Sunday, May 1, 2011

Big Star- Keep an Eye on the Sky (2009) Box Set (4 Discs) MP3 & FLAC

"Caught a glance in your eyes and fell through the skies."

It is very difficult to suss out fact from legend when it comes to a band like Big Star; as a result, it is understandable that many wonder if the few records Alex Chilton & co. managed to produce during the brief life-span of the band could ever actually measure up to the level of critical devotion directed their way for the past twenty-five years or so since being "re-discovered." Often, these Big Star skeptics claim that the band lacked originality, that they were, more or less, simply derivative of mid to late sixties Brit-Rock. While it is true that bands such as The Beatles, The Kinks and The Who are prominent touchstones, particularly on Big Star's debut, #1 Record, such critiques tend to ignore the fact that Big Star not only transformed these influences into something entirely their own, but at the time they were doing so- the early-seventies- Jangle-Pop could not have been more out of step with the music mainstream. Rather than looking backward, a better reference point for the artistic credibility of the band is the enduring influence their three albums continue to have nearly four decades later. Keep an Eye on the Sky, which contains 55 previously unreleased tracks, constitutes a worthy addendum to Big Star's original releases, and delivers on decades-old rumors that this consummate studio band left behind some forgotten treasures. Chief among these are "Motel Blues," Chilton's cover of the Loudon Wainwright III song and several demos from the ramshackle recording sessions for 3rd, many of which feature Chilton alone on acoustic 12-string; these are simply stunning. Perhaps the highlight of the set is a live show, presented in its entirety, that was recorded in Memphis in 1973. In contrast to the pristine studio recordings, Big Star as a live band was a more informal (sometimes shambolic) affair, but no less brilliant for it. Despite its considerable focus on rarities and alternate mixes, Keep an Eye on the Sky also functions as an effective career retrospective, which makes this an essential listen for the curious and the converted alike.

Keep an Eye on the Sky (4 Disc Box Set)

Disc I:
 1. Chris Bell- Psychedelic Stuff (Original Mix)  (3:04)
 2. Icewater- All I See Is You  (3:29)
 3. Alex Chilton- Everyday as We Grow Closer (Original Mix)  (2:27)
 4. Rock City- Try Again (Early Version)  (3:37)
 5. Feel  (3:32)
 6. The Ballad of el Goodo  (4:18)
 7. In the Street (Alternate Mix)  (3:02)
 8. Thirteen (Alternate Mix)  (2:36)
 9. Don't Lie to Me  (3:08)
10. The India Song (Alternate Mix)  (2:23)
11. When My Baby's Beside Me (Alternate Mix)  (3:27)
12. My Life Is Right (Alternate Mix)  (3:17)
13. Give Me Another Chance (Alternate Mix)  (3:27)
14. Try Again  (3:32)
15. Gone with the Light  (2:44)
16. Watch the Sunrise (Single Version)  (3:10)
17. ST 100/6 (Alternate Mix)  (0:54)
18. Rock City- The Preacher (Excerpt)  (0:56)
19. In the Street (Alternate Single Mix)  (3:00)
20. Feel (Alternate Mix)  (3:33)
21. The Ballad of el Goodo (Alternate Lyrics)  (4:29)
22. The India Song (Alternate Version)  (2:09)
23. Country Morn  (3:12)
24. I Got Kinda Lost (Demo)  (4:03)
25. Back of a Car (Demo)  (2:47)
26. Motel Blues (Demo)  (3:03)

Disc II:
 1. There Was a Light (Demo)  (3:43)
 2. Life Is White (Demo)  (3:18)
 3. What's Going Ahn (Demo)  (2:13)
 4. O My Soul  (5:38)
 5. Life Is White  (3:18)
 6. Way Out West  (2:50)
 7. What's Going Ahn  (2:41)
 8. You Get What You Deserve  (3:06)
 9. Mod Lang (Alternate Mix)  (2:47)
10. Back of a Car (Alternate Mix)  (2:47)
11. Daisy Glaze  (3:49)
12. She's a Mover  (3:13)
13. September Gurls  (2:47)
14. Morpha Too (Alternate Mix)  (1:28)
15. I'm in Love with a Girl  (1:48)
16. O My Soul (Alternate Version)  (5:09)
17. She's a Mover (Alternate Version)  (3:17)
18. Daisy Glaze (Rehearsal Version)  (3:52)
19. Chris Bell- I Am the Cosmos  (3:43)
20. Chris Bell- You and Your Sister  (3:10)
21. Blue Moon (Demo)  (2:08)
22. Femme Fatale (Demo)  (2:50)
23. Thank You Friends (Demo)  (2:46)
24. Nightime (Demo)  (2:13)
25. Take Care (Demo)  (1:35)
26. You Get What You Deserve (Demo)  (3:20)

