Free Again: The 1970 Sessions

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Alex Chilton fronted the Box Tops but he never led them. He was a hired hand, picked for his preternaturally soulful voice but, like any red-blooded American teen, he soon bristled against the constraints on his freedom. Chips Moman and Dan Penn masterminded the Box Tops, rarely letting Chilton record his own material, so he did what any rebellious adolescent would do: he sneaked around, cutting material at the fledging Ardent Studios without the knowledge of American Studios, who owned the rights to Chilton's recordings. These contractual issues meant that the recordings Alex made at Ardent in 1969 with Terry Manning were still called "1970" when Ardent ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Alex Chilton fronted the Box Tops but he never led them. He was a hired hand, picked for his preternaturally soulful voice but, like any red-blooded American teen, he soon bristled against the constraints on his freedom. Chips Moman and Dan Penn masterminded the Box Tops, rarely letting Chilton record his own material, so he did what any rebellious adolescent would do: he sneaked around, cutting material at the fledging Ardent Studios without the knowledge of American Studios, who owned the rights to Chilton's recordings. These contractual issues meant that the recordings Alex made at Ardent in 1969 with Terry Manning were still called "1970" when Ardent released them on CD in 1996 -- it was the year Chilton was released from his American contract -- but this tremendous 2012 reissue adds a more poetic title in Free Again. It's a title that accurately reflects Chilton's frame of mind: he was breaking free of the constraints of the Box Tops, finding his voice as a songwriter and musician, leaving behind the strict blue-eyed soul of his first band without quite ditching soul. He hasn't left behind the light, Baroque psychedelia that marked some of the latter-day Box Tops LPs, either -- there's a distinctly British undercurrent to the sweeter pop tunes here -- but there are also hints of country and loose-limbed, dirty rock & roll, particularly in a wildly inventive cover of "Jumpin' Jack Flash" that slows down the groove and turns Keith Richards' riff inside out. In that sense, the music on Free Again is just as much a bridge between the Box Tops and Big Star -- something that's quite clear on the more delicate moments here -- as it is an indication of what he would do after Big Star. Much of this points the way toward the willful, ornery vibe of Like Flies on Sherbert, or the casual R&B crooner of the '80s and beyond, but in 1969, Alex has yet to prize contrariness over craft: he is still writing with passion and, with Manning and the Ardent renegades figuring out just what they could do in the studio, this crackles with invention and spirit. Sure, it's messy, but Alex Chilton always was -- it's also some of his richest and best music, and it's never sounded better than it does on Free Again: The 1970 Sessions.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/10/2012
  • Label: Omnivore Recordings
  • UPC: 816651010127
  • Catalog Number: 101012

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Alex Chilton Primary Artist, Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Vocals, Vocal Harmony
Terry Manning Synthesizer, Bass, Rhythm Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals, Vocal Harmony
Paul Cannon Guitar
Jeff Newman Banjo, Steel Guitar
Richard Rosebrough Drums
Technical Credits
James Brown Composer
Alex Chilton Composer
Mick Jagger Composer
Terry Manning Composer, Engineer, Mastering, Duet
Andy Kim Composer
Greg Allen Art Direction
Jeff Barry Composer
Keith Richards Composer
Richard Rosebrough Composer
Gary Talley Composer
Bob Mehr Liner Notes
Kevin Nix Mastering
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