Big Star / Teenage Fanclub 1993 split single
Earlier this month, Omnivore Recordings released a Big Star live recording titled Live In Memphis in both audio and visual formats. It captures the reformed '70's band in a concert from October of 1994, at the New Daisy Theatre in the city of Big Star's founding. Original singer-guitarist Alex Chilton and original drummer Jody Stephens were joined by Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow from the Posies (replacing Chris Bell and Andy Hummel). This concert was performed a year-and-a-half after the same lineup appeared at the University of Missouri for the official Big Star reunion in the spring of '93. Live In Memphis shows them in finer form, after they had more time to rehearse and develop better chemistry. Chilton still was not able to sing some of his old songs as well as he once could -- for example, "September Gurls" and "The Ballad Of El Goodo" might have been better handled by one of the two Posies guys. Otherwise, Live In Memphis is a long-overdue delight. It's particularly interesting to note that the band had added a few more songs from the third Big Star album to their repertoire at this point, as well as an unexpected cover of "Patty Girl", the Dick Campbell song made famous by Gary and the Hornets in 1966.
Big Star and "Patty Girl"...where have those two names been used together before? In 1993, there existed a 7-inch vinyl split single by Big Star (covering the Olympics' "Mine Exclusively") and Teenage Fanclub (covering the aforementioned "Patty Girl"). The single was sold in the U.K. through mail order by NME (New Musical Express) magazine, and was limited to 5,000 copies. Does that sound like a Record Store Day single before its time, or what?
Big Star's cover of the Olympics' 1966 soul song "Mine Exclusively" is faithful to the feeling of the original, and is reminiscent of the Grateful Dead's cover of the Olympics' song "Good Lovin' ". Alex Chilton sounds uncommonly enthusiastic here, delivering his lead vocal with considerable zest. Meanwhile, Teenage Fanclub's cover of "Patty Girl" (spelled "Patti Girl" for this single) sounds more Big Star-like than Big Star's side of the single. (This is really not surprising, considering that Fanclub's 1991 album Bandwagonesque is one of the best Big Star albums that Big Star never made). It almost sounds as if the Scottish band is covering Big Star's "September Gurls" instead, echoing that song's Byrds-like guitar jangle. The result is a "Patti Girl" rendition that makes a surprising amount of sense, even if the lead vocal sounds as though it is irreverently mocking the innocence of the Hornets version. This single is a tiny power pop gem.
Note: The single's songwriting credits are inaccurate. "Patti Girl" is credited to Gary and the Hornets, but it was actually written by Dick Campbell. Sherlie Mae Matthews is credited as the sole author of "Mine Exclusively", though it was actually co-written by Matthews and Bob Relf.
Big Star & Teenage Fanclub "Mine Exclusively" (b/w "Patti Girl") single (New Musical Express NME FAN 1) 1993
A. Big Star & Teenage Fanclub "Mine Exclusively"
AA. Teenage Fanclub & Big Star "Patti Girl"