Rock City

First-time CD release for pre-Big Star band recordings

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This is an amazing find on a par with the recent Beale Street Green ‘legit’ bootleg of Big Star rarities and outtakes. Rock City were the band featuring singer-guitarist Christopher Bell and drummer Jody Stephens?one half of the legendary Memphis power-pop unit. And Rock City contains 11 of the songs they recorded during 1969-70 while Alex Chilton was recovering from his brush with teen idolatry courtesy of The Box Tops, plus one when they morphed into Icewater just before Chilton and bassist Andy Hummel joined. John Fry, who worked on #1 Record, Radio City and Third/Sister Lovers, engineered while Ardent boss Terry Manning played Moog and assorted period gizmos. Aside from a gorgeous piece of Zombies-style baroque art-balladry called “The Preacher”, there are early versions of “My Life Is Right”, written by Bell and Rock City frontman Terry Eubanks, and “Try Again”, on which Alex sings backing vocals. “Lovely Lady” is “When My Baby’s Beside Me” in all but name. And Icewater’s prototype “Feel” (side one, track one of # 1 Record) sounds uncannily ahead of its time. All that and archive photos of Chris Bell. O my soul!


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