ARTIST: Rock City
TITLE: Rock City
YEAR RELEASED: Compilation
CHART ACTION: None
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: An early version of the Big Star songs My Life Is Right, Try Again, and Feel
LINEUP: Chris Bell, Terry Manning, Jody Stephens, Tom Eubanks. Alex Chilton’s on a track.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Early recordings from Chris Bell and his studio friends, before he formed Big Star. There’s quite a bit here worth listening to.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The first track on this collection from Chris Bell’s first band is a lost power-pop classic: “Think It’s Time to Say Goodbye”. Written by Thomas Dean Eubanks (a collaborator that was in the Memphis and was the bassist here), the track is just a magical mix of rock and pop that was a bit before (or after) its time.
The magic found in Big Star was present in some of the tracks, as three of these songs were soon to be on Big Star’s first album. Yet, some of the songs aren’t quite that good (the ballads, mostly, are the ones that fall short) and some really ape the Beatles a bit too much.
Rock City’s material wasn’t released during its time, as soon Alex Chilton would be asked to join and the formation of Big Star was nigh. This group had its charm, with Bell’s voice and production and Eubanks’ songs.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Two of the tracks come from a solo single by Eubanks, and the last is credited to Icewater, a different name for basically the same bunch.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE: B+: Sometimes these archival releases aren’t that great, but this one is and it could have been released as an album in 1970 or 1971 and not be embarrassing at all.