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Big Star - Complete Third

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Complete Third

Big Star

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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. The chaotic circumstances behind the making of Third is the stuff of legend, and Omnivore Recordings has delivered the definitive aural document on how it came to be with Complete Third, which gathers all the surviving elements from the sessions, from the first monophonic voice-and-guitar recording of "Like St. Joan" (later known as "Kanga Roo") to the 20 final tracks that became the basis of the various versions of the album. The first disc is primarily devoted to demos, and the clarity and focus of Chilton's solo performances are a fascinating contrast with the loopier feel of the later recordings with his session band. As the set makes its way through the recording sessions and rough mixes on disc two, it's clear that Chilton was the guiding light throughout, but he was very well served by his collaborators, especially producer Jim Dickinson, arranger Carl Marsh, and slide guitarist Lee Baker. While the tunes sometimes sound like they're on the verge of collapse on disc two, the final mixes on disc three (remastered and sounding better than ever) are stunning; from the wobbly baroque beauty of "Stroke It Noel" and the sweet nocturnal longing of "Blue Moon" to the bitterly dashed hopes of "Holocaust" and the wounded but impassioned defiance of "You Can't Have Me," the pieces hold together with remarkable strength despite the confusion of their creation. The liner notes from Bud Scoppa and the memories of a wealth of friends, participants, and admirers provide invaluable background on the making of Third and its long road from obscurity to classic status. And while some of the tracks suffer from irreparable anomalies, Adam Hill and Michael Graves have done heroic work with the audio for this set. Complete Third doesn't solve every mystery associated with this album -- that task is all but impossible -- but it's an outstanding, obsessive investigation into a singular work in the rock canon, and it amplifies the achievement of this damaged masterpiece. ~ Mark Deming

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Complete Third

Big Star

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1
Like St. Joan (Kanga Roo) (Demo)
00:03:46

Alex Chilton, Composer - Big Star, MainArtist

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2016 Ardent Music, LLC

2
Lovely Day (Demo)
00:01:54

Alex Chilton, Composer, Writer - Big Star, MainArtist

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2016 Ardent Music, LLC

3
Downs (Demo)
00:01:27

Alex Chilton, Writer - Big Star, MainArtist - Alex Chilton/Lesa Aldridge, Composer

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2016 Ardent Music, LLC

4
Femme Fatale (Demo)
00:02:53

Lou Reed, Composer - Big Star, MainArtist

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2016 Ardent Music, LLC

5
Thank You Friends (Demo)
00:02:47

Alex Chilton, Composer, Writer - Big Star, MainArtist

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2016 Ardent Music, LLC

6
Holocaust (Demo)
00:03:37

Alex Chilton, Composer - Big Star, MainArtist

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2016 Ardent Music, LLC

7
Jesus Christ (Demo)
00:02:30

Alex Chilton, Composer, Writer - Big Star, MainArtist

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2016 Ardent Music, LLC

8
Blue Moon (Demo)
00:02:09

Alex Chilton, Composer - Big Star, MainArtist

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2016 Ardent Music, LLC

9
Nightime (Demo)
00:02:14

Alex Chilton, Composer - Big Star, MainArtist

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2016 Ardent Music, LLC

10
Take Care (Demo)
00:01:37

Alex Chilton, Composer - Big Star, MainArtist

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2016 Ardent Music, LLC

11
Big Black Car (Demo #2/Acoustic Take 1)
00:04:41

Alex Chilton, Writer - Big Star, MainArtist - Chris Gage, Writer - Alex Chilton/Chris Gage, Composer

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2016 Ardent Music, LLC

12
Don't Worry Baby
00:03:35

Big Star, MainArtist - Brian Wilson/Roger Christian, Composer

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2016 Ardent Music, LLC

13
I'm In Love With A Girl
00:02:14

Alex Chilton, Composer, Writer - Big Star, Composer, MainArtist

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2016 Ardent Music, LLC

14
Big Black Car (Demo #3/Acoustic Take 2)
00:04:41

Alex Chilton, Writer - Big Star, MainArtist - Chris Gage, Writer - Alex Chilton/Chris Gage, Composer

