album - nasty, sloppy, mean-minded, initially amusing but unpleasant to be with. Third album - all the grief, dysfunction and ultimate serenity of the hangover. I like a lot of their stuff, I love a bit of their stuff - ultimately Chilton has to take some of the indirect blame for lo-fi's cult of the fuck- up.

Tom, Friday, 19 October 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Nice comparison Tom. Why didn't I have that idea? "Kangaroo" is the delirium tremens isn't it?

alex in mainhattan, Friday, 19 October 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Never heard them in my life.

the pinefox, Friday, 19 October 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

'Like Flies on Sherbert', the solo alb AC made after 'Sister Lovers', is the real good'un - we're talking one last reckless binge before the Betty Ford clinic beckoned. So ramshackle and woozy it makes the Dead C seem like King Crimson.

I also like 'I Am The Cosmos',the posthumous Chris Bell alb.

Andrew L, Friday, 19 October 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Foxy: you might actually like 'em quite a bit, especially the slower moments (Ballad of El Goodo, for ex., and of course the immortal Thirteen.)

Everyone else: The first two records rock Third's world. Radio City is, I think, my favorite of the moment, b/c tho it has fewer instant hits it feels mature and thoughtful as opposed to angsty. Also, because of Septermber Gurls. Third has probably the most breathtakingly stunning songs, but I can't listen to something so morose that often. I need lifestyle music, eh?

Sterling Clover, Friday, 19 October 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

dave q: I like the Raspberries reference. Very, very nice.

JM, Friday, 19 October 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Big Star weren't on Stax proper but rather Ardent, a Stax subsidiary with which Stax misguidedly took on the white rock market. I don't think it was much of a priority for Stax, which was a mixed blessing in that it allowed such a singularly weird band to pretty much do what they wanted but hurt them in that the Stax guys didn't have much interest in or aptitude for promoting anything other than soul.

fritz, Friday, 19 October 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Actually, Rob, I liked Columbia too, also being a fan of the Posies. I think it's maybe telling that I like a lot of the bands that Big Star influenced a bit more than I like Big Star proper (esp. Replacements), but mostly because they are more powerpop and eliminated most of the rawk cliches of those first two albums, whether they invented them or no.

Sean Carruthers, Friday, 19 October 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

anyway, what's wrong with kiss?

g, Friday, 19 October 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

or Teenage Fanclub for that matter? They have gotten a bit boring...

g, Friday, 19 October 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

The first time I heard "Thirteen" I nearly cried. I *heart* this band so much.

Helen Fordsdale, Friday, 19 October 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Big Star totally live up to the hype. Their history is nearly as compelling as their music. "Radio City" defines it's era, much like X's "Wild Gift" defines it's own era.

Mole Man, Saturday, 20 October 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Sean - doncha love it when everyone gets sidetracked?

I heard Big Star before I heard either the Posies or Replacements or even the Fannies (a brother who had exceedingly bad taste most of the time finally got something right when he got "#1 Record" / "Radio city" in '91), and I've converted my fellow bandmate (a Fannies / Replacements / Smithereens fan) into a BS fan, his trying to convert me on the 'Mats and Smithereens has never worked in my direction for some reason. But we're totally agreed on the Posies and the Fannies though. Odd. I just can't get my head around the 'Mats at all, I've tried loads of times with different LPs of theirs, but still nothing. Mind, Paul Westerburg's last solo LP was rather good!

Rob M, Monday, 22 October 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Call me old fashioned but I think one property of an era-defining record ought to be people actually buying it during that era, not 20 years later.

Tom, Monday, 22 October 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Smithereens - AAARGGGGHHHH (makes retching sounds)

dave q, Monday, 22 October 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

It is an era defining record, era being 1990 unfortunately.

TFC way, way better than BS.

Billy Dods, Monday, 22 October 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Could somebody PLEASE explain TFC's appeal? Start a new thread if you have to. This one really perplexes me.

dave q, Monday, 22 October 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

From my experience, Teenage Fanclub is exemplary of most Britpop bands - Hey! We like such-and-such bands! Let's pay homage to them through shameless, lifeless emulation! Everyone'll LOVE us!

Bandwagonesque was all fine & good, but a bit slow (even when going fast) and surprisingly bland as a whole. Pleasant in certain situations, though. This is the only album I can confidently speak on, so feel free to ignore my pronouncements.

David Raposa, Monday, 22 October 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Basically TFC = Big Star with 'originality' replaced by 'lyrics and sentiments early 90s students could relate to better'. As an early 90s student I hugely preferred them.

Tom, Monday, 22 October 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

From my experience, Teenage Fanclub is exemplary of most Britpop bands

'Britpop' = term with huge ever growing scope creep

Nick, Monday, 22 October 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

two years pass...
"Thirteen" is such a fucking good song.

NA (Nick A.), Tuesday, 4 May 2004 20:35 (fifteen years ago) link

Isn't it just.

Sick Nouthall (Nick Southall), Tuesday, 4 May 2004 20:52 (fifteen years ago) link

I like the third one the best myself. "Radio City" is the most fully realized of the three "official" BS albums, but "Third" really did something that hadn't been done before, I think.

The Stax org was in such disarray in the early '70s that it's a wonder the records even got out there as much as they did. I've read that each of the first two albums only got into the marketplace in ridiculously small quantities...4000/5000 is a number I've seen.

