Alex Chilton Set

I can't think of a more perverse bastard in music than Alex Chilton when it comes delivering what a rabid and loyal fan base wants. Set may have been recorded at Ardent Sound in Memphis, but it's no Big Star effort. In fact, there's not a single Chilton writing credit to be found among the dozen tracks. It's made up entirely of old, mostly obscure covers. That said, it does sound entirely like a Chilton record, and there are some fine moments. He indulges his passion for old soul with cuts like Allen Toussaint's "Lipstick Traces" and Johnny Watson's "Hook Me Up," the latter of which contains some extremely tasty guitar. He obviously loves this stuff and it shows in the commitment he brings to the material. Richard Dworkin on bass and Ron Easley on drums provide solid backing, and there are no overdubs evident; it sounds like it was all recorded live from the floor. Brenton Wood's "Oogum Boogum" is nearly a novelty song, but Alex carries it off. Not all of the tracks are as successful. "You's A Viper" is a bit of a misfire, and the instrumental run-through of "April In Paris" is just a pointless exercise in one-more-time jokiness. And he just can't figure out how to sing Gary Stewart's "Single Again." But, in the end, it's a surprisingly coherent LP. Guess it's like those old farts sing - you can't always get what you want, but sometimes you get what you need. (Bar/None)