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2016 Ardent Music, LLC

15
I'm So Tired
00:03:18

Paul Mccartney, Composer - Alex, MainArtist - Lesa, MainArtist

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2016 Ardent Music, LLC

16
That's All It Took
00:03:04

Alex, MainArtist - Lesa, MainArtist - Darrell Banks/Carlos Grier/George Jones, Composer

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2016 Ardent Music, LLC

17
Pre-Downs
00:05:27

Big Star, MainArtist - Alex Chilton/Jim Dickinson, Composer

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2016 Ardent Music, LLC

18
Baby Strange
00:02:53

Big Star, MainArtist - MARC BOLAN, Composer, Writer

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2016 Ardent Music, LLC

19
Big Black Car (Demo #1/Band)
00:06:08

Alex Chilton, Writer - Big Star, MainArtist - Chris Gage, Writer - Alex Chilton/Chris Gage, Composer

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2016 Ardent Music, LLC

20
Kizza Me (Dickinson Rough Mix/Alex Guide Vocal)
00:02:43

Alex Chilton, Composer, Writer - Big Star, MainArtist

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2016 Ardent Music, LLC

21
Till The End Of The Day (Dickinson Rough Mix/Alex Guide Vocal)
00:02:18

Ray Davies, Writer - Big Star, MainArtist

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2016 Ardent Music, LLC

22
Thank You Friends (Dickinson Rough Mix/Alex Guide Vocal)
00:03:13

Alex Chilton, Composer, Writer - Big Star, MainArtist

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2016 Ardent Music, LLC

23
O, Dana (Dickinson Rough Mix)
00:02:36

Alex Chilton, Composer, Writer - Big Star, MainArtist

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2016 Ardent Music, LLC

24
Dream Lover (Dickinson Rough Mix)
00:03:53

Alex Chilton, Composer - Big Star, MainArtist

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2016 Ardent Music, LLC

25
Big Black Car (Dickinson Rough Mix/Alex Guide Vocal)
00:03:43

Alex Chilton, Writer - Big Star, MainArtist - Chris Gage, Writer - Alex Chilton/Chris Gage, Composer

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2016 Ardent Music, LLC

26
Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On (Dickinson Rough Mix)
00:03:30

David Curlee Williams, Composer - Big Star, MainArtist

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2016 Ardent Music, LLC

27
Take Care (Dickinson Rough Mix)
00:03:00

Alex Chilton, Composer - Big Star, MainArtist

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2016 Ardent Music, LLC

28
Holocaust (Dickinson Rough Mix)
00:03:53

Alex Chilton, Composer - Big Star, MainArtist

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2016 Ardent Music, LLC

29
Nightime (Dickinson Rough Mix)
00:02:05

Alex Chilton, Composer - Big Star, MainArtist

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2016 Ardent Music, LLC

30
Thank You Friends (Dickinson Rough Mix)
00:03:12

Alex Chilton, Composer, Writer - Big Star, MainArtist

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2016 Ardent Music, LLC

31
Nature Boy (Dickinson Rough Mix)
00:02:31

Big Star, MainArtist - EDEN AHBEZ, Writer

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2016 Ardent Music, LLC

32
After Hours
00:02:10

Lou Reed, Composer - Lesa, MainArtist

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2016 Ardent Music, LLC

33
Stroke It Noel (Backward Intro)
00:00:25

Alex Chilton, Composer, Writer - Big Star, Featured Vocalist, MainArtist

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2013 Ardent Music, LLC, under exclusive license to Omnivore Recordings

34
Lovely Day (Fry Rough Mix)
00:02:09

Alex Chilton, Composer, Writer - Big Star, MainArtist

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2016 Ardent Music, LLC

35
Nightime (Fry Rough Mix)
00:02:52

Alex Chilton, Composer - Big Star, MainArtist

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2016 Ardent Music, LLC

36
Blue Moon (Fry Rough Mix)
00:02:09

Alex Chilton, Composer - Big Star, MainArtist

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2016 Ardent Music, LLC

37
Till The End Of The Day (Alternate Mix #1)
00:02:15

Ray Davies, Writer - Big Star, MainArtist

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2016 Ardent Music, LLC

38
Big Black Car (Rough Mix)
00:03:40

Alex Chilton, Writer - Big Star, Featured Vocalist, MainArtist - Chris Gage, Writer - Alex Chilton/Chris Gage, Composer

