Thereâ€™s an element of triumph in the unjustly-ignored-in-their-time Big Star being celebrated in retrospect. At the same time, the books [1 2 3 4], documentary, reissues [1 2 3], box sets [1 2] archival artifacts [1 2 3 4 5 6], resurrections and reunions [1 2 3 4], tributary performances (and resulting concert film) and best-ofs [1 2], threaten to overwhelm the rare brilliance of their slim, original catalog. For the uninitiated, the two-fer of the bandâ€™s first two albums provides the original testaments, and the challenging third album the capstone. But if three albums is too much to absorb up front, this collection provides a a Cliffâ€™s Notes to a musical novella whose briefness belies its importance and nuance.
The disc intertwines material from the groupâ€™s three 1970â€™s albums, #1 Record, Radio City and Third/Sister Lovers, and includes many of the bandâ€™s most beloved songs. For fans, the draw is a half-dozen single versions. Robert Gordonâ€™s liner notes summarize the ill fates that befell the band, and their Phoenix-like rise from obscurity to seminal influence. The music essays the groupâ€™s sweetest acoustic moments, their hardest rocking, and the despair that gripped Alex Chilton as he spiraled into the third album. A â€œbest ofâ€ is only a short hop away from an ouvre that can be had in two discs [1 2], but if youâ€™re not ready for the plunge, this is a good place to start. [Â©2017 Hyperbolium]