I don't know if they "define" any era. A post above maintains that to define era, their records would've have to been bought by somebody. So I guess they were one of the first true indie/critic's bands...the reviews were mostly glowing. In retrospect they do seem to define the period much better than any number of more popular acts, though. I see nothing wrong with revisionist nostalgia myself.

For a long time I loved them without reservation, then went thru a period during which I'd just heard them too much. For a lot of us they were like the Beatles, the absolute gold standard of pop records. Now I just accept them as a great pop band, period, and wish people would quit gushing about them so much, or maintaining that they weren't really all that good. As a live band they seem to have sucked; but I can't think of any better-conceived record than "Radio City." Such style. And they seem to define not an era but a state of mind, one epitomized by the Eggleston "red ceiling" photo that graced the original "RC" LP...bad dreams and vibes in an oversexed room, distilled into melancholy, perhaps? With a few good times vaguely recalled? Maybe that's the '70s, I don't know.

Interesting to see what the new Big Star album will be like...

eddie hurt (ddduncan), Tuesday, 4 May 2004 21:12 (fifteen years ago) link

a friend of mine is assisting with the engineering at Ardent. He says it sounds amazing.

of course, Chilton & company could scrape a chalkboard with rusty chisels and this guy would say it's the best thing ever.

(I think I listen to Third the most, too)

Will (will), Tuesday, 4 May 2004 22:25 (fifteen years ago) link

there is a new studio album?

kyle (akmonday), Tuesday, 4 May 2004 22:38 (fifteen years ago) link

Yeah, they've been recording at Ardent since March, I believe.

I wonder how committed Chilton is to the whole idea of Big Star these days. Probably not very. I didn't think much of "Hot Thing."

eddie hurt (ddduncan), Wednesday, 5 May 2004 00:22 (fifteen years ago) link

When did 'Hot Thing' come out?

de, Wednesday, 5 May 2004 00:24 (fifteen years ago) link

Umm, it was sometime after the Columbia reunion...maybe '95? It's on the somewhat misbegotten Rkyo "Big Star Story."

eddie hurt (ddduncan), Wednesday, 5 May 2004 00:26 (fifteen years ago) link

Yeah, £15 for a 'best of', £10 for #1 Record/Radio City. Hmmm.

de, Wednesday, 5 May 2004 00:38 (fifteen years ago) link

Really? That's so wrong.

eddie hurt (ddduncan), Wednesday, 5 May 2004 00:50 (fifteen years ago) link

Surprised there's no dedicated Prix thread

calstars, Thursday, 24 November 2016 23:11 (two years ago) link

are you really

Immediate Follower (NA), Friday, 25 November 2016 00:53 (two years ago) link

'Girl' is a dope jam

It sounds like the earliest attempt to 'do a Big Star'

PaulTMA, Friday, 25 November 2016 01:15 (two years ago) link

five months pass...


Trelayne Staley (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 5 May 2017 21:32 (two years ago) link

two months pass...

Yep. Here's press sheet for expanded Cosmos, with Complete CB to follow:

July 14, 2017


Though he died at age 27, the founding Big Star member
left a recorded legacy larger than commonly known.
I Am the The Cosmos contains eight unissued bonus tracks, plus two tracks appearing on CD for the first time. Liners by Alec Palao and Bob Mehr.

The Complete Chris Bell’s six LPs contains all the tracks released on
Looking Forward: The Roots Of Big Star and the deluxe I Am The Cosmos, plus a bonus LP with unheard 1975 interview, and an album by Bell’s Rock City.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — After co-founding Big Star, Chris Bell released only two tracks of new music during his lifetime — a 1978 single on the Car Records label run by Chris Stamey (The dB’s, Sneakers) titled “I Am The Cosmos” b/w “You and And Your Sister.” He would lose his life in a car accident later that same year. However, those were not the only tracks Bell had recorded in his post-Big Star years.

In 1974-1975, Bell worked in the famed Château D’Hérouville near Paris, France, and later recorded at both Shoe Studios and Ardent Studios in Memphis. Some of that material arrived in 1992 as I Am The Cosmos to great acclaim. An expanded 2009 release nearly doubled the track listing, adding alternate mixes, as well as some of Bell’s pre-Big Star recordings.

With those early recordings now taking their proper place on Looking Forward: The Roots Of Big Star (released by Omnivore in July, 2017), it is now time for the definitive version of I Am the The Cosmos.

In addition to the bonus material found on the 1992 release and 2009 reissue, this new
2-CD/Digital set adds 10 more tracks, eight of which are previously unissued; two make their CD debut. The packaging contains updated liner notes from set co-producer Alec Palao as well as Memphis author and journalist Bob Mehr and features previously unseen photographs. Also available the same day, the original 12 track “album” — first pressing on clear vinyl (with download card for the album tracks). All Chris Bell projects are being approved and overseen by Chris’ estate run by his brother, David.

With renewed reverence for his work in Big Star, as well as a look back at his earlier work, and an upcoming biography from Rich Tupica, the stars have aligned. This expanded edition of I Am The Cosmos arrives at the perfect time for long-time fans, as well of those who are just discovering the magic of Chris Bell.

The early Chris Bell-related recordings were compiled by Omnivore in a CD/Digital release titled Looking Forward: The Roots Of Big Star, released in July 2017. Those recordings now make their vinyl debut in the first two (of six) vinyl LPs of The Complete Chris Bell as Looking Forward: The Roots Of Big Star and Rock City — See Seven States.

