Alex Chilton - "Feudalist Tarts" (1985)

Continuing our focus on the late Alex Chilton’s obscure and rare solo recordings, we now turn our attention to the 1985 EP Feudalist Tarts and the 1986 EP No Sex. Both of these EPs marked a welcome return to work, and return to relevance, for this talented musician.

In the early ‘80’s, Chilton moved from Memphis to New Orleans, and took an interest in that city’s jazz-oriented music scene. After a six-year absence from studio recording, Chilton reappeared revitalized on the six-song EP Feudalist Tarts in 1985. Gone were the sloppy devil-may-care tendencies of Bach’s Bottom and Like Flies On Sherbert. The older and wiser Alex Chilton showed remarkable restraint on these six jazz-influenced numbers, crooning confidently and playing rockabilly-style guitar amid tasteful horn arrangements. Although it was clear that Chilton had mellowed out considerably, the song “Lost My Job” showed just enough attitude to prove that he hadn’t lost his edge.

In fact, that edge manifested itself with a vengeance on his next EP. The title track of the three-song No Sex was a brutally frank reaction to the spread of the AIDS virus in the ‘80’s. The other two Chilton originals (“Under Class” and “Wild Kingdom”) also percolate with social anxiety. The horn sound is still present on these tracks, but it is deemphasized in favor of a basic (if old-fashioned) guitar/bass/drums rock sound.

Notes: In 1994, the Razor & Tie label released the 2-on-1 CD Feudalist Tarts/No Sex (Razor & Tie RE 2032), which contained all nine tracks from the two EPs. All nine tracks were also included on the French compilation CD called Stuff (New Rose ROSE 68CD) in 1987. In 2019, the Bar/None label issued a Chilton compilation titled From Memphis To New Orleans, which contained the last four tracks from Feudalist Tarts, and the first two from No Sex.

Alex Chilton - Feudalist Tarts

Alex Chilton “Feudalist Tarts” EP (Big Time BTA 005) 1985

Track Listing:

1. Tee Ni Nee Ni Noo – Tip On In
2. Stuff
3. B-A-B-Y
4. Thank You John
5. Lost My Job
6. Paradise

Alex Chilton - No Sex / Underclass / Wild Kingdom

Alex Chilton “No Sex” EP (Big Time 6013-1-BD) 1986

Track Listing:

1. No Sex
2. Under Class
3. Wild Kingdom