Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Looking for his voice here...
L Buckley | Raleigh, NC United States | 11/16/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Not a lost masterpiece, but there is worthwhile material here. The sound is kind of southern-fried soul, with an occasional dash of Gram Parsons thrown in. Less of the chimey-guitar and falsetto vocals of Big Star, more of the gruff blue-eyed soul of the Box Tops (though without the restraining leash that kept those records sounding sober and radio-friendly). It's not as out-of-control as "Bach's Bottom." But it's not as crisp as his playing on all of his post-1970s work, where Alex displays really tasty, understated rhythm guitar (and equally-understated breaks--I hesitate to call them solos--along the lines of George Harrison). Vocally, he's switching between his "macho" Box-Tops voice and his more natural mid-rangy voice. His singing on records of the past two decades is more understated--sometimes even deadpan.
Alex has matured into a rock and roll equivalent of the "saloon singer," as Frank Sinatra would say. Unfortunately, the music world doesn't have a place for singers who artfully reinterpret, refine, and rediscover songs of the rock era. Too bad, because someone like Alex can illuminate a song's strengths and make you hear it afresh--he's not really interested in using music as a vehicle to hash out childhood trauma, excoriate the government, display his navel, or save the world. He just meets the song with keen arranging abilities, killer grooves, biting rhythm guitar, and his Chet Baker-of-rock vocals. For the recent material, it usually doesn't hit you until several listens what a groovy take Alex has come up with on whatever song he's singing. But there's almost never anything you mind hearing after 200 listens; his newer material sounds as if he's had to listen to himself perform it enough to know what's working and what's not.
1970 misses both glorious decadence of Big Star's Third and the black comedy, rump-shaking grooves, and wonderful variety of the later stuff (I love his takes on gospel songs and standards).
1970's stone-classic, for me, is "I Wish I Could Meet Elvis," in which Alex, in an exaggerated drawl enhanced by echo/delay, channels the spirit of trailer-trash fandom (and kind of presages the documentary film "Dancin' Outlaw"). Check out both this song and the film; you won't be sorry."
Alex's bridge between The Box Tops and Big Star
J. R. Vargon | New York City, USA | 11/03/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Along with "Man Called Destruction" and "Bachs Bottom" I've always been partial to 1970. This album is another that had been shelved for whatever reason and features a good collection of Alex originals and covers that bridge the gap between his life musically between The Box Tops and Big Star.
Sure these recordings at times are raw, but they do provide insight into Alex's head at the time and where he was headed as a musician. Ironically this is the first recording to feature "Free Again" which also pops up later on Bachs Bottom almost as his "up your's" to the bands / musicians who he may have felt compromised him as a musician, or took time from his life with little in return.
1970 features a young, irreverent, promisingly talented and mischievous Alex who after Big Star burned out in 1974 wouldn't resurface again till the mid 1980s when he'd gotten his life together again, and later when he released A Man Called Destruction. It's definitely an album worth having in your collection if you have an interest in Alex's younger years, and want to see where the seeds of his pre-Big Star musicianship really began.
Uneven, but worth it if your a diehard Chilton fan.
J. R. Vargon | 04/10/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
""1970" is an uneven album, but it is worth the price if your a diehard Alex Chilton fan. The best songs on this one are very different - the sweet ballad "EMI Song", and the punk-meets-Led Zepplin cover of the Archie's "Sugar Sugar". "EMI Song" is possibly a distant cousin to Big Star's "Another Chance" while "Sugar Sugar" might be seen as kind of a cousin to "Baron of Love" from Alex's "Flies On Sherbert" album. Since this album was actually recorded between Alex's time with the Box Tops and his time with Big Star, he is actually still singing in his Box Tops raspy voice on much of this material though not all of it. This is also the first time that he was allowed to write most of his own material for an album so what you see is an artist in transition. "EMI Song" and "Sugar Sugar" make it all worthwhile though."