Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Alex Chilton - Live In London (1980)

This is an incredibly sloppy rock 'n roll music recording. And I'm not necessarily talking about the band itself (bassist and drummer from the Soft Boys and some other guy) and their attempts to barely keep up with the stumbling manner in which Alex Chilton rattles his way through this quite impressive mix of Big Star classics, covers, and still unheralded solo jams.

Maybe it's the crackly vinyl rip that I'm listening to, but the mix here is a bit ridiculous. Occasionally the guitars will be way the fuck down there while the drums and vocals are louder than everything else. The best parts are on the disgusting renditions of "In The Street" and "The Letter" where Chilton decides to play a guitar solo and it just jarringly craps right out of the speakers. And you gotta love those vocals on "Nighttime," with Chilton's voice cracking (purposely part of the delivery, though, it would seem) and moving in and out of everything. And that squealing feedback on "Kangaroo," oh, yes, no complaints there. The guy is lazy as shit, but he's got that true RnR spirit!

Most of all, though, it's just cool to hear those great Like Flies On Sherbert tunes like "Hey! Little Child," "Rock Hard," and "My Rival" documented in officially released live renditions. Somehow I doubt that he's played them much since them. They certainly cook here. While he doesn't dig too deep into the post Big Star repertoire that I'm familiar with through that album and Bach's Bottom, there's enough here to draw in and even satisfy the die hards and not just for completist reasons. Chilton and his band bash these fuckers out like your drunken heroes the 'Mats or the Faces or whoever. They also open with a song called "Bangkok" that suggests that the city in question is located in Indonesia and includes a line about "slanty eyed men lying in bed" so if you like racism then you'll enjoy this recording even more.

Rating: This shit brings it. If those two early solo LP's speak to you, then you will likely appreciate Live In London. Maybe listen to those first, though.

Download Link: "Kangaroo"... or is it "Kanga Roo"? Huh.

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