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One half of Big Star's songwriting duo, Chris Bell, made the decision to leave the band following the 1972 release of #1 Record, which left Alex Chilton at the helm as primary songwriter on album number two. Chilton was able to use this opportunity to shine and prove himself to be an incredible songwriter on his own. Journalists noticed: bearing a tongue-in-cheek title, Radio City garnered rave reviews and produced several cult favorites, including 'September Gurls,' which has been covered by everyone from The Bangles to Superdrag.
In his liner notes, Mike Mills writes, 'On Radio City, Chilton confirms his place as one of the best songwriters in rock and roll. While 'September Gurls' may be the best-known song from this album, every other song here is one that I wish I d written.'
This reissue comes during a time of resurgence for Big Star, a band whose legacy has been widely recognized as of late, with a tribute record (Big Star Small World, 2006), a documentary (2012's Nothing Can Hurt Me) and a touring live show, 'Big Star's Third,' which features the sole-surviving original member of the band, Jody Stephens, on drums, guest vocalists, a chamber orchestra and a core band including Mike Mills, Chris Stamey of The dB's, The Posies' Ken Stringfellow and others. The ever-changing ensemble performs Big Star's third album Third/Sister Lovers, as well as favorites from the first two records.
'Songwriting has always been, for me, the most vital gauge of a band's quality, and these guys were clearly masters.' Mike Mills
Top Customer Reviews
The only CD copy I have ever heard of these two albums is the two-fer release from 1992 (NOT 2009). These both definitely represent upgrades in dynamic range and overall tone. The biggest improvement is the bass tone, by far. It sounds natural and clear. All instruments are more clear and present than they were on that CD release. This is not to disparage that release, and I certainly wouldn't call these releases necessary, or worse, "like hearing the music for the first time" (as a great reissue certainly can do), but that earlier CD really isn't that bad. It's a little bright, and there's definitely less dynamic range. Still, the improvements heard on these new reissues are noticeable.
As far as #1 Record is concerned, the album definitely sounds different from it's original LP release (which I have to compare to) and the 1992 CD. The instruments are more clear than ever before. On songs like "Feel" or any time there is an acoustic guitar, you can clearly hear their hands moving around the fingerboard and neck (sliding in-between notes). It's present on other releases, but even more so here. The intro to "Ballad of El Goodo" is noticeably more quiet than on the 1992 CD, with a greater and more effective buildup to that first chorus. "In The Street"'s guitars come way down in volume, which helps all the other instruments. And "Thirteen"'s acoustic guitars are more clear than ever, even more clear than on the original vinyl pressings. The hollow-body of the acoustic in the left channel is so clear and full, it really sounds like the guitar is in the room with you.Read more ›
So BUY the album but not from that company.
But this reissue gets only 3 stars. Why? Because, despite hype to the contrary, this is just a pointless decoupling of the 2-fer SACD/hybrid disc from 2004 #1 Record/Radio City. That 2004 2-fer offers the same sound as this one on the CD layer, and higher resolution sound on the SACD layer. And you get both albums on one disc for considerably less than buying them separately. And if you want one, you do want both albums.
Be careful. There are many reissues of the 2-fer:
1) Import on Line label from Germany
2) Import on Big Beat label (some variants missing 2 songs)
3) 1992 2-fer on Stax/Fantasy
4) 2004 2-fer SACD #1 Record/Radio City
5) 2009 2-fer on Stax/Concord.
The one you want to get is #4, the SACD. Avoid the 1992 and 2009 reissues, which have inferior sound.
One additional comment: This music was recorded with a lot of treble and not a huge amount of bass. That's how it sounds on the original vinyl, and that's apparently how it sounds on the master tapes. None of the reissues is an audiophile delight. But of the reissues, the SACD 2-fer is the one to get.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of THE most influential records of the '70's. Beautifully simple and remarkably complex at the same time. If you DON'T own it, you SHOULD.Published 13 months ago by krusty
sounds like the tele is clean into yhe mix board greatPublished 14 months ago by jones w purcell jr
The best digital version of this classic album. You need this.Published 16 months ago by Gregory P. Carrier