Bell’s post-Big Star recordings have long been well known as an album first compiled by Rykodisc in 1992, and titled I Am The Cosmos. In September 2017, Omnivore issues the original I Am The Cosmos tracks on LP, newly remastered and cut at Ardent Studios. Also released at the same time will be a comprehensive two-CD/Digital deluxe edition of the album, including all known post-Big Star recordings. The freshly remastered I Am The Cosmos vinyl is included in The Complete Chris Bell as the third LP with the additional recordings from the 2-CD deluxe edition making up the two volumes of Outtakes & Alternates as LPs 4 & 5 with all the material making its vinyl debut.

Rounding out The Complete Chris Bell is an exclusive sixth LP that will only be available in the boxed set. It includes a never-before heard 1975 interview with Barry Ballard. Ballard interviewed Bell in London, and has graciously allowed the use of his original tape for the transfer and restoration so it could be included in this set. Bell’s remarks on everything from his solo recordings to Big Star are revelatory!

The Complete Chris Bell was produced and compiled by Grammy-Award winner Cheryl Pawelski, Ardent Studios’ Adam Hill, and Grammy-nominated producer Alec Palao. It was freshly remastered by Grammy-Award winning engineer Michael Graves, and the vinyl cut on the original lathe at Ardent Studios in Memphis by Chris Jackson and Adam Hill.

Liner notes are by co-producer Alec Palao and Bob Mehr (music critic for the daily Memphis newspaper The Commercial Appeal, and author of the New York Times bestseller Trouble Boys: The True Story Of The Replacements). The booklet also features previously unseen photos and memorabilia, plus a special excerpt from the forthcoming HoZac Books release There Was A Light: The Cosmic History of Of Chris Bell And The Rise Of Big Star by Rich Tupica.

The Complete Chris Bell boxed set will be a one-time pressing with individual volumes potentially broken out in the future as demand warrants (excluding the 1975 London Interview LP which will be exclusive to the boxed set).

The entire project was developed with the oversight of the Estate of Chris Bell and should serve as the definitive collection of the massively influential Chris Bell!

I Am The Cosmos 2-CD/Digital Track List:

Disc One:
1. I Am The Cosmos

2. Better Save Yourself

3. Speed Of Sound

4. Get Away

5. You And Your Sister

6. I Kinda Got Lost
7. Look Up

8. Make A Scene

9. There Was A Light

10. I Don’t Know
11. Fight At The Table

12. Though I Know She Lies

13. I Am The Cosmos (Acoustic Mix)*

14. You And Your Sister (Acoustic Version)

15. Look Up (Acoustic Movie Mix)*

16. Untitiled Acoustic Instrumental (Movie Mix)

Disc Two:
I. Am The Cosmos (Extended Alternate Version)
2. Better Save Yourself (Alternate Mix)

3. Speed Of Sound (Alternate Version)

4. Get Away (Alternate Version)

5. You And Your Sister (Alternate Version)

6. Make A Scene (Alternate Mix)

7. Fight At The Table (Alternate Mix)

8. I Don’t Know (Alternate Version)

9. Speed Of Sound (Alternate Version Backing Track)*
10. Stay With Me With Keith Sykes

11. In My Darkest Hour With Nancy Bryan
12. So Long Baby (Aka Clacton Rag)

13. Fight At The Table (Outtake Track With Partial Vocals)*
14. You And Your Sister (“Country” Underdub Mix)
15. Get Away (Outtake Track)*

16. Better Save Yourself (Outtake Track)*

17. I Am The Cosmos (Alternate Backing Track With Piano)*
18. Untitled Electric Instrumental (Movie Mix)
19 . Though I Know She Lies (Movie Mix)* 

*Previously Unissued

The Complete Chris Bell 6-LP Box Set Track List:

Looking Forward:
 The Roots Of Big Star

1. All I See Is You 

2. Looking Forward 

3. The Reason 

4. Oh My Soul (Backing Track) 

5. Feeling High (Alternate Backing Track) 


1. Feeling High 

2. Sunshine 

3. Psychedelic Stuff 

4. A Chance To Live 

5. Germany (Backing Track) 

6. All I See Is You (Alternate Backing Track) 

Rock City – See Seven States

1. Think It’s Time To Say Goodbye 

2. I Lost A Love 

3. The Wind Will Cry For Me 

4. My Life Is Right 

5. Lovely Lady 


1. The Answer 

2. Introduction 

3. Sunday Organ 

4. The Preacher 

5. Shine On Me 

6. Try Again (Original Mix)* 

I Am The Cosmos

1. I Am The Cosmos (Original Single) 

2. Better Save Yourself 

3. Speed Of Sound 

4. Get Away 

5. Make A Scene


1. Look Up 

2. I Kinda Got Lost 

3. There Was A Light 

4. Fight At The Table 

5. I Don’t Know 

6. Though I Know She Lies 

7. You And Your Sister (Original Single) 

Outtakes & Alternates, Volume 1

1. I Am The Cosmos (Extended Alternate Version)
2. Better Save Yourself (Alternate Mix)

3. Speed Of Sound (Alternate Version)

4. Get Away (Alternate Version)

5. You And Your Sister (Alternate Version)

1. Make A Scene (Alternate Mix)

2. Look Up (Acoustic Movie Mix)

3. Fight At The Table (Alternate Mix)
4. I Don’t Know (Alternate Version)
5. Speed Of Sound (Alternate Version/Backing Track)

