Where the trail begins
Reviewed by: Keith “Muzikman” Hannaleck, September 2003
T-Rex, The Beatles, Eagles, The Guess Who … those are a few of the bands that came to mind while listening to this classic rock ‘n’ roll music. To evaluate any band while mentioning any of those all-time greats is quite a tribute. The self-titled album Rock City is the subject of my adulation. It is finally seeing the light of day after over thirty years of sitting on the shelf collecting dust. Recorded during 1969-70 under the guidance of legendary Big Star collaborator Chris Bell and his partners Terry Manning, Jody Stephens and Thomas Dean Eubanks, this great rock album was a precursor to the Big Star venture and subsequent recordings from that great band. It became more than obvious to me immediately why Alex Chilton became interested in what this group had to offer.
The original Memphis sound is part of the grand scheme of things, and that is the very factor that enables this music to travel on such an open road. The recording is broken down into three segments, Rock City, Thomas Dean Eubanks (whom wrote most of the songs) and Icewater. There is so much to offer on this one album, not to mention the stellar liner notes and the interviews with some of the original band members.
I think power pop is the operative word when summarizing what this music sounds like, although it is not that cut and dried. I heard rock, country, blues, and rhythm and blues sprinkled with pop. Every aspect of this recording was handled expertly by the then budding masters of pop rock, it will totally amaze you how good it all sounds. It is so vitally engaging absorbing music that it will never grow old. The magic of music like this has an uncanny ability to transcend time and to sound fresh every time you hear it, no matter what decade it is. Rock music does not get any more pure or honest than this. With 14 killer unrestrained tracks, this is a necessary album for anyone that enjoys great music. It is a crime that it took this long for this album to come out.