Sunday, June 25, 2017

CD Review: Two New Releases Center Around Seventies Rock Band Big Star

Seventies rockers Big Star were a huge influence to many of the alternative bands of the eighties and nineties. Their three seventies studio albums have become cult classics and turn the band into one of the greatest hidden gems in rock music. On June 16, the Concord Music Group in association with Stax Records released "The Best Of Big Star," a collection of 16-songs from their seventies output. While many of the songs on this release may not be considered hits, each one showcases a different aspect of the band.

Beginning with the pop/rock of "In The Street" and continuing with the garage rock of "Don't Lie To Me," you know that Big Star can rock. They can also perform the acoustic folk storytelling of "Thirteen" and the starkness of "I'm In Love With A Girl," which also showcases their beautiful songwriting. Their sound progressed with the addition of a string section on the ballad "Take Care," while still rocking with "Back Of A Car" and delivering the ultimate message with "Thank You Friends." To find out more about "The Best Of Big Star," please visit concordmusicgroup.com.

Less than a month later we get the earliest known recordings of Big Star founding member Chris Bell in a new compilation titled "Looking Forward: The Roots Of Big Star." This new release will be available on July 7th through Omnivore Recordings and features 22-tracks (6 previously unreleased) of Bell's work with his early bands, Rock City, Christmas Future, Icewater and The Wallabys.

You can hear the early British rock influence on songs like "My Life Is Right" and "Feeling High." The psychedelic rock of Icewater's "Looking Forward" and Bell's solo "Psychdelic Stuff" showcases his love for experimenting with his sound, outside of what's popular. You can hear the early roots of Big Star in the up-tempo rock of "A Chance To Live" and "Lovely Lady." The hidden gem on this release is the Tom Eubanks original "Shine On Me," which sounds like seventies gold, while the country acoustics of "Try Again" showcases Bell's beautiful songwriting. To find out more about the new compilation "Looking Forward: The Roots Of Big Star," please visit omnivorerecordings.com.

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