BIG STAR – ” Live At Lafayettes Music Room ” Recorded 1973

Posted: January 13, 2018 in MUSIC
Tags: , , , , ,

Live at Lafayette's Music Room-Memphis, TN

Originally released as disc four of Rhino’s 2009 box set “Keep an Eye on the Sky”, “Live at Lafayette’s Music Room” captures performances Big Star gave in January 1973 at Lafayette’s Music Room in their hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. This is the same site that hosted the band’s legendary show during the May 1973 Memphis Rock Writer’s Convention — a gig that was instrumental in building buzz for Big Star — so this comes tantalizingly close to replicating how Big Star may have sounded on that storied date.

During this first half of 1973, Big Star were a band in transition, getting their sea legs after the departure of Chris Bell. His presence hangs heavy, with Alex Chilton singing songs Bell sang on No#1 Record and his DNA evident on such newer songs as “Back of a Car” and “O My Soul,” but it’s also evident how Big Star are turning into a rangier, rougher outfit under the undisputed leadership of Alex Chilton. The band feels tougher and funkier, particularly on the clutch of covers that conclude the album: Gram Parsons’ bruised country-rock classic “Hot Burrito #2” becomes a swaggering Stonesy rocker; a version of T. Rex’s “Baby Strange” seems like the blueprint for the Replacements, and the band drills down to the essential sleaze of Todd Rundgren’s “Sleaze.” This rawness, so absent on Big Star’s two finished studio albums, is the reason why Live at Lafayette’s Music Room is worth hearing even for non-fanatics: It proves that this power pop group was also a rock & roll band.

Live At Lafayette’s Music Room-Memphis, out on  (Omnivore Recordings) . It cemented them into legendary status due to the writers who witnessed it and carried the message of Big Star out in their writing, even though the band had only released one album, No#1 Record, and were unsure of recording a second after the departure of co-founder Chris Bell. What may not be so widely known is that the trio played the same venue four months earlier with the same power and passion opening shows for the Houston R&B band, Archie Bell & The Drells.

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