Outtakes & Alternates, Volume 2

1. You And Your Sister (Acoustic Version)
2. Untitled Acoustic Instrumental (Movie Mix)

3. Stay With Me – with Keith Sykes

4. In My Darkest Hour – with Nancy Bryan
5. So Long Baby (aka Clacton Rag)

6. Fight At The Table (Outtake Track With Partial Vocals)

1. You And Your Sister (“Country” Underdub Mix)
2. Get Away (Outtake Track)

3. Better Save Yourself (Outtake Track)
4. I Am The Cosmos
(Alternate Backing Track With Piano)
5. Untitled Electric Instrumental (Movie Mix)

Interview With Barry Ballard, London 1977

1. Interview, Part 1*

1. Interview, Part 2*

2. Though I Know She Lies (Movie Mix)
3. I Am The Cosmos (Acoustic Mix)

* Previously unissued

# # #

Watch and feel free to post the Chris Bell trailer:

dow, Thursday, 27 July 2017 00:02 (two years ago) link

There are few things in the world I love more than Cosomos

calstars, Thursday, 27 July 2017 00:08 (two years ago) link

Oops. speaking of Looking Fwd, forgot to post this (point of doing so is that you don't gotta buy the box to get it)

May 8, 2016


22-track collection of pre-Big Star recordings also features Jody Stephens,
Terry Manning, Tom Eubanks, Steve Rhea and Alan Palmore.
Contains six unissued tracks,
plus new liner notes by Grammy® nominee Alec Palao

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — While Chris Bell is known as a founding member of Big Star (and for his posthumous classic song “I Am The Cosmos”), his story did not begin with that legendary band. Looking Forward: The Roots of Big Star featuring Chris Bell delivers the origins of his incredible, influential and far-too-short career.

The 22-track collection, including six previously unissued tracks, is the first of its kind to chronicle the music made by and with Bell before Big Star’s iconic #1 Record—with such projects as Rock City, Christmas Future, Icewater, The Wallabys and more. It examines Bell’s progress as a writer, performer and engineer leading up to Big Star, a journey in which the sounds and roots of Big Star are completely evident. Coupled with the previously issued Alex Chilton compilation Free Again: The “1970” Sessions, these two releases provide a look at the evolution of Big Star.

Looking Forward’s packaging contains photos and liners from Grammy®-nominated writer (and set producer) Alec Palao, as well as quotes from Bell’s bandmates (Jody Stephens, Terry Manning, Tom Eubanks, Steve Rhea) and collaborators (Alan Palmore, Ardent Studio founder John Fry), telling the story of how this true talent came to be, who he was, and what he means to us all—a talent we celebrate to this day.

But to truly understand the sounds that influenced so many, one only needs to be Looking Forward. As Palao writes in his liner notes, “Both the hardcore Big Star aficionado and the casual listener will enjoy Looking Forward in the spirit intended: as the inspirations behind an inspirational act.

Chris Bell’s post-Big Star material will continue to unfold in further CD, LP and Digital releases in 2017. The original I Am the Cosmos album will be released in the fall on a single LP and double-CD/Digital deluxe edition. The Complete Chris Bell—a six-LP boxed set—is set for release in late 2017 and will collect all the material from both Looking Forward and the deluxe edition of I Am The Cosmos. Complete will also include all liner notes to the aforementioned projects, plus an excerpt from the forthcoming book by Rich Tupica, There Was A Light: The Cosmic History of Big Star Founder Chris Bell. The book will be released in the winter on HoZac Books. All Chris Bell-related projects are being produced with the approval and oversight of the estate of Chris Bell.

Track listings and further details for I Am The Cosmos and The Complete Chris Bell will be announced at a later date.

Track listing:
1. Think It’s Time To Say Goodbye
2. All I See Is You
3. My Life Is Right

4. Feeling High

5. Looking Forward

6. The Wind Will Cry For Me

7. Psychedelic Stuff
8. The Reason*
9. I Lost A Love
10. A Chance To Live*

11. The Answer

12. Lovely Lady

13. Sunshine

14. Introduction
15. Sunday Organ

16. The Preacher

17. Shine On Me
18. Try Again (Movie Mix, 2012)
19. Germany (Backing Track)*
20. Oh My Soul (Backing Track)*

21. All I See Is You (Alternate Backing Track)*
22. Feeling High (Alternate Backing Track)*

* Previously Unissued

# # #

dow, Thursday, 27 July 2017 00:10 (two years ago) link

And see about expanded Man Called Destruction over on Alex Chilton S&D

dow, Thursday, 27 July 2017 00:11 (two years ago) link

But as mentioned upthread, you can find Rock City and other Big Star/Ardent-relevant material on Spotify and YouTube.

dow, Thursday, 27 July 2017 00:14 (two years ago) link

(The latter can disappear duh)

dow, Thursday, 27 July 2017 00:14 (two years ago) link

Thought Looking Forward just appeared on Spotify a few weeks ago.

