Search - Big Star :: Keep An Eye On The Sky

Keep An Eye On The Sky
Big Star
Keep An Eye On The Sky
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
 
  •  Track Listings (25) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (25) - Disc #2
  •  Track Listings (28) - Disc #3
  •  Track Listings (20) - Disc #4

KEEP AN EYE ON THE SKY-arriving September 15-spans 1968 to 1975 and the collection uncovers a trove of unreleased demos, unused mixes, alternate versions of songs, and a 1973 concert recorded in Memphis. The lavish packagi...  more »

     
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CD Details

All Artists: Big Star
Title: Keep An Eye On The Sky
Members Wishing: 11
Total Copies: 0
Label: Rhino
Original Release Date: 1/1/2009
Re-Release Date: 9/15/2009
Album Type: Box set, Original recording remastered
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
Styles: Hardcore & Punk, Power Pop
Number of Discs: 4
SwapaCD Credits: 4
UPC: 081227985875

Synopsis

Product Description
KEEP AN EYE ON THE SKY-arriving September 15-spans 1968 to 1975 and the collection uncovers a trove of unreleased demos, unused mixes, alternate versions of songs, and a 1973 concert recorded in Memphis. The lavish packaging includes extensive liner notes, rare and never-before-seen photos, and insightful essays about the cult of Big Star and the band's history. Spotlighting the band's roots, the box set opens with several songs recorded before Big Star formed, including 'Try Again,' one of the first songs Bell and Chilton wrote together. Big Star inspired a fevered allegiance among fans of power pop, giving rise to a cult of believers who spent decades spreading the gospel. Their enthusiasm turned this obscure Memphis pop band-one that got little airplay, sold few records, and only played a handful of times-into a remarkable rock and roll resurrection story. Big Star's trek from obscure Memphis band to standard bearers for an entire genre of music has never been fully mapped-until now.
 

CD Reviews

Thrilled to have this, but with some disappointment
Justin Cole | 09/27/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"First off, I can't believe I would ever see a box of Big Star, let alone see it given the usual high standards one has come to expect from Rhino. The packaging is fantastic, combining layout, fonts and design into a seemless, immersive experience. The book that comes with the set is the best I have read so far about the band, surpassing even the 33 1/3 book on "Radio City" by a hair. There are a ton of photographs (which was startling, since the same four or five photos of them have been endlessly recycled over the years) and the text is broken down into appropriate sections, including one regarding how they acquired a cult following.

Then there's the music, four discs crammed to capacity with remastered original album tracks, alternate mixes and demos. There's even a whole disc devoted to live tracks. The sound is as pristine as one would expect. No complaints so far.

But then there's the matter of those original albums, as presented here. In lieu of simply having the remastered albums, many of the tracks are alternate mixes or versions, and inserted into the original running order. While I am grateful for these alternates, it seems odd to have them mixed in with original tracks, and in the order they were on the albums.

Even stranger, some of these alternate tracks are then presented in additional alternate versions outside of the running order. And some of the alternate tracks are almost indistinguishable from the original versions. Even worse, some of these tracks only appear in fairly radically different versions--the most notable of which is "Mod Lang" which is here only in a version fouled-up by annoying overdubbed ad libs.

And some of the previously unreleased tracks are a bit misleading. "Manana" is an extended version of the opening of "Jesus Christ". It is nice to have this track, but to label it as something other than the intro to the song seems a bit dishonest.

The live material is good to have, though not crucial The most startling discovery here is "ST 100/6", expanding it from its original one-minute length to almost four, through the interweaving of the song with Rock City's equally brief "The Preacher". That is, indeed, a fascinating new find.

I hate to split hairs over this set, since it is amazing to have this at all, and the packaging and sound are impeccable. Alas, I would have been happiest if the set left the original albums alone, and put all of the bonus material on the offsides."
Finally
Ralph from Brooklyn | 09/16/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The best rock'n'roll is created on the margins. It doesn't matter if you sell a dozen or a million records, it's all about heart and soul and guts. The Kingsmen, The Seeds, Television, The Castaways, The Velvets are just as important as any trillion seller you can think of because they felt what they did and they did it very well indeed.

That's a long lead in to say that there is another very imortant box set out this month and it's made by a truly American band. In fact, as far as I'm concerned, Big Stars "Keep An Eye On The Sky" is much more cause for joy than the Beatles boxes. And I daresay that anyone who has been touched by this truly magnificent band would agree with me.

Now, going into the history of this band is not something I want to do. Suffice to say it's the stuff of movies and legend. But no matter what tragedy or sadness befell these guys (and the story of Chris Bell, guitarist and songwriter is indeed very sad), the music will always stand. Heart wrenching, exhilarating pop music from the heart and soul of 4 (then 3) guys from Memphis in the early seventies. These discs are filled with classics, even if you never heard them. "Way Out West", "September Girls", "Ballad Of El Goodo" I can't think of a bad one in the bunch. All 3 albums ("#1 Record", "Radio City" and "3rd") are represented in full with the occasional alternate take, all sound the best I've ever heard(and I'm including the original vinyl in this assesment) with "3rd" trouncing the Ryko release. There are amazing Chilton demos here, and you have not lived until you've heard him alone on an acoustic singing "Femme Fatale". And the live disc will knock you out. Excellent fidelity, recorded in '73 with the remaining 3 original members (Chilton, Hummel, Stephens) it proves that they could bring it live just as well as they could in studio.

I've gone on too long here, and instead of going song by song, I've tried to convey they joy that this band has brought me for the past 35 or so years. You can listen to the samples, and, like the best pop songs, 30 seconds is all you need to see how great these tunes are. A friend of mine had some Big Star t shirts made around 1975, just because of band love. It was a cool shirt and I wore mine until it was in tatters. When you're feeling alone, sad, stressed, ready to cry, this music will wrench you, touch you and make you feel more than alive, it will make you feel free. A thousand stars for a band that is finally getting the treatment they deserve after all these many years."
Stunning
Daniel E. Winslow | Wichita Falls, TX | 09/16/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The box set we have all been waiting for. I admit I dived in and was not immediately blown away by the early tracks or the remastering or alternate takes on disc one. Then along comes the series of demos with just Alex and his 12 string and the entire project gels and comes into focus. It's all here, and in fuller fidelity. The heart-on-the-sleeve anthemic pop songs, introspective ballads. Popping joy and aching melencholy. Music simply doesn't get any better. This item is worth every dollar you can throw at it. God bless Big Star forever."