Saturday, October 15, 2016

CD Review: Omnivore Collects Everything For The "Complete Third" From Big Star

In 1971, from Memphis, TN came one of the brightest young bands named Big Star. Their power pop/rock sound was heavily influenced by The Beatles and The Byrds and the band recorded only three albums in their short tenure together. Big Star's first two albums ("#1 Record" & "Radio City") received positive reviews upon their release, but failed to make it on the music charts. They recorded a third album in 1974, before breaking up later that year. Big Star's third album simply titled "Third" was not released until 1978, which again did not make it on the music charts, but it did find a cult following. It has since been named one of "Rolling Stone" magazine's best 500 albums of all time and "NME" named it the #1 "heartbreak" album of all time.

Big Star also became a huge influence on such bands as R.E.M., Uncle Tupelo, Wilco, The Jayhawks and The Bangles. Members of Big Star would reunite in 1993 for a string a shows and even recorded a fourth album in 2005. After the deaths Alex Chilton and original bassist Andy Hummel, the band Big Star would cease to exist, but other members of the band have performed together under the moniker "Big Star's Third," paying tribute to that special album.

On October 14th, Omnivore Records will release "Big Star - Complete Third." The new 3CD box set gathers together almost fifty demos and rough mixes recorded for Big Star's "Third" album, many have never been released. Many of the demo tracks feature only Alex Chilton with an acoustic guitar, which sounds outstanding and many feel superior to the released version of the song. Some of the highlights of the first disc titled "Demos To Sessions To Roughs" are playful cover version of The Beach Boys "Don't Worry Baby," The Beatles' "I'm So Tired" and George Jones' "That's All It Took."

The second disc titled "Roughs To Mixes" feature more complete versions of the songs that involves the whole band. The songs still have that unfinished feel, but the energy of "Whole Lotta Shakin Goin' On" and the emotions of "Holocaust" are presented in these versions. The songs have that raw, unpolished feel as if you were in the control room at the studio listening to the band record these versions of the songs. The third disc of the release titled "Final Masters" features all twenty of the album's tracks that have been released on numerous versions of Big Star's "Third" album. It is great to have all of the songs collected together on one disc. The songs in this set are presented so the listener can follow them from their early demo form to their final released version.

Also included in this set is a 32-page, full color booklet featuring essays from those involved in the recordings and from other musicians who were influenced by the music of Big Star. To find out more about the newly release "Big Star - Complete Third" 3CD set, please visit

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