Big Star - 4-Disc Box Set "Keep an Eye on the Sky" Out Sept. 15th / Ltd. Edition Record Store Day Vinyl 7" Out Sept. 5th (Rhino) ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Big Star - 4-Disc Box Set "Keep an Eye on the Sky" Out Sept. 15th / Ltd. Edition Record Store Day Vinyl 7" Out Sept. 5th (Rhino)

STREAM: Selections from Big Star - "Keep an Eye on the Sky"

Big Star - 'Keep an Eye on the Sky' Coming Out Sept. 15th on Rhino On Sept. 15th, Rhino is issuing the definitive Big Star collection with a 98-track 4CD box set entitled Keep an Eye on the Sky. In advance of the box set, a limited edition vinyl single which will be available on Sept. 5th for Record Store Day.

The vinyl 7" is limited to 3,500 copies and contains the tracks "Feel" (Alternate Mix) and "Mod Lang" (Unissued Single Remix).

The box set spans 1968 - 1975 and includes the members' pre-Big Star studio recording, demos and outtakes from the three Big Star albums, selections from a 1973 live performance and both sides of Chris Bell's 1978 solo single.

Spotlighting the band's roots, the boxed set opens with several songs recorded before Big Star formed, including “Try Again,” one of the first songs Bell and Chilton wrote together. Those early cuts are followed by Big Star's 1972 debut #1 Record, reimagined here using a mix of album tracks and unreleased alternate mixes of favorites like “Thirteen,” “When My Baby's Beside Me,” and more. Among the disc's rarities are “Country Morn'” (issued as a flexi-disc single by a Big Star fanzine), the demo for “I Got Kinda Lost,” and an unreleased acoustic demo of Chilton singing Loudon Wainwright's “Motel Blues.”

The second disc of KEEP AN EYE ON THE SKY opens with a trio of unreleased demos: “There Was A Light,” “What's Going Ahn,” and “Life Is White.” The original song sequence for Radio City follows, combining album versions with unreleased alternate mixes (“Way Out West” and “You Get What You Deserve.”) The disc features unissued versions of “She A Mover” and “Mod Lang,” several unreleased demos for Big Star's third album, plus Bell's acclaimed 1978 single “I Am The Cosmos” and its B-side “You And Your Sister.”

KEEP AN EYE ON THE SKY's third disc opens with seven demos (most previously unreleased) for songs that appear on Third/Sister Lovers, including “Jesus Christ,” “Take Care,” and “Holocaust.” Among the album's 19 songs collected here is “For You,” “Kizza Me,” and “Kanga Roo.” Also featured is “Lovely Day,” an early, unreleased version of “Stroke It Noel” with different lyrics; Chilton vamping with photographer Bill Eggleston at the piano for Nat King Cole's “Nature Boy” and a raucous cover of The Kinks' “Till The End Of The Day.”

The collection's final disc contains unreleased highlights from three sets Big Star performed at Lafayette's Music Room in Memphis in January 1973. It is the best live recording ever of the band. The show captures Chilton, Hummel, and Stephens playing many of the songs on #1 Record, which had just recently been released. The set list includes a retooled version of “ST 100/6” lengthened by both guitar and drum solos (with a middle eight heisted from the Rock City song “The Preacher.”) Also in the repertoire are “There Was A Light” and “I Got Kinda Lost.” In addition, the concert includes fully formed versions of several songs recorded later for Radio City: “Back Of A Car,” “Way Out West,” “O My Soul,” and a particularly rocking “She's A Mover.” Those originals are mixed with a selection of covers: Todd Rundgren's “Slut,” T. Rex's “Baby Strange,” The Kinks' “Come On Now,” and The Flying Burrito Brothers' “Hot Burrito #2.”

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