Medium Cool featuring Alex Chilton: Like Someone In Love
When I think of Alex Chilton, I think of at least half a dozen different voices. There's the horny teenaged, weary beyond its years, husky voice of the Box Tops' “The Letter.” In the famous Big Star years there was the vulnerable, love-struck voice of “I'm In Love With A Girl,” the joyous, giddy voice of “September Gurls,” and the burned out, utterly despairing voice of “Holocaust.” In his early solo years there was the sleazoid, sex tour guide voice of “Bangkok.” Later there was the winsome but not entirely to be trusted dive bar voice singing old R&B and vintage rock numbers on a slew of releases. But Alex Chilton, smooth jazz crooner? Well maybe not quite smooth, but jazz it is, as the three songs Chilton sings on the obscure early 1990s release by Medium Cool, Imagination, attest.
Imagination, a tribute album to Chet Baker, seems to be Medium Cool's only album. The group consisted of Ron Miller on bass, Robert Arron on piano and tenor sax, Richard Dworkin on drums, and A.J. Mantas on vibes and piano. Chilton, Adele Bertei, Angel Torsen, and James White each contribute vocals on a couple numbers. I can't say Chilton's songs here are anywhere near the top of my list of his best performances, but there is definitely something appealing about hearing that vulnerable voice, wiser with age maybe, but still aching, some twenty years after “Thirteen.”
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