Big Star, ‘Live in Memphis’

Counting the final disc of 2009’s “Keep an Eye on the Sky” box, there have been five live Big Star albums, outnumbering the power-pop legends’ studio output. It’s hard to imagine how “Live in Memphis” could be anything but redundant, especially since it features the lineup from 1993’s reunion document, “Columbia,” just a year and a half later. But “Memphis” crackles, showing a Big Star that’s loosened up since becoming an ongoing concern once more. Vocal confusion toward the end of the howling “Don’t Lie to Me” galvanizes the band thrillingly; where “Daisy Glaze” was dutiful and pretty on “Columbia,” the version here tears it apart. A few songs, including the ringing “Jesus Christ” and twee-pop cover “Patty Girl,” are new to the band’s Star live catalog. The kick-drum sound can be distracting (though Jody Stephens is otherwise on fire), and a thin-sounding “The Ballad of El Goodo” doesn’t do the song justice. But where “Columbia” was historically important, “Memphis” captures the same band letting it rip. (Out now) MARC HIRSH

ESSENTIAL “Jesus Christ”


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