This is the expanded 'I Got Kinda Lost' unofficial Big Star box set. Previously this set contained four discs and was jam packed with all kinds of Big Star related tracks. Like the previous incarnations of 'I Got Kinda Lost', this expanded 2013 release attempts to tell the story chronologically of Big Star through their studio outtakes and alternate versions by keeping it more Big Star centric through the prism of Chris Bell and Alex Chilton - the architects of the band.
Cardboard sleeve, digitally remastered re-release of Big Star's last album featuring all of their original members. Cardboard sleeve (mini LP) replicates original LP artwork with obi strip, printed inner and lyric sheet in Japanese & English. After Big Star released Radio City, they fell apart, leaving Alex Chilton to record in 1975 what was later released as 3rd (aka Sister Lovers). The album is strikingly different from everything Chilton created before or after. With pained outpourings such as the haunting "Holocaust," it holds its own against rock's greatest monuments to existential angst, from Tonight's the Night to Bryter Layter. It also ranks alongside the Beach Boys' SMiLE as perhaps the only "classic" album with no set sequence. (Chilton never bothered to sequence it because, upon its completion, no label wanted to release it.) It finally came out four years later, and since then, while it has appeared on several labels, no two have used the same track order.
Largely lacking co-leader Chris Bell, Big Star's second album also lacked something of the pop sweetness (especially the harmonies) of #1 Record. What it possessed was Alex Chilton's urgency (sometimes desperation) on songs that made his case as a genuine rock & roll eccentric. If #1 Record had a certain pop perfection that brought everything together, Radio City was the sound of everything falling apart, which proved at least as compelling.
First-to-CD reissue of Big Star's 1972 first album. Expected to come housed in a mini-LP type cardboard sleeve. The problem with coming in late on an artwork lauded as "influential" is that you've probably encountered the work it influenced first, so its truly innovative qualities are lost. Thus, if you are hearing Big Star's debut album for the first time decades after its release (as, inevitably, most people must), you may be reminded of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers or R.E.M., who came after – that is, if you don't think of the Byrds and the Beatles circa 1965. What was remarkable about #1 Record in 1972 was that nobody except Big Star (and maybe Badfinger and the Raspberries) wanted to sound like this – simple, light pop with sweet harmonies and jangly guitars.
By all rights, the album that came to be known as Big Star's Third should have been a disaster. It was written and recorded in 1975, when Alex Chilton's brilliant but tragically overlooked band had all but broken up. As Chilton pondered his next move, he was drinking and drugging at a furious pace while writing a handful of striking tunes that were often beautiful but also reflected his bitterness and frustration with his career (and the music business in general). Production of the album wasn't completed so much as it simply stopped, and none of the major figures involved ever decided on a proper sequence for the finished songs, or even a title. (The album was also known as Sister Lovers and Beale Street Green at various times.) And yet, Third has won a passionate and richly deserved cult following over the years, drawn in by the emotional roller coaster ride of the songs, informed by equal parts love, loss, rage, fear, hope, and defeat.
As the object of intense devotion for so many fans, it's fitting that Big Star receive a box set designed for the intensely devoted: four discs containing every song the band cut in the '70s, often present in slightly alternate mixes or versions in addition to the originals, a clutch of solo songs from both Chris Bell and Alex Chilton, as well as a handful of pre-Big Star cuts by Icewater and Rock City, all topped off with a live disc culled from a three-set stint at Memphis' Lafayette's Music Room in January of 1973, not long after Bell left the band…
There isn't much arguing that the three studio albums Alex Chilton cut with Big Star between 1972 and 1975 represent the creative high-water mark of his career, but it doesn't seem to be a period he looks back upon with much fondness. The man rarely plays songs from the Big Star catalog in his solo shows, and while he assembled a new version of the band in 1993 – with Chilton and original drummer Jody Stephens joined by Jonathan Auer and Ken Stringfellow of the Posies – the group has only played sporadic live dates since then (presumably when someone ponies up the right price for a gig), and it has taken 12 years for Chilton to work up the enthusiasm to make a new Big Star album…