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Like Flies on Sherbert Extra tracks, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered

4.3 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Like Flies on Sherbert
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Audio CD, Extra tracks, Original recording reissued, January 5, 1999
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 5, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Extra tracks, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Redeye Distribution
  • ASIN: B00000G5GU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #788,333 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This is a great album. It's about how music is played as opposed to beautiful musical ideas. It's about interaction and willful screwups. Most Big Star fans don't like this album, recorded at various studios in Memphis around 1978 and originally released, on LP, in the fall of 1979 (those original LPs of "Sherbert" numbered only 500). There's more verve, insolence and real musicianship here than in just about any release since the 1950s. Alex Chilton has been quoted as saying that "Like Flies On Sherbert" is his masterpiece, and who are we to argue? Plus drummer/monologuist Ross Johnson's tale of drugs, Soft-Tex and Elvis, "Baron Of Love Part 2," is worth the price of admission, as is "Hey! Little Child" and the amazing "Hook Or Crook." This album is the Memphis spirit, as live as you would wish to have it. Just remember, when you listen to this crazy quilt of obscure covers from artists as disparate as Ernest Tubb, Jimmy C. Newman, and K.C. and the Sunshine Band, that a guy named Elvis did something quite similar with odd material back in the '50s. And for all the supposed indisicipline of the performances, these are great musicians just having a good time, Memphis-style. Don't miss it. I got a love to go...
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Format: Audio CD
This is the album that divides Alex Chilton fans. On the one hand, there are people who revere the Big Star albums as the ultimate revisionist take on British-Invasion and west-coast pop music. "#1 Record" and "Radio City" certainly derive from the Byrds, Beatles, Zombies, Who, Kinks, as well as from the Beach Boys and Moby Grape. And the Big Star albums are untouchable. On the other hand, there are fans who, in my opinion, get the bigger picture and see how "Like Flies on Sherbert" and other solo works by Chilton ("Bangkok," "Walking Dead," "Take Me Home and Make Me Like It") are the next step past mere reverence for the admittedly storied past.
I'm of the opinion that "Sherbert" is one of the great albums of the late '70s, or indeed of any era. As a corrective to the mere reverence I referred to earlier, it's unbeatable; and of course it fits in with the so-called psychobilly of bands like the Cramps. Yet "Sherbert" is unique because it combines a lingering affection for the somewhat naive products of men like Ernest Tubb and Jimmy C. Newman with a desire to reveal the rather unpleasant or at least geographically and romantically fraught realities that lie beneath seemingly artless songs like A. P. Carter's version of an old Civil War song, "Lorena," that later became, through some alchemy, a song about slavery called both "Way Down in Alabama" and "No More the Moon Shines on Lorena."
Many, including the obviously challenged folk at AMG, simply dismiss this album. Goodness gracious, what delicate sensibilities one must have to be offended by the twanging guitars and sprattling synthesizers of "Sherbert.
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Format: Audio CD
There are only a few albums that are greater than the sum of their parts. Even a collection of great songs (for example, Dylan's Blood on the Tracks) is in the end just a collection of great songs, whereas the type of album that I'm talking about is, in the end, a totally unique experience. Albums of this type include Big Star's Third/Sister Lovers, John Coltrane's A Love Supreme, Charles Gayle's Touchin' on Trane, Albert Ayler's Spiritual Unity, Junior Kimbrough's All Night Long and the album that I'm reviewing, Alex Chilton's Like Flies on Sherbert. I feel no need to defend this album against the many criticisms that have been leveled against it-either you get it or you don't. From Baron of Love through the cataclysmic ending of the title track, the listener is given the rare opportunity to witness the quirky, yet passionate impetus at the root of Memphis music. Like Flies on Sherbert is for Memphis music what John Water's early movies are for the underbelly of Baltimore: Both combine parody of and passion for their subjects to such an extent that the line between the two is thoroughly blurred. To some listeners this is irritating. To me it is exciting.
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Format: Audio CD
First of all this is not a conventional GOOD or BAD album. It requires too much explaining for most people to even care to "get it". The album was recorded in a few boozy/druggy nights and was mixed on and off for a year according to Mr. Chilton. The musicians were very unfamilliar with the material (and unrehearsed) which was somehow very attracive to Alex. The album kinda makes sense considering Alex's state of mind at the time - having been burned a few times by the music industry by now. He was in a "if anyone's gonna screw this up it's gonna be me" spiteful mind set. False starts, wrong notes and pure lunacy is accentuated in the mix. Even flaunted.

The Replacements boozy tendencies make a lot of sense after hearing this record. You hear the influence right away.

Maybe it's just me but there's something very exciting and even primal in this recording which you simply don't hear much in "music".

Thank you Mr. Chilton
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