Like the previous incarnations of 'I Got Kinda Lost', this newly expanded 2016 version of the 2013 9 CD compilation attempts to tell the story chronologically of Big Star through their studio outtakes and alternate versions by keeping it more Big Star centric through the prism of Chris Bell and Alex Chilton - the architects of the band.
The tracks are split up between the CD's to a timeline that carries the listener from 1965 to roughly 1975.
This massive compilation is what one would call a 'fantasy release'. It's designed to look 'official' but clearly it is not.
In fact, this box set carries a fake catalog number - ST100/6 which is a direct homage to Chris Bell and Andy Hummel who briefly had the idea (as a joke) that if Ardent/Stax didn't release their completed #1 Record they were going to do it themselves (à la bootleg it) and give it the mythical catalog number ST100/6. Their little idea has now come full circle, like a bridge to the past.
- all sourced from CD or vinyl - no mp3 sourced material!
- all artwork was created at 300 dpi - full size - saved as png
- all needledrops that appeared on previous comps have been re-done (new transfers)
- disc 5, tracks 7 & 8 are fan mixes - they were so good and too hard to pass on
- there has been no audio leveling between tracks or 'normalizing'. Tracks are represented here as heard from their point of origin.
- This is the 2016 upgrade. It features added alternate Chris Bell solo tracks to disc eight; the unreleased tracks from the Jesus Christ vinyl (sourced from pristine vinyl - declicked) were also sprinkled throughout the compilation in their respective chronological places within the comp).
Disc one gets started in 1965 with The Jynx, consisting of Chris Bell (guitar), Bill Cunningham (bass), David Hoback (guitar), Dewitt Shy (drums) & Mike Harris (vocals). The first four tracks of disc one are the only recorded tracks from the short lived Jynx which were recorded @ Sonic Studios in December of 1965.
By early 1966 The Jynx called it a day.
We then fast forward a couple of years to 1969 where Chris Bell ended up at Ardent Studios recording with Terry Manning; playing lead guitar on a cover version of a then unreleased Beatles tune called 'One After 909'. Terry had acquired an incomplete demo of the song from someone close to The Beatles. According to Terry, this cover version was Chris Bell's first recording in a 'real studio'.
In addition to that, tracks 10 - 12 feature Chris Bell contributing to songs that would wind up on Terry Manning's solo LP called 'Home Sweet Home'.
From either late 1968 or early 1969 are some Chris Bell experimental tracks. Terry Manning contributes to 'Psychedelic Stuff' - it is unknown if he had any involvement with the Bell's 'Untitled Acoustic Instrumental' track.
During the years in between 1965 and 1968 this compilation doesn't focus on Alex Chilton because his work is more widely known with The Box Tops so there is no reason to add those tracks here as this comp is about rarities and outtakes - not greatest hits.
Alex Chilton departs The Box Tops by late 1969 and records an album's worth of material along with Terry Manning that will remain largely unreleased until roughly 1996 with the album title '1970' - though reports say the material was actually recorded in 1969 - but due to contract stipulations with The Box Tops the album is given the name '1970' so that the recordings can't be viewed as Alex breaking contractual obligations with The Box Tops. Some of these solo tracks make up tracks 13 -24 on disc one. Of course these are alternate or mono tracks that never appeared on the officially released Alex Chilton archival solo album in 1996 called '1970'.
Tracks 19 & 21 are needledrops taken from a pristine vinyl 45 limited to 500 copies.
The cover of disc one features a colorized photo taken by Michael O'Brien of the band in happier days (1971) at Alex's parents house (145 North Montgomery, Memphis, TN). Previously we've only seen a few different shots from this session at Alex's house - all of them have been in black and white. It's interesting to view one of these iconic photos in a colorized alternate way.
The reverse image of the cover features a black & white photo of Alex and Chris in Ardent Studios. It is believed that year is either late 1971 or early 1972.
