I would assume that most every Bedazzled! reader is at least FAMILIAR with Big Star. If you aren't, I strongly suggest that you do not pass GO and immediately purchase the box set Keep An Eye On The Sky as well as the double disc reissue of Chris Bell's posthumous masterpiece I Am The Cosmos. These are some of the greatest sounding CD's out there (it takes A LOT for an analog diehard such as myself to admit that), but there's a real charm to these 45's, and it is my pleasure to share them here.
"When My Baby's Beside Me b/w In The Street" was the debut release, coinciding with the long player #1 Record. "When My Baby..." is a nifty, AM radio ready mono mix of the Alex Chilton sung mover; this was one of the few Big Star songs that Alex Chilton played regularly in his solo gigs. 'In The Street" however, is a completely different mix with a different vocal take altogether from Chris Bell, who reaches some absolutely nut-crunching high notes here.
With the type of songwriting, vocal and instrumental prowess contained in this group, one would think that they would have indeed realized their name and climbed the ladder to success. Lambasted as being passe during the time of endless boogie, Big Star records sold poorly but were cherished by those who owned them, and along the way the cult grew and grew, eventually manifesting itself into what became the heart of guitar based power pop/ college rock/ indie pop/ whatever the hell you wanna call it music from the late 70's onwards.
Ardent (which was distributed by Stax) tried again with a second single from the first LP, pairing the aggressive "Don't Lie To Me" with the gorgeous, pastoral "Watch The Sunrise". Once again, the single sunk without a trace. Interestingly, my copy was mis-pressed and contains "Thirteen" (quite possibly the most enduring track of the album, and Alex Chilton's greatest ever performance) in place of "Lie". I don't hear any mix differences, but this track is just too good not to share here. "Watch The Sunrise" is certainly different, as it edits a chunk of guitar picking from the intro. The vocal also sounds a tad different to my ears as well.Rather ominously, the trail off wax on the "Lie To Me' side reads "SKULL TREE".high quality transfers and scans! -Derek See