London, UK (PRWEB) March 12, 2007
Starting April 3rd in the U.S. (March 12th in the U.K) storied punk-era independent label, Stiff Records will open their vaults to begin re-releasing many of their unconventional classics. The first group of releases includes albums from Wreckless Eric, Rachel Sweet, Dirty Looks, Any Trouble and Tracey Ullman. Some of the titles have never before been available on CD in the U.S.
Renowned for their flamboyant marketing ploys, their singles and picture sleeves and for reviving the package tour concept, Stiff Records was an indie landmark in the landscape of the late 70s/early 80s music scene. Living up to their slogan, "The World's Most Flexible Record Label," Stiff's roster of artists was the most diverse imaginable. Besides giving Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello, Ian Dury and Madness their starts, they were also the label responsible releasing a blank album entitled "The Wit and Wisdom of Ronald Regan." Founders Dave Robinson and Jake Riviera, took chances, took risks and music fiends (on both sides of the Pond) benefited from their daring.
Stiff, but not dead. The label's ongoing importance and influence was reflected in a recent two-part BBC documentary, "If It Ain't Stiff ...." Coming on the heels of the documentary and their first new signings in a decade, Stiff will begin re-releasing a selective spate of titles, many of which have never been available on CD in the U.S. The first batch of U.S. releases will start April 3rd.
Wreckless Eric -- Big Smash
Eric Goulden was one of Stiff's earliest long-term signings. A quirky, intelligent songwriter with a quirky voice to match. 'Big Smash' is a double CD compilation of his first two albums plus rare b-sides and bonus tracks. It also includes his cult classic single "Whole Wide World," which was featured in the Will Farrell film "Stranger Than Fiction." All tracks have been digitally remastered and Eric has provided a fairly off the wall commentary in his new sleeve notes.
Rachel Sweet -- Fool Around
Plucked from the thriving music scene in Akron, Ohio (home of Devo and The Waitresses), 16-year-old R&B belter, Rachel Sweet, was already an old hand at performing. Stiff put her in the studio with producer/writer Liam Sternberg and a group of session musicians, including members of Graham Parker's Rumour. The result was 'Fool Around,' a pumping album of good-time new wave/country/R&B/pop. Head and shoulders above today's Britney/Jessica/Lindsay teen-idols, Rachel had the vocal chops to pull off Top of the Pops charters like "Who Does Lisa Like," "B.A.B.Y." and "Cuckoo Clock." Sweet released one more album for Stiff, "Protect the Innocent", before signing to CBS in the U.S. She retired from the music scene in the mid-80s and now works as a senior executive for Warner Television.
Dirty Looks -- The Complete Stiff Years
Staten Island, New York based power-pop trio Dirty Looks (Patrick Barnes, Peter Parker and Marco Sin) signed to Stiff in 1979 after only 10 gigs. They have the unique record of claiming Stiff's biggest ever selling album in the US. The band immediately joined the third and last Stiff package tour, alongside the likes of Any Trouble, Tenpole Tudor, The Equators and Joe 'King' Carrasco. Their self-titled debut album released in 1980 included two great singles in 'Let Go' and 'Lie To Me'. It sold over 100,000 copies in the U.S. The second album, 'Turn It Up', followed a year later, but only after being recorded twice, by Motors main-man Nick Garvey and Roger Bechirian. Label politics meant that the album never secured a US release thus making this is not only the first CD release but also the first North American release for this rare album. The band broke up in 1984. Bassist Marco Sin passed away in 1995.
Any Trouble -- Where Are All The Nice Girls?
Bandleader Clive Gregson's appearance, hardened love songs and vocal style may have led to comparisons to Elvis Costello, but Any Trouble were no second-rate rip-off. Each of their four albums revealed a songwriter of unique talent. Any Trouble's 'Where Are All the Nice Girls' is a hidden new wave gem. Long awaited, this remastered re-release of their debut album includes new sleeve notes from the band and the original version of their debut single b-side. Clive Gregson later went on to produce a number of highly rated solo albums and collaborations with Christine Collister before relocating to Nashville. He is a member of Nanci Griffith's Blue Moon Orchestra.
Tracey Ullman -- You Broke My Heart In Seventeen Places'
Ullman was already an established comedienne and actress in the UK when label head Dave Robinson heard some of her musical parodies and signed her to Stiff in 1983. Robinson matched her up with master producer Peter Collins and selected an albums worth of judiciously chosen covers, including 1960's pop classics 'Breakaway', 'Bobby's Girl' and 'Move Over Darling'. In an inspired move Stiff also added Ullman's vocals to the original backing track of Kirsty MacColl's 'They Don't Know' -- finally giving the song the success it so clearly deserved. Over the next twelve months Tracey became one of the best selling Stiff singles acts ever, before relocating to the US where she established herself via an HBO series and various films. This re-release has been newly remastered, includes four bonus tracks and new sleeve notes.
For further information, interviews, review copies and artwork please contact:
(Ms.) Ian Loomis
(Mr.) Ian Peel