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
Download: GONE mp3
Download: Alex Chilton
Buy: The Bell Notes, Troy Shondell, Alex Chilton.