You get what you deserve, Big Star fans, so here are the rest of the tracks from the 2000 bootleg “What’s Goin’ Ahn.” The “rough mixes” of songs from Radio City (1974), like the ones from #1 Record last week, aren’t lost treasures by any means, but the demos of songs that didn’t make it onto the album are well worth a listen. Fans who own Chris Bell’s posthumous 1992 collection I Am the Cosmos (1992) will recognize “I Got Kinda Lost” and “There Was a Life” (which eventually morphed into “There Was a Light”). Both feature Chilton on lead vocals instead of Bell, who left Big Star after #1 Record but contributed to the writing of Radio City‘s “O My Soul” and “Back of a Car” and played guitar on the album. And judging by three of the demo tracks on “What’s Goin’ Ahn,” he had an even bigger hand in the initial recording process.
“What’s Goin’ Ahn” is rounded out by two live tracks from Chilton performed at CBGB in New York City in 1978. “Holocaust” is from Third/Sister Lovers, which was released quietly that year after being in limbo since ’75, giving Chilton plenty of time to rethink its songs and mess around with them in concert; “Holocaust’s” death rattle is missing in the live recording, replaced with a quicker tempo. The other track from ’78, “A Little Fishy,” was recorded the previous year as part of a demo for Elektra Records. The label decided not to add Chilton to its roster, but the three songs on that demo that I’m offering below — “She Might Look My Way,” “Windows Hotel,” and “Shakin’ the World” — contain some of Chilton’s brightest and best pop, a genre he didn’t visit often as a solo artist once Big Star disbanded. Joining him on the demo session were Chris Stamey on bass, Lloyd Fonoroff on drums, and Fran Kowalski on keyboards.
The Elektra tracks come from 1996’s “Beale Street Green” bootleg. It also contains the #1 Record outtake “Another Time, Another Place, and You,” an instrumental written by Chris Bell, and a live version of “September Gurls” that Chilton performed in ’77 with future dB’s Chris Stamey and Will Rigby. If anyone out there has a bootleg of demos or outtakes from Third and is willing to share, let me know. And if you’re not willing to share, I hope you get what you deserve.
Radio City outtakes:
O My Soul [Rough Mix w/ Alternate Vocal]
Way Out West [Rough Mix w/ Alternate Vocal]
You Get What You Deserve [Rough Mix]
Mod Lang [Rough Mix w/ Alternate Vocal]
Daisy Glaze [Instrumental Version]
She’s a Mover [Alternate Take]
Morpha Too [Rough Mix]
There Was a Life [Demo]
I Got Kinda Lost [Demo]
Gone With the Light [Demo]
Motel Blues [Demo]
#1 Record outtake:
Another Time, Another Place, and You
She Might Look My Way [Demo]
Windows Hotel [Demo]
Shakin’ the World [Demo]
September Gurls [Live at the Ocean Club in New York City in ’77]
Holocaust [Live at CBGB in New York City in ’78]
A Little Fishy [Live at CBGB in New York City in ’78]