Monday, August 26, 2013

Alex Chilton Unplugged

This recently unearthed recording of a February 13, 1997 concert by Box Tops/Big Star songwriter Alex Chilton is unusually laid-back, goofy even...even without the clink of bottles you'd get the idea that most of the crowd had been drinking, and even Chilton sounds a little giddy as he searches for that "magic folk song that shuts this thing down." The show was at the Knitting Factory, and the power blew out just before the second set, so what you hear is completely acoustic, off-the-cuff and mostly acoustic. In it, Chilton re-affirms his love for the Beach Boys (with covers of "Surfer Girl" and "Wouldn't it Be Nice", classic country ("D-I-V-O-R-C-E" and "Walk the Line") and, er, bossa nova ("Girl from Ipanema"). He messes up -- and occasionally makes up -- lyrics, takes audience requests and is, generally, quite charming. More than a handful of these songs are well out of his range, but a squeak is more likely to elicit a laugh than a wince. It sounds like a good time, and though there are much better Alex Chilton recordings, you kind of wish you had been there.

The record is called Electricity by Candlelight and it's out October 25th on Bar/None

Am I cynical or did they dig this out just in time to cash in on the Big Star movie?


Conan1982 said...

Hi Jennifer,

Thanks for the great review; having the listener wish they were there, especially true, post Big Star Alex Chilton fans is one of the main the reasons this recording exists.

As for the timing of this release, it has been in the works since 2011 and was not ready till now.

All in all I'm glad you dig it :-)

Take care,

Jeff Vargon
Bronx, New York

jenniferpkelly said...

Thanks Jeff, good stuff.