Tuesday, April 3, 2007

The Singer Not The Song

Alex Chilton photograph: New York, 1985 © Ted Barron

In 1978, Alex Chilton entered Phillips Recording Service in Memphis Tennessee, with Jim Dickinson, Sid Selvidge, Lee Baker, Richard Rosebrough, and few other friends to record his first post-Big Star LP, Like Flies
On Sherbert. The results of these sessions were mixed over the following year and released on the small Peabody label in a pressing of 500 copies. The record is made up of mostly covers, including these two singles below. It's a great and messy rock 'n roll record with an eclectic collection of songs ranging from the Carter Family to K.C. and the Sunshine Band. It's also a difficult record that some people just don't get. It's long been one of my favorites. Like on Big Star's 3rd, which was still unreleased at the time, rather than strive for perfection, Dickinson's production stresses the mistakes, although it is perfect in it's own unorthodox way. It's also a document of a time and place, that being midtown Memphis, late 1970's. The band sounds fucked-up because they are fucked-up. Still, that's only half the point, or not the point at all. It's complicated. Chilton had been burned by the record business not once, but twice. He was a jaded and slightly burnt-out veteran and only in his late 20's. I won't attempt to put my finger on what it is that is so compelling about it, as much better writers have done so more eloquently than I could do. I will however suggest reading It Came From Memphis, by Robert Gordon, which ties together the disparate elements of the music and culture of Memphis into what reads like a secret history of rock 'n roll. So here it is, some of the source material for Chilton's overlooked and misunderstood classic. Hope you like it, I do.

Download: GONE mp3

GONE mp3

Download: Alex Chilton

GONE mp3
GONE mp3

Buy: The Bell Notes, Troy Shondell, Alex Chilton.


Khij said...

Please come to the Brooklyn Blogfest on May 10th at the Old Stone Housei in Park Slope. Fifth Avenue between 3rd and 4th. Open Mic for new bloggers to intro themselves. Important gathering of as many Brooklyn bloggers as we can round up. RSVP Louise_crawford@yahoo.com or comment on otbkb.com

jon said...

Great blog! i shall be back to hoover up more sounds. keep em coming.

d. chedwick bryant said...

I remember "I've Had it" , but Girl after Girl was a treat. thanks. nice pic too.. never heard of this guy.

sroden said...

this is really great stuff. never heard the originals of either tune, both much goodness. the chilton record kind of reminds of the early johnny thunders solo LP, i think called so alone, that i was obsessed with when it came out. it's funny how much these guys were into rockabilly, etc. totally wonderful....