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2013 Ardent Music, LLC, under exclusive license to Omnivore Recordings

39
Holocaust (Rough Mix)
00:04:11

Alex Chilton, Composer - Big Star, Featured Vocalist, MainArtist

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2013 Ardent Music, LLC, under exclusive license to Omnivore Recordings

40
Downs (Fry Rough Mix)
00:01:52

Alex Chilton, Writer - Big Star, MainArtist - Alex Chilton/Lesa Aldridge, Composer

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2016 Ardent Music, LLC

41
Kanga Roo (Fry Rough Mix)
00:03:51

Alex Chilton, Composer, Writer - Big Star, Featured Vocalist, MainArtist

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2013 Ardent Music, LLC, under exclusive license to Omnivore Recordings

42
Femme Fatale (Fry Rough Mix)
00:03:44

Lou Reed, Composer - Big Star, MainArtist

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2016 Ardent Music, LLC

43
For You (Alternate Version/Alex Vocal)
00:02:27

Big Star, MainArtist - Jody Stephens, Composer, Writer

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2016 Ardent Music, LLC

44
Thank You Friends (Fry Rough Mix)
00:03:14

Alex Chilton, Composer, Writer - Big Star, MainArtist

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2016 Ardent Music, LLC

45
Take Care (Alternate Version) (Alternative Version/Alex Vocal)
00:02:41

Alex Chilton, Composer - Big Star, MainArtist

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2016 Ardent Music, LLC

46
Kizza Me (Fry Rough Mix)
00:02:46

Alex Chilton, Composer, Writer - Big Star, MainArtist

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2016 Ardent Music, LLC

47
Till The End Of The Day (Fry Rough Mix #2/Lesa Vocals)
00:02:22

Ray Davies, Composer - Lesa, MainArtist

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2016 Ardent Music, LLC

48
Nature Boy (Fry Rough Mix)
00:02:45

Big Star, MainArtist - EDEN AHBEZ, Writer

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2016 Ardent Music, LLC

49
Mañana
00:00:49

Alex Chilton, Composer - Big Star, MainArtist

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2016 Ardent Music, LLC

50
Stroke It Noel
00:02:06

Alex Chilton, Composer, Writer - Big Star, MainArtist

2016 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC 2016 Ardent Music, LLC

Albumbeschreibung

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. The chaotic circumstances behind the making of Third is the stuff of legend, and Omnivore Recordings has delivered the definitive aural document on how it came to be with Complete Third, which gathers all the surviving elements from the sessions, from the first monophonic voice-and-guitar recording of "Like St. Joan" (later known as "Kanga Roo") to the 20 final tracks that became the basis of the various versions of the album. The first disc is primarily devoted to demos, and the clarity and focus of Chilton's solo performances are a fascinating contrast with the loopier feel of the later recordings with his session band. As the set makes its way through the recording sessions and rough mixes on disc two, it's clear that Chilton was the guiding light throughout, but he was very well served by his collaborators, especially producer Jim Dickinson, arranger Carl Marsh, and slide guitarist Lee Baker. While the tunes sometimes sound like they're on the verge of collapse on disc two, the final mixes on disc three (remastered and sounding better than ever) are stunning; from the wobbly baroque beauty of "Stroke It Noel" and the sweet nocturnal longing of "Blue Moon" to the bitterly dashed hopes of "Holocaust" and the wounded but impassioned defiance of "You Can't Have Me," the pieces hold together with remarkable strength despite the confusion of their creation. The liner notes from Bud Scoppa and the memories of a wealth of friends, participants, and admirers provide invaluable background on the making of Third and its long road from obscurity to classic status. And while some of the tracks suffer from irreparable anomalies, Adam Hill and Michael Graves have done heroic work with the audio for this set. Complete Third doesn't solve every mystery associated with this album -- that task is all but impossible -- but it's an outstanding, obsessive investigation into a singular work in the rock canon, and it amplifies the achievement of this damaged masterpiece. ~ Mark Deming

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