Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Various Artists - The Big Stiff Box Set (2007)


UK Import

This was an impulse buy a couple of weeks ago and I can't stop listening to it.  As I told a friend, "This thing is scratchin’ me right where I itch."  98 songs across 4 CDs and I haven't even made a dent in the 68 page booklet. I won't bother going into detail about the Stiff label - if you're interested, just read their wikipedia page or their official website.  Or you could check out this BBC documentary.  I'm digging the whole irreverent D.I.Y. vibe here.

I've been introduced to a world of new music and artists (well, new to me, anyway).  After a few listens, I've fallen in love with Rachel Sweet and Kirsty MacColl, two ladies with whom I was only marginally familiar previously.  There's a wide variety of music here, from punk to ska to pop to New Wave to pub rock to reggae to novelty to mod to R&B.  The variety makes for a more interesting top-to-bottom listen, for sure.  Also, the Stiff roster has hosted some of the best band names, including Plummet Airlines, Roogalator, The Realists, Dirty Looks, Theatre of Hate, The Prisoners, The Enemy, The Deviants, The Tranzmitors, and my personal favorite, Eskimo Disco.  A lot of these groups probably only had one good song in them, so a compilation like this is the best way to go.

Overall, a great box set.  Recommended.  I don't have the similar 1992 Rhino compilation, The Stiff Records Box Set, but if you've got it and want to discuss the differences, please leave a comment below. Would I have listened to most of this music in the late '70s?  Probably not, but that doesn't really matter now.  I'm not particularly digging all the newer 2007 stuff at the end of disc 4, but that's a small price to pay for the other 90+ retro tracks.

What I'll do for this box set is list each track (with a link if the track has previously appeared on the blog), let you know if I was previously familiar with the artist (yes, no, or kinda), and whether I like the track (✔) or not (✘). We go:


DISC ONE
25 tracks, 77 minutes 21 seconds
1976-78
ArtistTitleFamiliar? Like?
Nick LoweHeart Of The CityY
The Pink Fairies    Between The LinesN
Roogalator    All AboardN
Tyla Gang   StyrofoamN
Lew Lewis & His Band    Boogie On The StreetN
The Damned New RoseK
Plummet Airlines    Silver ShirtN
Motörhead White Line FeverY
The Damned   Neat Neat NeatK
Elvis Costello   Less Than ZeroY
Devo (I Can't Get No)
   Satisfaction
Y
Max Wall   England's GloryN
The Adverts   One Chord WondersN
Nick Lowe   Marie ProvostY
Wreckless Eric   Whole Wide WorldK
Ian Dury  Sex & Drugs &
   Rock & Roll
K
The Damned   Problem ChildK
The Yachts   Suffice To SayN
Larry Wallis   Police CarN
Mick Farren &
   The Deviants  
Let's Loot The Supermarket
   Again Like We Did 
   Last Summer
N
Ian Dury &
   The Blockheads  
Sweet Gene VincentK
The Damned   One Way LoveK
Wreckless Eric   Reconnez CherieK
Jane Aire &
   The Belvederes  
Yankee WheelsN
Ernie Graham   Romeo & The Lonely GirlN


DISC TWO
26 tracks, 77 minutes 18 seconds
1978-80
ArtistTitleFamiliar? Like?
The Members Solitary ConfinementN
Humphrey Ocean &
   The Hardy Animals   
Whoops A DaisyN
The Realists    I've Got A HeartN
Jona Lewie   The Baby, She's On The StreetN
Lene Lovich    I Think We're Alone Now Y
Devo Be Stiff Y
Wreckless Eric    Take The Cash (K.A.S.H.) K
Mickey Jupp Old Rock 'n' Roller N
Rachel Sweet   B.A.B.Y. K
Lene Lovich   Lucky Number Y
The Sports Who Listens To The Radio?N
The Subs   Gimme Your Heart N
The Rumour   Frozen Years N
Rachel Sweet   I Go To Pieces K
Lene Lovich   Say When Y
Madness  One Step BeyondY
Kirsty MacColl   You Caught Me Out K
Pointed Sticks   Out Of Luck N
Dirty Looks   Lie To Me N
Jona Lewie  You'll Always Find Me In
   The Kitchen At Parties
N
Any Trouble Yesterday's LoveK
The Plasmatics  Butcher Baby Y
The Go-Go's   We Got The BeatY
Motor Boys Motor  Drive FriendlyN
Desmond Dekker   Please Don't BendY
Joe "King" Carrasco
   & The Crowns  
Buena Y