I am listening to "Sunshine on my Shoulders" by John Denver for the first time in about 40 years: Greatest Hits from '73 was one of the only records my parents had (suddenly remembered the orch-prog opus "The Eagle and the Hawk" and listened to the whole comp) (know that Glen C. is the pop-country artist everybody's thinking about now, but he never meant much to me)…

I bet Chris and Alex liked this song so much that they rewrote it to address their love affair (my harebrained theory): A/B this song with "thirteen" and then dare to tell me that they or possibly John Fry didn't dig John D. Fry probably was secure enuff to admit it, but no way could Alex or Chris say that they liked a square like Denver. What would Charlie Rich think of Alex if he knew that he dug JD?

veronica moser, Wednesday, 9 August 2017 01:44 (two years ago) link

one month passes...

Finally getting around to listening to some of the alternate/rough mixes on the Complete Third. Sitting with my boy (he's 11) picking through the soundstage, trying to place, aurally, who's were, who's adding what, and what time of night (dawn) it might be. I'm sure there are examples, but right now, I can't think of another record where the grime and light of the studio space (not to mention outside) are so viscerally present in the texture of the recording.

The shard-borne beetle with his drowsy hums (Chinaski), Saturday, 16 September 2017 20:30 (two years ago) link

from Secretly Canadian (publicists):

Photography Pioneer William Eggleston Announces Debut Album, Musik, Out October 20th

Music of wild joy with freedom and bright, vivid colors."
- David Lynch

This is one of those announcements that we don't, can't, and won't get tired of repeating. Native Memphian William Eggleston, 77, who is widely regarded to be the most important photographer of the late 20th Century, has announced his debut record, Musik, due out October 20th. You likely know Eggleston for his remarkable, colorful photography and singular way of looking at the world, but let's delve into the artist's history with the musical medium.

It was during Eggleston's Sumner, Mississippi childhood, where he discovered the piano in the parlor that ignited in him a lifelong passion for music. It was a passion he carried forth his entire life, playing quite adeptly when a piano was handy: improvised turns on Bach, Handel, gospel, country, and popular selections from the Great American Songbook for friends and family. Though his travels found him rubbing elbows with Andy Warhol's Factory superstars in New York, where he lived for several years with Viva at the Chelsea Hotel, and observing a music scene in Memphis that included Big Star's Alex Chilton, and his old friend and owner of Ardent Studios, engineer Jon Fry, his own music went largely unheard by the general public.

In the 1980s, Eggleston, who disdained digital cameras and modernity in general, became surprisingly fascinated with a synthesizer, the Korg OW/1 FD Pro, which had 88 piano-like keys, and in addition to being able to emulate the sound of any instrument, also contained a four-track sequencer that allowed him to expand the palette of his music, letting him create improvised symphonic pieces, stored on 49 floppy discs, encompassing some 60 hours of music from which this 13 track recording was assembled.

Eggleston lives today in a small apartment off Memphis' Overton Park that he shares with a 9-foot Bosendorfer grand piano and an arsenal of ultra-high fidelity audio equipment, some of which was designed by his son, William Eggleston III. The synthesizer, alas, is broken and stubbornly refuses to be repaired, so for the purpose of this project another was purchased in order to be able to play back the floppy discs, which, along with a handful of DATs and other digital media, though frail, were digitized and mastered for this and future releases.

Mr. Eggleston often says that he feels that music is his first calling, as much a part of him, at least, as his photography. We take special pride in allowing the world to hear this side of a great artist who may now be rightly called a great musician.

dow, Saturday, 23 September 2017 19:18 (one year ago) link

Newcomers can check Egg party pix of Big Star Upthread, also he did some of their official photos, album covers etc, played piano on xpost "Nature Boy", and is xpost Lesa A.'s cousin.

dow, Saturday, 23 September 2017 19:22 (one year ago) link

lower-case "upthread", that is.

dow, Saturday, 23 September 2017 19:23 (one year ago) link

three months pass...

Only just noticed the sex position pictures in the lower corner of the Radio City cover photo.

Moodles, Thursday, 18 January 2018 03:20 (one year ago) link

From this interview with Andy, the cover photo was taken at William Eggleston's home:

PSF: The graphics were indeed special- what was with the cover and that ceiling light fixture (if that's what it was)?

Alex knew Bill Eggleston through his parents I believe. His mother was an art dealer and Bill, of course was a very gifted local photographer. Bill was a major hell raiser, as were Alex and me at the time. We drank a lot, stayed out all night, and took all manner of drugs. Somehow we got hooked up with him and Alex talked him into doing the cover. I could go on and on about Bill's techniques and all, which were truly innovative and brilliant, and which I kind of made note of, being very much into photography myself, but I'm sure there are lots of books available that deal with all that now that he's world famous and all. But we wound up at the TGI Friday's on Overton square one Monday night which was "Rock and Roll Night." It was a major hell-raising scene in those days. A DJ would play old 45's and just everyone came and stuffed the place. That was the back cover. Then we went over to Bill's later on and he suggested the light on the ceiling pic, which he had previously taken. We all loved it and I thought it fit perfectly with the sort of avant garde nature of the LP.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Saturday, 20 January 2018 19:48 (one year ago) link

But was Eggleston known for sneaking erotic graphics into his photos?

Moodles, Saturday, 20 January 2018 19:55 (one year ago) link

Considering those were on the walls of his home, probably?

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Saturday, 20 January 2018 21:00 (one year ago) link

two months pass...

Finally fixing to listen to this:

November 3, 2017


1973 hometown concert, which preceded the band’s legendary
Rock Writers Convention showcase,
to be available on CD, Digital and — for the first time — double LP.

