TITLE: I Am the Cosmos
YEAR RELEASED: 1992
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: I Am the Cosmos, You and Your Sister
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Nothing on the radio
LINEUP: Chris Bell, Ken Woodley, Richard Rosebrough, Jody Stephens
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Big Star co-leader records solo album in the mid 70’s but only two tracks surface until the Big Star boomlet of 1992.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Chris Bell had a star-crossed career. Everyone who heard his material before and during Big Star thought he’d be a star. But he was wracked with insecurity and depression, and quit Big Star after one album (he was really McCartney to Alex Chilton’s Lennon). He then kicked around, and finally recorded the tracks on this solo album.
It remained unreleased, except for two songs that trickled out on a rare but wonderful single in 1978. Then he died in a car accident in December of 1978.
The songs he left behind are mostly great examples of power-pop. Some of the issues I have with the record is the mixes on some songs are full of echo and reverb, thus obscuring some of the great work underneath. It’s a good quality record and could have led to a solid solo career for Bell had it been released in his lifetime.
NOTES & MINUTAE: He’s part of the sad 27 club, as he was 27 when he lost his life.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes. The first CD release had three bonus tracks. The later release had more alternate takes of the songs, plus some of his songs from his pre-Big Star bands Icewater and Rock City. Some of the alternate takes I like better since they’re not as laden with echo.
GRADE: B+: Most of the songs are good – just quibble with the production of some of them. It’s a testament to a talent lost to us too soon.