It's too bad that Omnivore Recordings used this same photo of Alex & Chris in the studio for the rear photo of their 45 vinyl single of Alex Chilton's 'All We Ever Got From Them Was Pain' in which they completely airbrushed Chris Bell out of the picture to make it look like Alex was the sole person in the photo/studio!
That crappy omission has been corrected with this release!
The outside tray liner photo is from the same session that yielded the restored photo as mentioned above with Alex and Chris.
Trayliner interior for discs 01 - 08
By 1970, after recording this solo album at Ardent with Terry Manning in 1969, Alex heads to New York City to try his hand at playing folk clubs.
Meanwhile, back in Memphis, Chris Bell, Thomas Dean Eubanks, Terry Manning & Jody Stephens form a band in 1969 - 1970 called 'Rock City' and manage to record a proper album. This material makes up the heart of disc two following the rest of Alex's solo material with Terry Manning.
Following the dissolution of Rock City, another Chris Bell led band called Icewater, featuring Chris Bell, Jody Stephens and Terry Manning with extended cast members that included Andy Hummel and Steve Rhea circa 1970.
On a jaunt to New York City in late 1970 to shop demos of Icewater, Chris Bell and Richard Rosebrough meet up with Alex Chilton. Alex tries to convince Chris to stay in NYC and form an acoustic folk duo like Simon & Garfunkel. Chris tells Alex he is more interested in electric guitar in a band - like The Beatles. Chris asks Alex to come and see them play in Memphis and Alex tells him he will.
In late 1970 (just before Christmas) Alex has left NYC and is back in Memphis and true to his word comes to see a 3-piece band Icewater (Chris, Jody & Andy) playing a gig. After the gig, Alex discusses with Chris a meeting date and to possibly record. And so, in February of 1971 Alex shows up at Ardent where Chris is and enters the studio, announcing he has a new song to play called 'Watch The Sunrise'. Alex pulls up a stool and starts playing his Martin 12 string acoustic guitar - meanwhile Chris is recording the performance and will ultimately add guitar parts to it.
The front cover to disc two features all four Big Star members in an unknown locale (presumably Chilton's house - 145 North Montgomery, Memphis, TN). The rear cover features Alex Chilton hunched over an organ in Ardent Studios. The outside tray liner pic is Terry Manning recording Chris Bell in 1972.
At last Big Star has arrived with disc three! The cover photo is an outtake of the band in a relaxed, light-hearted moment sitting in the front 3-paneled window of Alex Chilton's parent's house in 1971.
The rear insert cover is of the band taken inside at Ardent Studios circa late 1971. The outside tray liner photo seems to be the proper posed photo of the cover but at this time it's believed they are not the same session/day.
In fact if you look close enough to tray liner of disc 3 and the cover of disc 4, you will notice they are wearing the exact same clothes with the exception of Chilton who has shed the red reindeer sweatshirt.
Track 12 is the real deal 45 single mix of 'In The Street'. This track is a recent needledrop taken from pristine condition vinyl of a vintage Ardent Records vinyl 45 single. In the recent past, there appeared on a legitimate CD, a track that claimed to be the 45 single mix but that wasn't really true. The real 45 single mix does not feature a false start/stop.
Disc five covers the post #1 Record period and picks up at the beginning of Radio City. The band demoed some songs between the 2 records with the intention of including them on the next album.
There is some confusion at this time among various collectors concerning the song 'Another Time Another Place & You'. A recent source (Omnivore Recordings) claims that the song is a 'Chilton/Rosebrough' composition from 1973.
According to the end credits of the Big Star biopic, 'Nothing Can Hurt Me', - the end credits list this song as a 'Bell/Rosebrough' composition. If that is the case -maybe it wasn't intended to be a Big Star track - then again maybe it was. We just don't know.
Tracks 7 & 8 are fan remixes. These tracks have the potential of muddying up the trade pool - so this is important to note to the collectors of these things.