Features liner notes by Bud Scoppa and new mastering
by Grammy® Award-winning producer Michael Graves.
Digital format features a 1972 radio interview with Jon Scott.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It is well known that Big Star played a one-off promotional concert for the Memphis Rock Writers Convention at Lafayette’s Music Room in Memphis in May of 1973. The show cemented them into legendary status, after the journalists who witnessed it carried the message of Big Star out in their writing, even though the band had only released one album, #1 Record, and were unsure of recording a second after the departure of co-founder Chris Bell.

What may not be so widely known is that the trio played the same venue four months earlier with the same power and passion opening shows for the Houston R&B band Archie Bell & the Drells. First issued as Disc 4 of the Grammy® Award-winning Keep An Eye On The Sky box set, Live At Lafayette’s Music Room sees new light as a stand-alone release, available on January 12, 2018 from Omnivore Recordings on CD, Digital, and for the first time, double LP.

The performance has never sounded better, thanks to new mastering and restoration from Grammy®-winning engineer Michael Graves, with supervision from Grammy®-winning producer Cheryl Pawelski.

The 20-track set features material from Big Star’s debut, #1 Record; songs that would appear on the (not yet recorded) follow-up, Radio City; and choice covers from The Kinks, Todd Rundgren, The Flying Burrito Brothers, and T. Rex. As an added bonus, all formats include a download of a previously unissued 1972 interview with Alex Chilton and Andy Hummel from the summer of 1971 with Jon Scott on Memphis’ FM 100.

Packaging features new liner notes from Bud Scoppa, who was friends with the band and in attendance at the 1973 Rock Writer’s show. His most recent work for Omnivore was an integral part of the acclaimed Big Star box set Complete Third, and earned him the ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor/ Virgil Thomson Awards for outstanding print, broadcast and new media coverage of music.

Although an opening slot for Archie Bell, and with few live performances under their belt, Scoppa writes: “The recording documents a band morphing into a remarkably versatile trio under the most challenging of circumstances.”
Experience the only known document of Big Star at this pivotal point in their short, but massively influential career. Omnivore is proud to present Live At Lafayette’s Music Room.

Track Listing:
1. When My Baby’s Beside Me
2. My Life Is Right
3. She’s A Mover
4. Way Out West
5. The Ballad Of El Goodo
6. In The Street
7. Back Of A Car
8. Thirteen
9. The India Song
10. Try Again
11. Watch The Sunrise
12. Don’t Lie To Me
13. Hot Burrito #2
14. I Got Kinda Lost
15. Baby Strange
16. Slut
17. There Was A Light
18. St 100/6
19. Come On Now
20. O My Soul

Download Only:
Alex Chilton and Andy Hummel Interview with Jon Scott on FM 100, Summer 1972*


Watch (and feel free to post) the Big Star Live at Lafayette’s trailer:
oops that's gone but here's a live set in Cambridge Mass, '74:

dow, Thursday, 12 April 2018 01:27 (one year ago) link

Digging "Mod Lang" and "Candy Says" in Cambridge---don't think that one's been on legit Big Star album? Supposedly this was recorded on a boom box--and the announcer says they're playing unfamiliar, borrowed instruments, because all their gear got stolen last night, but I especially like the room for aural definition of one guitar, bass and drums, when they get cranked up (from "Mod Lang" to "Candy..." to "Til The End of the Day" to "O My Soul," for inst)

dow, Thursday, 12 April 2018 01:42 (one year ago) link

from post-Fahey thread:

Speaking of you are there, was just now struck by an exemplary acoustic trio subset, almost midway through Big Star's Live At Lafayette's Music Room: rough and ready recording maps vivid, kinetic detail of "Thirteen," "The India Song," "Try Again," (Dobro? Bajo sexto?), and "Watch The Sunrise," which I think Edd Hurt pointed out on the main Big Star thread as being inspired by and/or lifted from Gimmer Nicholson.

This acoustically electrified sequence def. sustains and builds momentum of the whole, staying in exploratory, retrospective and introspective character while bearing down, committed to the now like trio Thompson (even though press material claims they weren't even sure at that point about making a second album, with Bell gone; maybe shows like this showed them they could).

― dow, Monday, April 16, 2018 3:06 PM (five days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Also the electrically electrified, yet ballad-y as hell, in a good way, performance of "Ballad of El Goodo," which I've never been el fondo of, but they got me here.

― dow, Monday, April 16, 2018 3:13 PM (five days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

omg i love that song

is there someone singing?

― weird woman in a bar (La Lechera)

Oh yeah you know it! Also good picking and chording in the undercurrents of St 100/6.

― dow, Monday, April 16, 2018 7:57 PM

more on Lafayette's from blogged notes:
A plugged “Hot Burrito #2”, hooked by sour resolution,
worries intractable tractor pulls of desire and fatalism up and down
the back staircase, parking lot, and main drag, like “In A Car”
and several other BS originals, long after the set opens with
poptopia of “When My Baby’s Beside Me” (“I don’t have to think”)
and the ark arcs of “My Life Is Right.” not to mention hairline visions
at lost loveliest / whine as wine “Thirteen.”
Chilton later described his Big Star self as “a maudlin young man.”
Not cool, why try to go back to that? Except on the circuit:
Big Star 2.0's tight tributes swapping spotlights with Box Tops, and solo sets at maybe at best like
(see about expanded reissue of A Man Called Destruction over on Alex Chilton S&D)

dow, Saturday, 21 April 2018 22:00 (one year ago) link

and lastly maybe, a note to self on Twitter:
n 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.

