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Reviews: Big Star: #1 Record/Radio City

Reviews: 5

Review by arvindmohindra July 15, 2004 (4 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
First and foremost both the individual albums - #1 Record and Radio City are stellar albums epitomizing or rather considered to be originators of the concept of "power pop"

Liner Notes begin by quoting Encylopedia Britannica - Big Star: American band that during its brief existence in the early 1970s helped define power pop, a style in which bright melodies and tunefully boyish vocals are propelled by urgent rhythms (Encylopedia Britannica).

Incidentally, Rolling Stones recent listing of Top 500 albums of all times gives due credit to Big Star by putting in all 3 studio albums ever released by the band at # 403 (Radio City), # 438 (#1 Record), and # 456 (Third/Sister Lovers). Very few bands have indeed 100% of the catalogue in Top 500 listing. (Incidentally, Nick Drake's all 3 albums make it to Top 500 albums - would love to get them on SACD versions).

# 1 Record and Radio City differ in style due to Chris Bell's departure in second album (though he contributed on a few tracks but was not credited). Notable songs from both albums are Feel, Ballad of El Gordo, In the street (which was recently covered by Cheap Trick for TV series That '70s Show - hate the version by Cheap Trick! they had their moments at Budokan but this was not their moment), and notable September Gurls. ST 100/6 is a great track - under one minute and just breathtaking! Alex Chilton is superb and Chris Bell is equally great at taut compositions and great vocals.

Kudos to Stax / Fantasy for putting this album out (along with others such as Leo Kottke - 6 & 12 string guitar, Issac Hayes - Shaft, etc.)

The sound is simply unbelievable. I have a reasonable collection of Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs, SACDs, DCC and other audiophile recordings and this recording is just stellar for the era it was recorded in. The transfer to SACD is beautiful and i am awaiting for the Third / Sister Lovers to be out on SACD to be able to hear Kanga-Roo (notably covered by Jeff Buckley - orginally by Alex Chilton from the third album)

Simply awesome sound! and beautiful music! stellar combination!

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Review by lampertb January 28, 2011 (1 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This release is the best headphone album that I own... period.

It's a crime that this group didn't break through. The first half (i.e., first album) of this SACD is especially amazing. Totally recommended....

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Review by progboy March 13, 2011 (0 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I had no idea that Big Star had been given the SACD treatment so while still reasonably priced I picked it up. I had the "2 on 1" STAX CD release which I had played to death in previous years having loved all 3 Big Star Albums.......yes even the uneven "Third" album ! (which is NOT on this SACD release). The one thing I would say is that my original STAX cd version did sound pretty good sonically so I had low expectations of this SACD.

Well I can tell you that the SACD transfer on the first album is extra special ...The Song "Thirteen" alone is perhaps the best track you can play to show off your 2 channel playback on ! The SACD mastering has been donecarefully and with great skill offering excellent soundscaping while ensuring the raw power pop of the band is preserved.

The second album "Radio City" seems to not have been mastered quite as well to SACD and is not as big a jump sonically as the debut album. But having said that it still is an excellent upgrade for this fan.

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Review by analogue February 21, 2012 (6 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
We never hear this music on any classic rock stations that I know of. And yet its great music. This sacd contains Big Stars first two albums so there is a lot of great music to be had here. This is music from the early and almost mid 70's. Its been labelled as power pop and for good reason.Musically this sacd is a great example of the unique.....almost startling band that never really went anywhere.

Its very difficult to desribe the sound of this music as its really a very braod combination of many different and diverse flavours. The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, Bread, Byrds....perhaps some early Who thrown in for good measure. And maybe even a little Led Zep. Its rock and roll and some hard rock mixed with folk rock.

Its amazing this group didnt catch on as their style is really unique and still maintains a freshness that is impressive. Shockingly there is virtually no lead guitar work in these tunes but the rhythm guitar is most impressive and this is why I am reminded of George Harrison so much. The midrange is really where it at on this sacd.

The recording is excellent with a full rich sound with a nice low end, fabulous drum work and twanging guitars and crisp vocals.

This music stands the test of time and most assuredly influneced a generation of music that came after it. Namely Tom Petty and the alternative phase of music. It possesses catchy licks and hooks that are very addictive.

A very excellent sacd both musically and sonically.

Highly recommended.

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Review by cooltype937 March 25, 2014 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
By this time, much has been written and said about the seminal power pop band Big Star. After listening to this magnificent sounding sacd I recommend watching the Big Star documentary "Nothing Can Hurt Me". Be sure to watch the extra "Big Star In the Studio" where the producer John Frey sums up the quaiity of these recordings with one simple phrase: "pop music for audiophiles". He is so right.

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