Track 14 (O My Soul) is a needle drop from pristine vintage vinyl and is not sourced from the 2009 remaster of the 2 for 1 #1 Record/Radio City CD. The track from the remaster is very loud and based on that it was decided to go with the vintage needledrop of this track to maintain some sort of vintage/authenticity.
This track was originally written by Chilton & Bell.
Unfortunately at this time in the band's history, Chris Bell quits the band, leaving Chilton, Hummel and Stephens to continue and thus dropping Chris Bell's name from any songs he helped write, such as 'Back Of A Car' and 'O My Soul'.
During the period between #1 Record and Radio City the band sort of fragments at this time after Bell's sudden departure and Alex begins recording with Danny Jones (bass) and Richard Rosebrough (drums) as a three piece calling themselves 'The Dolby Fuckers', a name that came from a statement Alex had made while in the studio regarding Dolby noise reduction.
The Dolby Fuckers sessions produced these songs; 'Mod Lang', 'She's A Mover' and 'What's Going Ahn'.
Disc six, track 9 (Mod Lang - U.S. 45 single mix) is a needledrop from pristine vinyl. This track was only released on vinyl, not on CD.
By now in the band's story, Andy Hummel has left for good and has chosen college over the music business. At this juncture it is interesting to note that Andy along with Jody and Alex will make contributions on Chris Bell solo tracks during the years 1974 - 1975. These tracks were finally released in a collection postmortem in 1992 by Ryko called 'I Am The Cosmos'. One could easily say that 'Cosmos' was more of a Big Star album not called Big Star than Third/Sister Lovers. At least Chris' solo material featured more Big Star members and fringe members than Third/Sister Lovers did!
Third/Sister Lovers is a great moody Chilton (for the most part) solo album disguised as a Big Star album. Its track listing order disputed throughout the years.
Jody Stephens contributes drums here and there and kicks in a song he wrote called 'For You'.
It has been debated whether Third/Sister Lovers was actually meant to be a Big Star album or a Chilton solo piece. And it does get sketchy here because throughout the years people's memories get fuzzy.
One theory put forth says that the album was attributed to Big Star because the general public would have been more aware of the name/band Big Star than the name of solo performer Alex Chilton. Maybe, maybe not. Speculation is hard to prove here as one cannot prove or disprove the theory.
Regardless of the theories out there, whether one views it as a grand Alex Chilton solo album or a legit Big Star album, the name Big Star graces Third/Sister Lovers nonetheless and it is widely known as such among fans.
The last disc (disc eight) of the chronological behemoth known as 'I Got Kinda Lost', is the kitchen sink of the collection. It is the continuation of the Third/Sister Lovers sessions as well as one '90's Big Star track, 'Hot Thing' taken from a rare compilation of a defunct small indie record label.
Lastly, a handful of Chris Bell solo tracks round out the collection. One of the Bell solo tracks, 'Make A Scene' is from a rare Ryko compilation called 'Medium Rare'.
The cover to disc eight features a colorized photo of Alex Chilton in Ardent Studios circa 1972 and the back side of the cover features Chris Bell in Europe circa 1974 - a trip he took accompanied by his brother David Bell & Richard Rosebrough that would find Chris meeting with Geoff Emerick, George Martin and Paul McCartney!
The trayliner photo is a parting shot of the band, a last 'goodbye' - the way they were and will always be remembered in our memories; youthful, great, promising, rising, talented - stars, Big Stars!
Would the band ever have gotten back together if Chris wouldn't have been killed? It's hard to tell for we cannot know with certainty, the writer of these notes certainly thinks they would've sans Andy Hummel.
Events/attitudes of certain band members by the late 70's pointed to the inevitability of it, perhaps sooner than later. Unfortunately we will never know but the band and its artists have left us with a most interesting body of work to ponder, fret over, cherish, hold up as a beacon of greatness and pass on to the next generation as one of the greatest bands that almost was.
BONUS: DISC 09
Alternate disc 09 label
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