Since the hollow, strung-out demise of[a]Big Star[/a] in the mid-'70s, singer [a]Alex Chilton[/a] has frequently been praised for his determination to 'play the game his way'...
Since the hollow, strung-out demise of[a]Big Star[/a] in the mid-’70s, singer [a]Alex Chilton[/a] has frequently been praised for his determination to ‘play the game his way’. And while that initially meant immersing himself in the New York punk underground of the late-’70s (where he produced The Cramps) and making scratchy, tuneless records like ‘Like Flies On Sherbet’, latterly it’s largely meant making inconsequential good-time rockabilly records.
Chilton’s desire to avoid returning to the wretched emotional depths of the third Big Star album is understandable, as is his decision to reconnect with the songs of his youth (this album is a set of 12 obscure covers from the ’30s onwards), it’s just disappointing his own songwriting has evaporated into the ether along with any sense of adventure he once possessed.
Having said that, ‘Loose Shoes…’ is about as good as it’s going to get for Chilton for now. On a raw, but unusually polished, collection of material ranging from songs originally given life by jazz artists like Chet Baker (‘There Will Never Be Another You’) and Count Basie (‘April In Paris’) to the traditional gospel of ‘I Remember Mama’, at least Chilton sounds content, while his dry, stretched vocals remain as evocative as ever. He might never make an essential record again, but it’s reassuring to know he can still make a pleasant one – except for the title.