dow, Saturday, 21 April 2018 22:04 (one year ago) link

can someone id the track that starts 20 seconds into this video? first ~19 seconds are from surfer girl 1980 outtake sam phillips studio but then it cuts to this wicked solo from something else

flopson, Sunday, 22 April 2018 01:37 (one year ago) link

"Sleepwalk"? No--? Thanks for posting that nuggetory.

dow, Sunday, 22 April 2018 03:47 (one year ago) link

"A Little Fishy," 1977 Elektra demo

peisistratos, Sunday, 22 April 2018 03:57 (one year ago) link

my man

flopson, Tuesday, 24 April 2018 23:50 (one year ago) link

three weeks pass...

The kinks “Victoria” just came on at the bar and damn it sounds very Starry

calstars, Saturday, 19 May 2018 18:00 (one year ago) link

two months pass...

You must’ve been drunk

Naive Teen Idol, Saturday, 21 July 2018 13:58 (one year ago) link

But it's over now.

The shard-borne beetle with his drowsy hums (Chinaski), Saturday, 21 July 2018 15:09 (one year ago) link

three months pass...

In 1969, Dickinson recommended Alabama’s Muscle Shoals Sound Studio to the Rolling Stones, and was allowed to attend the session that produced “Brown Sugar.” He was asked to play piano on “Wild Horses,” ostensibly because the Stones’ piano player Ian Stewart refused to play minor chords.

That is next-level.

DJI, Friday, 2 November 2018 22:16 (ten months ago) link

bhahahaha what a dick

Οὖτις, Friday, 2 November 2018 22:17 (ten months ago) link

lol that sounds like a dickinson tall tale to me, but I guess it's true:

He was once asked why he did not play piano on “Wild Horses.” Stu laughed and said “minor chords! “I don’t play minor chords. When I’m playing on stage with the Stones and a minor chord comes along, I lift me hands in protest.”

maybe not "refused to" but "couldn't"

tylerw, Friday, 2 November 2018 22:21 (ten months ago) link

"I lift me hands in protest" huge lol

brimstead, Friday, 2 November 2018 22:53 (ten months ago) link

I don't see how it's possible to be able to play major chords on piano and not be able to play minor chords - it's not like one's more difficult than the other.

Alma Kirby (Tom D.), Friday, 2 November 2018 23:08 (ten months ago) link

A gang of Minor Chords beat Stu w/switch in a stable when he was a mere lad.

The Greta Van Gerwig (C. Grisso/McCain), Friday, 2 November 2018 23:10 (ten months ago) link

My friend just told me the story of a famous session bassist (not being coy, forget his name!) who iirc refused to play a low E because you could't hear it on the radio.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 2 November 2018 23:15 (ten months ago) link

From "Great Moments in Recording Studio History," Spin magazine, April, 1989:

In the middle of the Rolling Stones' "Brown Sugar" session, piano player Ian Stewart stopped things dead, and told Charlie Watts that his tom-toms were out of tune with the bass guitar.
"I never tune my drums," Watts told him blankly, and they started playing again. But a bit later, Stewart stopped everyone again and looked at Watts.
"What do you mean you never tune your drums?"
"Why tune something I'm just gonna go and beat the shit out of?" Watts answered. "I'll hit them for a while and then they'll be in tune again."

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Saturday, 3 November 2018 00:35 (ten months ago) link

I bet John B and Eddie K tuned the shit out of the drums (in contrast)

calstars, Saturday, 3 November 2018 02:46 (ten months ago) link

So if you'd like this on vinyl or a possibly better-sounding CD than the Ryko:

Big Star
Live On WLIR
Release date: January 25, 2019

Pre-Order CD $16.98

Pre-Order 2-LP $29.98

Remastered and restored performance originally recorded and broadcast in 1974
Big Star recorded their second album, Radio City, as a trio, after the departure of founding member Chris Bell. When it came time to tour, original bassist Andy Hummel decided to return to school to pursue his engineering education. With this departure, Alex Chilton and Jody Stephens recruited fellow Memphis native John Lightman to take over on bass duties, and the band readied their live set.

That set is on display as Big Star recorded a radio session at Ultrasonic Studios in New York for broadcast on the city’s preeminent WLIR. Nearly two decades later, those recordings were issued as Live in 1992. Omnivore Recordings is proud to reintroduce those recordings, restored and remastered from the original tapes, as Live On WLIR, on CD—and, its first official release on LP.

The 15 track set features material from the band’s two releases, as well as a cover of “Motel Blues” by Loudon Wainwright III (which originally appeared on his classic 1971 sophomore release, Album II).

With new, updated liner notes from Memphis writer/filmmaker, Robert Gordon (who won a Grammy® for his essay in 2010’s Big Star boxed set Keep An Eye On The Sky) and an interview with John Lightman by Chris Bell biographer Rich Tupica (There Was A Light: The Cosmic History Of Big Star Founder Chris Bell), Live On WLIR enters the Big Star canon in the form it deserves. Because, you know, you get what you deserve.

