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Big Star’s In Space – Review

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Alex Chilton presents the history of rock on one 12-track CD. Let’s face it, the guy was there. Had a number one hit with the “Box Tops” when he was 16. Toured with the Beach Boys in the sixties. Helped form Big Star and influenced bands such as R.E.M. and The Replacements to name a few.

Now, thirty years after the last Big Star album – Third/Sister Lovers – was released, Alex releases a fourth Big Star album, with the latest incarnation of the band that’s been together since 1993 (longer than the original line-up). In Space is the Big Star album Alex Chilton probably always wanted to make. It has a lot more soul than the other three, but that makes for a more enjoyable listen. Sonically the CD is like a musical trip around the radio dial in the sixties.

Let’s take a tour, shall we, through the history of rock:

1. “Dony” – Alex Chilton Big Star sound

2. “Lady Sweet” – A Chris Bell Big Star-type song, Jon Auer handles the vocal duties.

3. “Best Chance We’ve Ever Had” – the drummer Jody Stephens carries on the Beatles/Kinks/Big Star sound

4. “Turn My Back On The Sun” – Stringfellow of the Posies does his best Beach Boys-type tune

5. “Love Revolution” – stax lite funk/pop sound with horns and flutes, complete with a “list of demands” in the bridge: “Three: we need a platform!/ Four: we need some platforms!” (The band’s original label (Ardent) was a off-shoot of Stax Records)

6. “February’s Quiet” – more Jody Stephens pop

7. “Mine Exclusively” – The Beatles and Hollies used to cover old R&B and Motown tunes. Well, Big Star cover an old 1962 hit by The Olympics.

8. “A Whole New Thing” – Chuck Berry meets the Beach Boys meets the Beatles meets T-Rex

9. “Aria Largo” – throw in some classical music for the intellectuals out there

10. “Hung Up With Summer” – this tune sort of takes off from the previous classical tune, just Alex singing with his electric guitar, an end-of-summer tune from the sixties

11. “Do You Wanna Make It” – Big Star meets Booker T. and the MGs

12. “Makeover” – abstract art

Buy the CD, have some fun!


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About Bradford James