Saturday, June 6, 2009

Big Star to release Keep An Eye On The Sky Box Set

The legacy of Memphis, Tennessee Power Pop legends Big Star never ceases to amaze.

A bit of history..

The band began life as Rock City (and then Icewater) in 1971 lead by guitarist/vocalist Chris Bell (formerly of The Jynx) with bassist/vocalist Andy Hummel and drummer/vocalist Jody Stephens. Guitarist/vocalist (and former lead singer for The Box Tops) Alex Chilton joined a few months into the bands existence. The band changed their name to Big Star - after a local supermarket chain. Much like fellow would-be contemporaries The Raspberries the band took their inspiration from several British Invasion groups like The Beatles, The Kinks and The Who in addition to American artists The Beach Boys and The Byrds.

The band recorded three albums - #1 Record & Radio City for Ardent/Stax Records and Third for PVC - each one met with glowing reviews but plagued by minimal distribution. Chris Bell left the band after #1 Record, followed by Andy Hummel after Radio City, the band then breaks up and Chris Bell passes away in a 1978 automobile accident - strangely, on Alex Chilton's birthday.

Meanwhile, their extremely hard-to-find recorded work grows in stature to legendary proportions thanks in part to The Replacements, R.E.M. and The Bangles spreading the word in the 1980's and Teenage Fanclub, The Posies, Cheap Trick, Wilco, Weezer and others doing the same in the 1990's. Which resulted in Rykodisc releasing four Big Star/Chris Bell releases, Norton releasing Nobody Can Dance and two fine reunion albums recorded with half of The Posies - Columbia: Live At Missouri University 4/25/93 and In Space.

So what is on the 98-track, four disc set? You get massive liner-notes and photos, previously unreleased songs, alternate takes, unreleased studio demos, alternate mixes, plus twenty-songs from a three-night stint in January 1973 spent opening for Archie Bell & The Drells ("Tighten Up") - reputedly the best live recording of the band, ever. Including covers of songs by Todd Rundgren, The Flying Burrito Brothers, The Kinks and T.Rex. The holy-grail of all things Big Star to be sure.

Rhino Records are set to release the Big Star box set Keep An Eye On The Sky on September 15th.

Disc One

01 Chris Bell: "Psychedelic Stuff"
02 Icewater: "All I See Is You"
03 Alex Chilton: "Every Day as We Grow Closer" (Original Mix)
03 Rock City: "Try Again" (Early Version)
04 Rock City: "The Preacher"
05 Feel
06 The Ballad of El Goodo (Alternate Mix)
07 In the Street
08 Thirteen (Alternate Mix)
09 Don't Lie to Me
10 The India Song
11 When My Baby's Beside Me (Alternate Mix)
12 My Life Is Right (Alternate Mix)
13 Give Me Another Chance (Alternate Mix)
14 Try Again
15 Chris Bell: "Gone With the Light"
16 Watch the Sunrise
17 ST 100/6 (Alternate Mix)
18 In the Street (Second Recorded Version)
19 Feel (Early Mix)
20 The Ballad of El Goodo (Alternate Lyrics)
21 The India Song (Alternate Version)
22 Country Morn
23 I Got Kinda Lost (Demo)
24 Motel Blues (Demo)

Disc Two

01 There Was a Light (Demo)
02 Life Is White (Demo)
03 What's Going Ahn (Demo)
04 O My Soul
05 Life Is White
06 Way Out West (Alternate Mix)
07 What's Going Ahn
08 You Get What You Deserve (Alternate Mix)
09 Mod Lang (Alternate Mix)
10 Back of a Car (Alternate Mix)
11 Daisy Glaze
12 She's A Mover
13 September Gurls
14 Morpha Too (Alternate Mix)
15 I'm in Love With a Girl
16 O My Soul (Alternate Version)
17 Back of a Car (Demo)
18 Daisy Glaze (Alternate Take)
19 She's a Mover (Alternate Version)
20 Chris Bell: "I Am the Cosmos"
21 Chris Bell: "You and Your Sister"
22 Alex Chilton: "Blue Moon" (Demo)
23 Alex Chilton: "Femme Fatale" (Demo)
24 Alex Chilton: Thank You Friends" (Demo)
25 Alex Chilton: "You Get What You Deserve" (Demo)

Disc Three

01 Alex Chilton: "Lovely Day (aka Stroke It Noel)" (Demo)
02 Alex Chilton: "Downs" (Demo)
03 Alex Chilton: "Nightime" (Demo)
04 Alex Chilton: "Jesus Christ" (Demo)
05 Alex Chilton: "Holocaust" (Demo)
06 Alex Chilton: "Take Care" (Demo)
07 Alex Chilton: "Big Black Car" (Alternate Demo)
08 Manana *
09 Jesus Christ
10 Femme Fatale
11 O, Dana
12 Kizza Me
14 You Can't Have Me
15 Nightime
16 Dream Lover
17 Blue Moon
18 Take Care
19 Stroke It Noel
20 For You
21 Downs
22 Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On
23 Big Black Car
24 Holocaust
25 Kanga Roo
26 Thank You Friends
27 Till The End of the Day
28 Lovely Day
29 Nature Boy

Disc Four (Live At Lafayette's Music Room, Memphis, TN January 1973)

01 When My Baby's Beside Me
02 My Life Is Right
03 She's a Mover
04 Way Out West
05 The Ballad of El Goodo
06 In the Street
07 Back of a Car
08 Thirteen
09 The India Song
10 Try Again
11 Watch the Sunrise
12 Don't Lie to Me
13 Hot Burrito #2 (The Flying Burrito Brothers)
14 I Got Kinda Lost
15 Baby Strange (T.Rex)
16 Slut (Todd Rundgren)
17 There Was a Light
18 ST 100/6
19 Come On Now (The Kinks)
20 O My Soul

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