Thank You Friends :: The Ardent Records Story


Ardent Records – all the way from Memphis. Whereas the bluff city will be forever known for its huge impact on soul, r&b, and the very roots of what became known as rock & roll, for many of us the label/studio had an additional/seminal impact: its lasting influence on (insert the bands you love here). Personally, thinking about my own record collection, some of my most treasured albums over the last two-plus decades owe a huge debt to the label’s Big Star alone. And I would imagine — whether you’re aware of it or not — yours does as well.

While Big Star have been, and will forever remain, the flagship Ardent group, Thank You Friends :: The Ardent Records Story sets out to tell the story of the label, studio, and its surrounding culture. And in doing so, over the course of two discs, succeeds. Yes, the demos/outtakes from Big Star, Alex Chilton and Chris Bell ultimately justify the purchase, but it’s the other artists included included in the compilation that fill in the blanks. Rarely (if ever) does art exist in a vacuum, and the Memphis scene during the late ’60s and ’70s was no exception. Bands like Rock City, Cargoe and Lawson & 4 More also carry the Badfinger torch – through an albeit Southern lens – expertly mixing power-pop, molasses and Southern garage rock. Highly, highly recommended.

Related: Garage Rock Tales :: Memphis, TN

MP3: Big Star :: Back of A Car (demo)
MP3: Rock City :: Lovely Lady
Amazon: Thank You Friends: The Ardent Records Story

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Thank You Friends :: 1971 Big Star footage by Chris Bell and Andy Hummel.

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7 thoughts on “Thank You Friends :: The Ardent Records Story

  1. What I have heard from Ardent Records (albeit not much, unfortunately) I have immensly enjoyed. Chris Bell’s 1977 album I Am The Cosmos is still waiting for its turn in my album rotation (back to some folk – Jake Holmes – after a Boz Scaggs and Beach Boys phase, which I’m still in). I will have to delve deeper in the Ardent Library – sounds like Ardent produced some funky grooves.

  2. Thanks for the heads up on this. I’m excited to hear it. I did a couple of posts on Ardent back in November (here’s one of them, if you’re interested) and also did a review recently in Blues Revue on Paul Mark & The Van Dorens’ new disc (Blood & Treasure) which was also done at Ardent. It’s a good one, has the “Ardent Sound”. Appreciate your stuff. Best, Music Junkie at Fusion 45.

  3. Heard about this on Fresh Air and went out and got the Terry Manning album. Also enjoyed the pre Big Star band LAWSON & FOUR MORE from the compilation.

  4. TREMENDOUS to see…that’s just about EXACTLY how I pictured it…there would BE no Big Star without BELL yet Chilton kinda of tuned into him and ran with it … Chilton Brando type brat genius that he was..(.Loudon Wainwright first two albums and Nazz Fungo Bat sessions for any die hards out there looking to get into where Chilton was at when this footage was shot!!!…)and Byrds Gunga Din and how about Buffalo Springfields “Questions” and how about Nyros “Christmas and the Beads of Sweat” afterall Rundren took a lot in from that girl RUNT!!! “Baby Lets Swing” is a must for the Alex vibe!…

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