Big Star “The Very Best of Big Star”
If you are a casual fan who only wants to know what all the big deal is over this early 1970s cult band, then start here. Although modern audiences rediscovered Big Star through the theme to That ’70s Show, the band’s short lifespan burned bright enough to earn the belated respect and influence generations of power pop artists.
From Memphis, Tennessee founders Chris Bell and Alex Chilton created a style that was part Beatlesque melody and part southern soul music, under the watchful eye of Ardent studio wizard John Fry. Most of the essential cuts are here, taken from all three studio albums fully re-mastered with liner notes authored by Robert Gordon. The perfect gift for your musically challenged friend when he asks you “What is Power Pop music?” Music snobs (you know who you are) should stick with the Keep An Eye On The Sky boxset.
Chris Bell and More “Looking Forward: The Roots Of Big Star”
We all know Alex Chilton was the leader of The Box Tops prior to Big Star, but less is known (or heard) about the origins of singer-songwriter Chris Bell. This album collects many of Bell’s “lost” recordings from his previous bands; Rock City, Icewater and The Wallabys. And for the hardcore Big Star aficionado, this is pure musical catnip.
Bell’s pre-Big Star output foreshadows what was to come (“My Life Is Right” and “Try Again” were included in Big Star’s #1 Record). Extensive liner notes interview Bell’s bandmates at the time, and a few nascent tracks like “Think It’s Time To Say Goodbye” and “All I See Is You” could’ve been Big Star hits. Mostly this is a fascinating collection, expertly produced by the folks at Omnivore Recordings. Highly recommended to Big Star fans.