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Bach's Bottom

Alex Chilton

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Album Review

Recorded in 1975 and 1976, shortly after Big Star broke up during the fractious, drug-addled sessions for their final album, the songs on Bach's Bottom were similarly left stranded at the time, although four of them did eventually show up on the 1977 Ork Records EP Singer Not the Song. Released well after the sessions, Bach's Bottom (a punning title on Chilton's first band) is a mess. As a mess, it's a less-glorious mess than Sister Lovers, which manages to sound spooky and haunted and decadent and rocking as often as not; these 15 songs mostly just sound like drunken, sneering rambles. (All three versions of the lumbering jam "Take Me Home and Make Me Like It" sound like they're on the verge of total collapse, and not in a good way.) On the other hand, that actually fits songs like "Free Again," the most obviously Big Star-like tune here, and the storming cover of the Seeds' "Can't Seem to Make You Mine," so parts of the album actually work. And of course, it has "Bangkok," possibly Chilton's finest post-Big Star single, so it's close to necessary just for that. But Bach's Bottom is strictly for the hardcore Chilton fan, as it's one of his most willfully difficult and impenetrable records.

Customer Reviews

There's No Spirit There, Richard

A shambolic Alex Chilton masterwork, perhaps not as essential as Third, but a valuable document nonetheless. Bach's Bottom marks Chilton's first solo sessions since the demise of Big Star and here he sounds like he couldn't care less. The title is of course a pun on his tenure with The Box Tops. This may be my fave of his solo records, even above 1970 and Like Flies On Sherbert. If you love Alex Chilton in particular, not just with Big Star, then this is a must.

Biography

Born: December 28, 1950 in Memphis, TN

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

In a business that reinvents itself at every turn, Alex Chilton thrived for four decades with a three-fold career — his early recordings with the Box Tops, the albums he did with Big Star in the mid-'70s and after the group re-formed with a new lineup in 1993, and the spate of cool but chaotic solo albums he recorded beginning in the late '70s. To some, he was a classic hitmaker from the '60s. To others, he was a genius British-style pop musician and songwriter. To yet another audience, he...
Full Bio

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