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The Ballad of Big Star: Legacy Collects Live, Studio Recordings On New “Playlist”

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Big Star - PlaylistOn November 26, the Memphis boys of Big Star will be back “In the Street” – and on store shelves.  On that date, Magnolia Home Entertainment releases the acclaimed documentary Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me on DVD and Blu-ray, and Sony’s Legacy Recordings unleashes Playlist: The Very Best of Big Star.  Reviewing Omnivore Recordings’ soundtrack to the film, we wrote, “Rare is the cult band that actually lives up to its legend.  Yet, with each listen – time after time, year after year – Big Star not only meets the hype, but surpasses it.  Chances are, if you know the music of Alex Chilton, Chris Bell, Andy Hummel and Jody Stephens, you remember the first time you heard it.  You likely also remember the friend who first introduced you to the band, or how he or she told you about this great discovery with the hush-hush nature of a secret told in the deepest confidence.  Though the group is today spoken of with reverence in certain circles, no commercial breakthrough ever allowed the band to make its name a reality.  (In fact, the name Big Star derived from a supermarket!)  Frontman Alex Chilton’s closest turn as a ‘big star’ came in his youth, as he led The Box Tops through a series of hits including ‘The Letter’ and ‘Cry Like a Baby.’  So, beyond the ‘cult’ tag and the mystique, why are we still talking about Big Star, a band whose reputation is entirely based on three albums from 1972-1978 that almost nobody heard?”

After the jump: what’s on this new anthology?  Hit the jump for full details including the complete track listing and pre-order links!

With Playlist: The Very Best of Big Star, Legacy Recordings aims to further the legacy of the power-pop heroes with a new 14-track compilation drawn not only from those three core albums but also from the revived band’s rebirth of the 1990s and beyond.  The bulk of the set – seven songs, or one full half – is drawn from Columbia: Live at Missouri University 4/25/93.  The concert, originally released in September 1993 on the Zoo label, featured founding members Alex Chilton and Jody Stephens playing alongside The Posies’ Ken Stringfellow and Jonathan Auer.  Playlist draws on this concert for such Big Star staples as “In the Street,” “The Ballad of El Goodo,” and “Back of a Car” plus the band’s rendition of Chris Bell’s “I Am the Cosmos.”    In 2005, the Chilton-Stephens-Stringfellow-Auer group reunited for Big Star’s first studio album in over three decades: In SpacePlaylist includes “A Whole New Thing” from that comeback effort.

A rehearsal take of the classic “September Gurls” has been reprised from the 1999 rarities compilation Nobody Can Dance, and Playlist is rounded out by five songs from the original trio of Big Star albums: “Feel” from 1972’s #1 Record, “Life is White” and “Daisy Glaze” from 1974’s Radio City, and “Stroke It Noel” and “Kanga-Roo” from 1978’s 3rd (a.k.a.) Sister Lovers.

Playlist: The Very Best of Big Star will be available on November 26.  You can pre-order at the links below!

Big Star, Playlist: The Very Best of Big Star (Legacy Recordings 88843 00426 2, 2013) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

  1. Life is White
  2. Feel
  3. September Gurls (Rehearsal)
  4. Daisy Glaze
  5. Stroke It Noel
  6. Kanga-Roo
  7. Don’t Lie to Me (Live)
  8. I Am the Cosmos (Live)
  9. In the Street (Live)
  10. The Ballad of El Goodo (Live)
  11. For You (Live)
  12. Back of a Car (Live)
  13. Thank You Friends (Live)
  14. A Whole New Thing

Tracks 1 & 4 from Radio City, Ardent LP, 1974
Track 2 from # 1 Record, Ardent LP, 1972
Track 3 from Nobody Can Dance, Norton CD CED 265, 1999
Tracks 5 & 6 from 3rd, PVC LP 7903, 1978
Tracks 7-13 from Columbia: Live at Missouri University 4/25/93, Zoo CD 72445 11060 2, 1993
Track 14 from In Space, Rykodisc CD RCD 10677, 2005

Written by Joe Marchese

November 5, 2013 at 11:23

8 Responses

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  1. This is a really weird compilation.


    November 5, 2013 at 11:28

  2. A little disappointing that Legacy goes to the trouble to assemble a new compilation, but doesn’t use the original recordings for half the material. I’m guessing it was cheaper to use the 1993 live recordings, which they already control, than to pay licensing fees to the Concord Group for the Ardent material.


    November 5, 2013 at 11:32

  3. I love Big Star and Alex Chilton, but this seems like overkill after the flood of releases over the last couple of years.


    November 5, 2013 at 11:51

  4. Happy with my Keep An Eye On The Sky box set. Keep an eye on where I got mine for £15. Bargain. This does not really add to it and is only a little bit cheaper.


    November 5, 2013 at 12:36

  5. When more of the tracks are from an ok 1990s reunion live album and barely any from the utterly perect original three albums, you’re doing it wrong.

    Nik Dirga (@nikdirga)

    November 5, 2013 at 15:15

  6. I hope this is nobody’s first Big Star CD….terrible.


    November 5, 2013 at 15:21

  7. This one is definitely a head-scratcher. Doesn’t make a whole helluva lot of sense to me, even at a bargain price . . .

    Chief Brody

    November 5, 2013 at 15:37

  8. A moronic release.


    November 5, 2013 at 18:49

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