Disc III:
 1. Lovely Day (Demo)  (1:51)
 2. Downs (Demo)  (1:26)
 3. Jesus Christ (Demo)  (2:28)
 4. Holocaust (Demo)  (3:36)
 5. Big Black Car (Alternate Demo)  (4:41)
 6. Manana  (0:46)
 7. Jesus Christ  (2:20)
 8. Femme Fatale  (3:29)
 9. O Dana  (2:35)
10. Kizza Me  (2:43)
11. You Can't Have Me  (3:18)
12. Nightime  (2:52)
13. Dream Lover  (3:33)
14. Big Black Car  (3:37)
15. Blue Moon  (2:06)
16. Holocaust  (3:48)
17. Stroke It Noel  (2:06)
18. For You  (2:44)
19. Downs  (1:51)
20. Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On  (3:23)
21. Kanga Roo  (3:46)
22. Thank You Friends  (3:06)
23. Take Care  (2:48)
24. Lovely Day  (2:07)
25. Till the End of the Day (Alternate Mix)  (2:13)
26. Nature Boy (Alternate Mix)  (2:38)

Disc IV: Live at Lafayette's Music Room, Memphis, TN, January, 1973
1. When My Baby's Beside Me  (3:28)
2. My Life Is Right  (3:24)
3. She's a Mover  (4:06)
4. Way Out West  (2:41)
5. The Ballad of el Goodo  (4:20)
6. In the Street  (2:50)
7. Back of a Car  (2:40)
8. Thirteen  (3:01)
9. The India Song  (2:24)
10. Try Again  (3:18)
11. Watch the Sunrise  (4:01)
12. Don't Lie to Me  (4:09)
13. Hot Burrito #2  (3:49)
14. I Got Kinda Lost  (2:56)
15. Baby Strange  (4:10)
16. Slut  (3:34)
17. There Was a Light  (3:24)
18. ST 100/6  (3:55)
19. Come on Now  (1:53)
20. O My Soul  (5:42)

Happy May Day!


  1. woo-eee! thanks voixautre!

  2. Thank you so much, voixautre, excellent post!

    One thing I can't understand is why so many songs from "#1 Record" (and few from "Radio City" as well) were presented here as "alternative mixes" instead of original album version, but it's a minor issue as mostly these versions aren't that much different from originals and the box as a whole is still very comprehensive when you want to acquaint yourself with this terrific band.

  3. Thanks for sharing the box set by one of America's greatest (and sadly unknown) bands. As with all bands that we know and love, in a perfect world Big Star would have been one of the biggest bands in the world. Alas, that never happened. This box set will have to address their greatness. Kurt

  4. Michael, because nearly everyone has "#1 Record/Radio City" in some form, the compilers of the box probably thought it more of an enticement if it contained alternate mixes instead focusing entirely on previously released material. I agree that many of these alternate mixes sound very similar to the versions on the albums; Big Star were obsessive tinkerers in the studio and didn't leave behind a lot of alternate takes- they'd record a song and then endlessly tweak the mix. All-in-all, it's a breathtaking addition to what was already released. I used to fantasize about such a box in the early nineties.

  5. Kurt, I agree, though once or twice, I've wondered what kind of effect mainstream success would have had on guys like Chilton and Bell

  6. wow. It's a great opportunity for getting deep with the band.

    It will take me some time...

  7. Lon, it's well worth it. Great set

  8. Big Thanka You for thiz!

  9. Whoa. That is how Holocaust should've been heard all along and reclaims the superior version over the Mortal Coils at long last. This release breathes new life into these (now) well worn classics, and delivers what the failed masterpiece Sisters/Lovers only ever hinted at. You do need this one.
    Thank you!

  10. m@earth, well-put! I was thinking the same thing about the material from the third album; it gives a much more complete and brilliant picture. Thanks for the comment! I will be posting some more Big Star-related stuff soon

  11. c.o.m.p.e.i.l.e.r, thanks for joining the blog. I'll be posting the Chris Bell deluxe and some live Big star very soon

  12. yeah! greetings from Japan!


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