LP does not include a download card.

dow, Friday, 9 November 2018 02:37 (ten months ago) link


Van Duren
Waiting: The Van Duren Story (Original Documentary Soundtrack)
Release date: February 1, 2019

Pre-Order CD $16.98

Pre-Order LP $21.98

Digital Available February 1

Soundtrack to the original documentary film Waiting: The Van Duren Story.
Memphis musician Van Duren had it all going for himself. He was managed and produced by Andrew Loog Oldham (The Rolling Stones) in the 1970s, he was a contemporary of Big Star and was in a post-Big Star band (Baker Street Regulars) with Chris Bell and Jody Stephens, and had made a debut album, Are You Serious?, that had some people comparing him to Paul McCartney. But instead of being the next big thing, he faded into obscurity.

Though he didn’t break through with Are You Serious?, and a second album was recorded and shelved (eventually released in 1999), Van continued making music. With his band, Good Question, he had a regional hit with the song “Jane” that had record companies sniffing around, but again, to no avail.

Forty years later and a world away, two Australians, Wade Jackson and Greg Carey, came across Duren’s lost album, fell in love with the music and set out to discover what went wrong. They tracked Van Duren down on Facebook and despite having never picked up a movie camera, they journeyed to the U.S. to meet Van Duren and tell his story.

Along the way, they crossed paths with rock stars, Scientologists, and a host of talented musicians who never quite made it. The film took them to North America, Columbia, Japan and back to Australia, staying true to their pledge to finish the film and shine light on Van Duren.

Van’s lost career is a parable of the trials and tribulations of the music industry—an industry that leaves countless broken dreamers behind in its wake. Waiting: The Van Duren Story is a love letter to the artist and his music that should have helped define a generation.

The film will go a long way to right a decades-old wrong, and the Omnivore soundtrack, Waiting: The Van Duren Story Original Documentary Soundtrack—due out February 1, 2019—will put Van Duren where he’s belonged all along, in the record racks for music lovers to discover.

ANDY, PLEASE – Duren Stephens *
JUST YOU TELL ME (Live at Ardent Studios) *
JANE – Good Question
* Previously unissued.

dow, Friday, 9 November 2018 02:40 (ten months ago) link

The filmmakers who did the Van Duren doc used some of my interview w/ Van, which is kinda cool. I haven't seen it yet. "Andy, Please" is from the Ardent sessions Van did before he cut the first album, and I've heard all of those sessions and they're actually better than what Jon Tiven did on the first LP, which was a bit stiff and lacking the aural depth of the Big Star albums. The version of "Grow Yourself Up" from the Ardent demo sessions is superior to the one on Are You Serious?/Staring at the Ceiling, which is the UK title for the album.

eddhurt, Friday, 9 November 2018 03:37 (ten months ago) link

There's also a live Van Duren album from around 1979, Chemical Fire, that's OK. I'm not a big fan of his later work solo and w/ Vicki Loveland; pretty good kind of post-McCartney stuff lacking the eccentricity and bite of his early work or Big Star's, sorta Emitt Rhodes lite which is already McCartney lite. Van's been playing in Memphis for years, a journeyman. The Van Duren-Tommy Hoehn records are OK, kinda XTC lite, a bit more interesting than you'd think.

eddhurt, Friday, 9 November 2018 03:41 (ten months ago) link

one month passes...
two weeks pass...

I pulled a vintage cut-out copy of Tommy Hoehn's debut Losing You To Sleep from the bargain bin at a local vinyl sale last month. Didn't get around to actually spinning it until a couple weeks ago, only find it had some edge warp that ruined the openers on each side. Looking online for a replacement I discover it's going for a little more than I want to spend rn, but I manage to land a sleeveless copy of Spacebreak, the indie label version of the album (minus one cut) for about $5 on ebay, and it arrived the other day.

It strikes me as sort of weird that we've seen so much Big Star-related ephemera reissued and reissued again these past several years, but this record has still (mostly) escaped the net. Good album, hits a nice middle ground between early Big Star and Dwight Twilley Band. Hoehn's solo version of "She Might Look My Way" is here, alongside the coulda-been underground hit "Blow Yourself Up".

I notice there's a Hoehn comp on Spotify that is also called Losing You To Sleep--it has the whole album interspersed with demos and bonus tracks.

Infidels, Like Dylan In The Eighties (C. Grisso/McCain), Sunday, 20 January 2019 22:47 (seven months ago) link

one month passes...

Don’t wanna see your face. Don’t want to hear you talk at all

calstars, Thursday, 21 February 2019 13:51 (six months ago) link

one month passes...

Lesa Aldridge, last seen way upthread, singing with Mr. C. and delivering her own version of "Til The End of the Day" (also co-writing "Downs") on The Complete Third, is now back in The Klitz baby, who are Basement angels, at least when performing on the head of a pin, with tiny sharp sounds coming though just fine in a set recorded by Edd Hurt at Hashville's The Basement: plenty of Moe Tucker appeal I'd say, with girlie voices usually---especially in effective contrast with the likes of boy-associated songs like "Hanky Panky, "I've Had It," and "Rock Hard," which is the only Chilton song I recognize here---but also getting louder and other things when appropriate, and always got flexible doo-wop-surf-rockabilly-Velvets rhythm guitar and drums, with keys and bass surfacing or felt just enough. Longest song is about 2:48-50, most about half that, never skimpy.
I'll have to buy a record player to hear their '18 collection, Rocking The Memphis Underground: 1978=1980, but they've also posted things on YouTube,
Edd's backstory and new quotes here:

dow, Tuesday, 9 April 2019 03:15 (five months ago) link

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