Longtime Big Star
acolyte Chris Stamey pulls together string charts and a slew of musicians to
put on one of the year’s most ambitious projects.
By Blurt Staff
dB’s founder and noted producer Chris Stamey is organizing
the first public performances of Big Star’s iconic Third/Sister Lovers, to take place December 9 and 10 at the Cat’s
Cradle in Carrboro, NC. He’s calling the event “Stroke It, Noel.”
It’s going to be more than just a
band-playing-Alex-Chilton-songs, however – it will feature the music’s original
string and wind orchestrations, Stamey having painstakingly created/recreated the
scores. (See image below: it’s the score for “Thank You.”) Alex Chilton, of course, passed away in March
of this year, and he was followed a few months later by original Big Star
bassist Andy Hummel.
written scores for the record were long missing,” Stamey says. “But John Fry at
Ardent Records was able to supply us with elements of the original multitrack
tapes. Composer Carl Marsh, who wrote the ground-breaking charts for the
original record, used these tapes to precisely retranscribe his arrangements.
And I’ve orchestrated anew some other elements of the recordings for the
players, in order to recreate live some of the aleatoric studio effects. We’ve
also been able to hear and match the inner workings of these glorious
compositions in much greater detail this way. It’s been a fascinating process,
and a real community adventure as well.”
The musicians Stamey is assembling will include Mike Mills
(R.E.M.), Mitch Easter (Let’s Active), original Big Star member Jody Stephens,
and Jeff Crawford and Charles Cleaver (The Tomahawks). North Carolina chamber pop group Lost in
the Trees, as well as members of Birds and Arrows and the NC Symphony, will comprise
the orchestra. Guest vocalists will include members of the Love Language, the
Old Ceremony, Megafaun and others. In addition to performing Sister Lovers in its entirety, the band
will play a few additional Big Star and Chris Bell selections during the show.
The concerts will be filmed for the forthcoming Big Star
documentary – Nothing Can Hurt Me: The Big Star Story, by Danielle McCarthy and Drew DeNicola slated for
2011 release – and are fundraisers for two charities dedicated to making
life better for musicians, KidZNotes
of Durham, NC and the New Orleans Musicians Clinic.
More details and
ticket info at the Cat’s Cradle website: www.catscradle.com.