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Saturday, November 21, 2009


Alex Chilton, RIP.

Not only have I been a massive fan of his work with the Box Tops, Big Star and on his own, Alex introduced me to so much great r&b (Willie Tee, Eddie Floyd, etc) and I am very thankful for that.

The voice of Alex Chilton was a national treasure; taking elements of his hometown (Memphis) and absorbing that city's soul, blues and rockabilly and distilling it through British invasion splendor this was a man that saw no color boundaries in music; the true spirit of this blog, actually. The last time I saw him perform was at the Ponderosa Stomp (was it last year or the year before- can't remember) where he was playing guitar (he was an unsung, incredible guitarist as well) in one of the backing groups, seemingly happy as can be in the shadows. You will be sorely missed, Mr Chilton.

Now this has been a band that has been on almost constant rotation since I was working at a great independent record store back when I was 16 or so and my boss introduced me to more great music that has been a constant inspiration.

With the exception of some wise critics, at the time of their existence Big Star were all but ignored. However, their Memphis bred power pop (with a whole lot of homegrown hometown grit and soul- notice Ardent records was part of the crumbling Stax records empire) has been slow burning over the years which has culminated in Rhino Records' recently issued box set which is a real work of art and one of the best all time archival releases (and remember, that's coming from someone who really can't stand CD's).

Big Star's albums are superb, but this track is just such a perfect match for the 45 RPM format and the fact that it wasn't massive just kills me. Also, I look at the failure of this record as being a metaphor of the end of the glory years of rock and roll. From this point on, with rare exceptions, the days of music such as this succeeding was over, thanks to big business taking over, segregating radio and effectively killing the single. How interesting that with the download/ itunes revolution, we are now back to the single revolution...

Oh yeah; the other side of this 45 is "In The Street"; used years later (in an inferior version) as the theme song to "That 70's Show". Finally, Alex Chilton got the pay day he deserved.

from 1972...



Scott said...

I recently bought the Big Star box set and I love it! Did you get the limited edition 45 they released in conjunction? Alternate mixes of Feel b/w Mod Lang with the reproduction Ardent label w/ the picture sleeve.

Derek See said...

best box set ever? perhaps! I sure did get the pic sleeve 45. Very nice.