'I never travel far, without a little Big Star' as someone once said. I was, however, a little late starting the journey. I remember unsuccessfully trying to buy #1 Record in one of Virgin's early shops in Leeds. Ardent's distribution problems were legendary and I suppose that the chances of any of their records reaching West Yorkshire were slim. The dawn of the CD era saw many labels pushing their back catalogue out in the new format and one of the first CD's I ever bought was the double header of #1 Record and Radio City.
There is little doubt that Big Star worked best during the brief period when Alex Chilton and Chris Bell were in tandem. Radio City (although wonderful) lacks some of its predecessors sense of purpose and, come the recording of Sister Lovers, Alex was away with the fairies. Listening to the three records together is like hearing a band disintegrate in front of your ears.
The song that makes it into the Good Reverend's Hymnal is the glorious 'When My Baby's Beside Me'. This, quite simply, is how bands should sound. Whenever I hear it it makes me feel a whole lot better and that, as they say, will do for me.
Listen: When My Baby's Beside Me - Big Star