Thursday, April 17, 2014

Story of a Memphis Band

It was shown on TV and it also became available via the Internet, so I finally got round to watching a documentary about the makers of some of the best music ever. This full-length documentary was called Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me.

The documentary was technically well constructed and there were lots of very good pictures and even some video from the recording sessions. Still, I wonder if the availability of visual material affected the way the documentary was balanced. To me, It seemed like the focus was very strongly on a more general view of the circumstances around Big Star such as the Memphis music scene and record companies in the early 1970s. A fan like me would have liked to hear more stories about the music itself, making of it and the personalities behind it. At times it felt like Big Star played a supporting role in the film.

Many important people appear in the film, and the material as a whole is impressive. I particularly enjoyed hearing about Alex Chilton's career after Big Star. Also some thoughts and feelings behind the creation of Chilton and Chris Bell's music were depicted nicely. However, I occasionally found the narrative and rhythm of the documentary diffuse making it difficult to determine the cause and effect of things.

There is always the question of what kinds of issues a music documentary should cover and which audience it is aimed at. Perhaps this particular documentary was mostly intended for those without much prior experience of Big Star. In that case a more general view of the background and surroundings of the main topic may be quite justifiable. In any case, different people are interested in different things and it is difficult to serve everybody.

No comments: