big star Archive

Album Review: The Best of Big Star

As fate would have it, here’s a special (and exceedingly rare) Sunday blog post. — bk File under famine-then-feast. On their original release, the three albums by Memphis’ Big Star could barely get a hearing. The reasons were legion, but chief among them was the fact that Stax – the parent label of Ardent, the

Capsule Reviews for May 2017, Part One

Thank You, Friends (Concord Bicycle Music) I remember a time when seemingly nobody knew about Big Star; happily for me, that was about the time I found “new old stock” vinyl copies of #1 Record and Radio City in a local record store. I was immediately hooked. As is its character, Big Star’s Third album

Best Music of 2016: Reissue/archival Releases

I love new music, but I’m also attuned to keeping up with the latest in reissues and archival releases. Sometimes those feature some of my favorite artists; other times they turn me on to music of the past that I’ve never even heard. In 2016 I’ve been able to select my Top Ten reissue and/or

Album Review: Big Star — Complete Third

The third album from Big Star is the most difficult in the Memphis group’s slim catalog of 1970s releases, and quite unlike its predecessors. The band’s debut – 1972’s #1 Record – is full of gems in an off-kilter power pop vein. Thanks in no small part to distribution problems at Ardent Records’ parent label

PRIX: The Band that Never Was

In March 1974, Jon Tiven had just turned 19 and was living in New York City. In the next two and half years, he’d find himself deeply enmeshed in a Memphis musical scene and saga that – while the stuff of legend today – went almost wholly unnoticed at the time. He variously played, wrote,

Album Mini-review: Those Pretty Wrongs

File next to: Starling Electric; Teenage Fanclub, The Posies Jody Stephens was the George Harrison of legendary Memphis power pop group Big Star: though these days Chris Bell and Alex Chilton get the lion’s share of credit for the transcendent melodies they served up on #1 Record and Radio City, Stephens’ contributions are too often

Preview: Prix

In September 2015 I was in Nashville for the annual Americana Music Awards and Conference. I was there primarily to take part in a discussion panel entitled “Breaking Barriers Through Social Networking,” but I took full advantage of the many opportunities to see and hear some excellent live music. (And in keeping with the stereotype

Album Review: Big Star — South West

Though they were resolutely ignored during their time together in the 1970s, Memphis-based Big Star eventually got both their critical due and some exceedingly belated recognition and commercial success. The reunion shows and tours featured original members Alex Chilton and Jody Stephens plus – from The Posies – Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow (a full-concert

Big Star Lives! with “Live in Memphis” (Part 2)

Continued from Part One… As Jon Auer pointed out in metaphor form during our conversation, speaking of Big Star in a slightly different context, “You can write the greatest letter in the world to someone, but if the postman loses it, or doesn’t deliver it, and no one ever gets it, no one’s gonna know

Big Star Lives! with “Live in Memphis” (Part 1)

The story of Big Star – a band once so obscure, only critics, musicians and a small handful of in-the-know fans even knew of their brief existence – has now passed into popular culture. I’ve always considered myself a hardcore fan of their general style of music: back in the early- to mid-1970s, I was