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LIVE ON WLIR

Live On Wlir


Big Star was a band that was more devoted to the recording studio than the stage. While it was a celebrated performance at a 1973 rock writers convention in Memphis that prompted Alex Chilton to soldier on and record a second Big Star album after 1972's #1 Record fell on deaf ears upon its initial release, the members of the band freely admitted that they were hit-and-miss as a live act. In February 1974, Big Star were trying to drum up support for their underperforming sophomore LP, the brilliant Radio City, when they made their way to Ultrasonic Studios in Long Island, New York to cut a live-in-the-studio performance for broadcast on WLIR-FM. The show circulated in edited form as a vinyl bootleg in the '80s before it was given a complete and authorized release in 1992 by Rykodisc under the title Big Star Live. In 2018, Omnivore Recordings took another stab at the material in an edition titled Live on WLIR, and it does make some noticeable changes over its previous incarnations. The bootleg LP was clearly taken from an over-the-airwaves recording of the radio broadcast, while the Rykodisc release used the studio session tapes as its source. However, the Ryko edition was subjected to some extensive studio work to clean up the audio, and Live on WLIR sounds rougher and edgier by comparison. However, this works to the advantage of the music; while the Ryko CD sometimes sounded soft and muffled, Live on WLIR gets the scrappy tone of Alex Chilton's guitar work just right, and there's a greater snap in Jody Stephens' drumming. The recording was done in one pass without overdubs, and there are obvious flaws both in the engineering and the performance. Bassist John Lightman had only been in Big Star for a few weeks when this gig was recorded, and the band sounds a bit loose, as if they were still working out the interplay between the members. Big Star sounds like a different band here than they did on #1 Record and Radio City -- tougher, with a more pronounced garage accent -- but in many ways, the occasional jagged edges give the songs considerably more energy than the studio renditions of these tunes. The no-frills feel of Live on WLIR anticipates the off-the-cuff approach of Chilton's solo work of the '80s, especially Feudalist Tarts and High Priest, while the languid but emotionally naked tone of the acoustic mini-set at the midpoint feels like a preview of what would evolve into Big Star's 3rd. This recording documents a good but not great night in the life of Big Star, but it's a fascinating artifact of what the band sounded like outside the confines of the studio, and this is the best presentation of this material to date. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

  • Condition: New
    HPB condition ratings
    • New: Mint condition or still sealed (SS). Absolutely perfect in every way. New.
    • Fine/Like New (EX): No defects, little sign of use, well cared for. Plays perfectly. Close to new. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. Could be an unopened promotional or cut item. Sometimes called: mint-minus.
    • Very Good (VG): Will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it.
    • Good (G): Attractive and well cared for, but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, scuffing or scratching, but will play almost perfectly. For vinyl: barely detectable crackles or pops.
    • Fair (FR): This item is in okay condition. For vinyl: good is not so good and the record may have low level crackles or pops when playing. CD: one or more tracks may skip.
    • Poor (P): Obviously well-worn and handled. Most vinyl collectors will not buy good or below, but some tracks on CD or vinyl will play.
    Conditions Guide
  • Format: Compact Disc
  • Sold by: HPB.com
  • Seller rating:
  • Label: WEA CORP
  • UPC: 816651017225
HPB pick - In stock


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HPB condition ratings
  • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
  • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
  • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: Mint condition or still sealed (SS). Absolutely perfect in every way. New.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): No defects, little sign of use, well cared for. Plays perfectly. Close to new. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. Could be an unopened promotional or cut item. Sometimes called: mint-minus.
  • Very Good (VG): Will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it.
  • Good (G): Attractive and well cared for, but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, scuffing or scratching, but will play almost perfectly. For vinyl: barely detectable crackles or pops.
  • Fair (FR): This item is in okay condition. For vinyl: good is not so good and the record may have low level crackles or pops when playing. CD: one or more tracks may skip.
  • Poor (P): Obviously well-worn and handled. Most vinyl collectors will not buy good or below, but some tracks on CD or vinyl will play.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: This movie is unopened and brand new.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): Near new. No defects, little sign of use. Plays perfectly. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. No skipping; no fuzzy or snowy frames in VHS.
  • Very Good (VG): Attractive and well cared for but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, but will play almost perfectly. For VHS: barely detectable distortion or very few fuzzy or snowy frames.
  • Good (G): This item is in okay condition and basically works well. There may be some minor distortion on VHS tape; slight scratching or wear on DVD.
  • Fair (FR): Basically plays, but may be obviously well-worn with some scratching or tape distortion.
  • Poor (P): Disc or tape is intact, but may be scratched or stretched. There may be skips or distortion or product defects.
Conditions Guide
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