This lengthy bootleg disc contains alternate and rough mixes of Big Star's debut, #1 Record, as well as a healthy portion from their follow-up, Radio City. The mere prospect of which garnered considerable attention from pop/rock critics and enthusiasts alike before What's Goin' Ahn was eventually issued in late 2000. What emerged were unbalanced (read: unmixed) and poorly equalized versions that were, in more cases than not, very slightly altered. Luckily there are also a few demos for songs never issued by the band as well as a pair of live performances from 1978 at CBGB to round this disc out. Despite critical acclaim, Big Star never attained the pop-icon status that they undeniably deserved. In a nutshell, poor business moves and destructive lifestyle choices disintegrated the band before they could fulfill their enormous potential. What they left behind is a glimpse at what should have been one of the greatest pop music acts in the '70s. The meat of What's Goin' Ahn is basically split into recordings pertaining to either #1 Record or Radio City. From the former album, there are no less than eight tracks, including the heavily Byrds-influenced "Ballad of El Goodo" and "My Life Is Right" -- which is easily mistakable for Joe Walsh circa Barnstorm. What follows are four never before issued demos and rough mixes for "There Was a Life," "I Got Kinda Lost," a cover of Loudon Wainwright's "Motel Blues," and a Beatlesque "Gone With the Light," which bears more than just a passing resemblance to "Goodnight" from the Fab Four's "White Album." Seven tracks from Radio City round out the studio recordings, including "Daisy Glaze" and "Mod Lang." These are augmented by an untitled "Instrumental" as well as "A Little Fishy" and "Holocaust" from an audience recording of a 1978 CBGB appearance.
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AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer