Friday, September 11, 2009

Thank You Friends: The Songs Of Big Star (September 2009)

Side A
1. Feel by The Posies
2. The Ballad Of El Goodo by Evan Dando
3. September Gurls by The Bangles
4. Thirteen by Mary Lou Lord
5. Jesus Christ by Teenage Fanclub
6. Kangaroo by Bat For Lashes
7. Holocaust by This Mortal Coil

Side B
8. ST100/6 by Dambuilders
9. September Gurls by Superdrag
10. Thirteen by Elliott Smith
11. Nightime by Dennison Witmer
12. Blue Moon by Damon & Naomi
13. Kangaroo by This Mortal Coil
14. Big Black Car by The Walkabouts
"The bartender put on Big Star's Radio City. Renée was the only other person in the room who perked up. We started talking about how much we loved Big Star. It turned out we had the same favorite Big Star song - the acoustic ballad "Thirteen." She'd never heard their third album, Sister Lovers. So, naturally, I told her the same thing I'd told every other woman I'd ever fallen for: "I'll make you a tape!"
- Rob Sheffield, from Love Is A Mix Tape

It was from that one small section that I became interested in hearing Big Star. Unbeknownst, I, like millions of other people, had been hearing Big Star once a week for eight years. "Hanging out/Down the street/The same old things/We did last week." Yes, the song now known as that "That 70's Song" was none other than "In The Street" from Big Star's first album, #1 Record, an album that blew my mind about anything related to Power Pop, Rock and songwriting in general. As did their followup, Radio City, and that record's followup, Third/Sister Lovers. Within a brief window of time in the 70's, here was a band that didn't write songs for specifically for radio, commercial acceptance or to get women. They just amazingly great records. Records that influenced many artists to either cover their songs thus passing great tracks like "Thirteen" and "Kangaroo" onto their fans who might be curious enough to hear the original versions or to name check them in songs or as a titles as The Replacements did on "Alex Chilton," an ode to Big Star's leader.

These songs are an tribute to Big Star's greatness, a greatness that I'd been hear all along but never really knew until the opening notes of "Feel." Hopefully, these 14 tracks will encourage you to seek out one of their albums or invest in their new box set, Keep Your Eye On The Sky. It was Paul Westerberg who sang "I never travelled far without a little Big Star" and neither should you.

In addition to the mixtape, here are two additional covers of "Thirteen" by Wilco and Garbage as well as a cover of Big Star guitarist/singer Chris Bell's single, "I Am The Cosmos" by The Posies, whose core members Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow, are also members of the current lineup of Big Star.

Download Thank You Friends: The Songs Of Big Star here.
"Thirteen" by Garbage
"Thirteen" by Wilco
"I Am The Cosmos" by The Posies

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