And during the last fifteen years before his untimely death in 2010, Alex Chilton revisited and recorded a handful of jazz standards, leaning heavily on songs from Chet Baker Sings, an album that made a lasting impression on seven-year-old Alex as he listened to it in his family’s suburban Memphis home…on a street called Robin Hood Lane. Thus, Songs From Robin Hood Lane, a 12-track collection of previously-unreleased performances and out-of-print rarities.
Leading off with a loungy, flute ‘n’ organ rendition of “Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying” (not the 1964 Gerry and the Pacemakers song, but a 1946 Louis Jordan tune also done by Ray Charles in 1959), and a stripped-down, acoustic-guitar-and-voice-only “My Baby Just Cares for Me” (a hit for Nina Simone in 1958), Songs From Robin Hood Lane visits no less than six numbers originally recorded by jazz trumpeter/vocalist Chet Baker on Chet Baker Sings (1954) and Chet Baker Sings and Plays (1955). The similarities between Chilton’s and Baker’s romantic vocalizing become apparent as Alex and his backing musicians swing their way through “There Will Never Be Another You,” “That Old Feeling,” “Look for the Silver Lining,” “Time After Time,” and the classic “Let’s Get Lost.” Also on the bill are a guitar-ized version of Maynard Ferguson’s instrumental “Frame for the Blues,” and “All of You,” an amusing song popularized by Nick Apollo Forte as nightclub singer Lou Canova in Woody Allen’s Broadway Danny Rose.
The album is out February 8 on Bar/None Records along with From Memphis To New Orleans, a compilation of material from Chilton’s 1980’s period including the charming Chilton original “Paradise”; his response to the AIDS crisis at the time, “No Sex”; a rockin’ tribute to the Dalai Lama that borrows from the beginning of “Secret Agent Man”; and covers of Carla Thomas’ “B-A-B-Y” and Ronny & The Daytonas’ car-rock staple “Little GTO.”
Unfortunately Alex won’t be touring behind these releases…let’s just say There Will Never Be Another Alex Chilton.
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