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The Boston Globe

Music

ALBUM REVIEW | ACOUSTIC POP

Alex Chilton, ‘Electricity by Candlelight’

Alex Chilton died three years ago, but his cult status lives on. He is best remembered for being in Big Star, which released three records in the ’70s that are all on Rolling Stone’s list of “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.” But what might tarnish his legacy is this dubious new live album from his second set at New York’s Knitting Factory after the lights went out in 1997. It’s an intriguing concept, but is pretty much a disaster. A longtime fan taped it, but noisy patrons often add off-key harmonies and silly chatter. Chilton plays a borrowed acoustic guitar and rambles through an array of cover songs he had rarely performed before — from country nuggets such as Hank Williams’s “Lovesick Blues” (he botches the yodel) and Johnny Cash’s “I Walk the Line” (a nice job on this), to folkie tracks such as Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You” and Loudon Wainwright III’s mock-Casanova “Motel Blues,” and even a couple of Beach Boys tunes. If you’re a total Chilton completist, you might want this album, but it’s not for everyone. (Out Tuesday)

ESSENTIAL “I Walk the Line”

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