I didn’t know they ever did anything together and to find this was special. Two of my favorite performers coming together. Ray of course from one of my favorite bands of all time and Alex Chilton from another band I admire, Big Star.
Ray had an album in 2010 called See My Friends, a 2010 album featuring versions of classic Kinks’ songs recorded with Alex Chilton, Black Francis, Lucinda Williams, Bruce Springsteen, Metallica and many others.
This song was recorded a year before Alex died. They were neighbors in New Orleans and Alex would bring beer over to Ray’s house although Alex didn’t drink. Alex and Big Star were huge fans of The Kinks.
“Way back in 2004 I was in New Orleans, recovering from an injury, and I was befriended by a neighbor called Alex Chilton. Alex had been in a band called Big Star, and had sung on a record called ‘The Letter’ by The Box Tops. We didn’t talk about music much, but he did say to me before I came back to England, ‘You know, I’ve recorded one of your songs, ‘Till the End of the Day’, with Big Star, and I’d love to do another song with you. And he asked me to write some songs for him – I felt really flattered, because by then I had found out about his history. A very unassuming guy.”
“In 2009, on July 4th, Independence Day, he came up to Konk Studios. He was a real character – he was wearing a New Orleans beret, he had a cigarette holder – he was a chain smoker, and I think a recovering drinker – and he said, ‘Let’s do it!’ I said, ‘What would you like to do?’ He said, ‘‘Til The End Of The Day’ and ‘Set Me Free’. So I just had an acoustic guitar and a rhythm box, because I hadn’t organized anything. I played guitar and Alex sang. We did five or six takes and comped it together. “
I cannot find Set Me Free but here is a short clip of Ray talking about Alex.