DISC THREE
23 tracks, 75 minutes 36 seconds
1980-83
ArtistTitleFamiliar? Like?
Any Trouble Girls Are Always Right K
The Equators Baby Come Back N
Nigel Dixon    Thunderbird N
Jona Lewie   Stop The Cavalry N
Dave Stewart &
   Colin Blunstone
What Becomes Of The
   Broken Hearted?
K
Tenpole Tudor Swords Of A Thousand Men N
Department S   Going Left Right N
Theatre of Hate Do You Believe in The Westworld? N
Tenpole Tudor  Wunderbar N
Alvin Stardust   Pretend N
Dave Stewart &
   Barbara Gaskin
It's My PartyK
Billy Bremner   Loud Music In Cars K
The Dancing Did   The Lost Platoon N
Electric Guitars   Language Problems N
Brigit Novik & M   Danube K
The Belle Stars The Clapping Song Y
Via Vagabond   Who Likes Jazz? N
The Belle Stars   Sign Of The Times Y
Tracey Ullman   Breakaway Y
Yello  I Love You Y
Eddie 'Tenpole' Tudor The Hayrick Song N
Passion Puppets  Like Dust N
Tracey Ullman   They Don't Know Y


DISC FOUR
24 tracks, 79 minutes 30 seconds
1983-2007
ArtistTitleFamiliar? Like?
Kirsty MacColl Terry K
The Inspirational Choir
   Of The Pentecostal
   First Born Church 
   Of The Living God
Pick Me Up N
Tracey Ullman    Move Over Darling Y
The Pogues   Dark Streets Of London Y
Kirsty MacColl A New EnglandK
The Pogues A Pair Of Brown Eyes Y
The Untouchables   Free Yourself Y
Makin' Time Here Is My Number N
The Untouchables  I Spy (For The FBI) Y
The Pogues  Dirty Old Town Y
Ruefrex The Wild Colonial Boy N
Andy White   Religious Persuasion N
The Mint Juleps   Only Love Can Break
   Your Heart
N
Furniture  
Brilliant Mind
N
Dr. Feelgood  Don't Wait Up N
Tommy Chase Killer Joe (Right Cross) N
The Prisoners   Whenever I'm Gone N
The Pogues feat.
   The Dubliners
The Irish RoverY
The Enemy   Dancin' All Night N
Eskimo Disco  What Is Woman? N
The Producers Barking Up The Right Tree Y
The Tranzmitors  Broken Homes N
Any Trouble   That Sound K
Ronald Reagan   The Wit & Wisdom Of
Ronald Reagan (Extract)
Y




1 comment:

  1. Kudos sir for undertaking the labour of lust that is the Big Stiff Box Set . By my math, you only disliked a third of the songs while freely admitting that fully half of the box was new to your ears.

    As someone who has that Stiff Records Box Set sitting on a shelf, here's the rundown:

    Big Stiff Box has 98 songs with 53 exclusives*
    Stiff Records Box has 96 songs with 51 exclusives*

    *songs the other box set doesn't have - both sets just have 45 tracks in common

    Having them both gives you 149 Stiff-erent songs so it just might be worth the effort and expense to seek the older box set out.

    The following is a list of those songs NOT on "your" set that are on "mine":

    Alberto Y Lost Trios Paranoias - Kill
    Any Trouble – Trouble With Love
    Belle Stars, The – Sweet Memory
    Damned, The – Stab Your Back
    Dave Edmunds – Jo Jo Gunne
    Department S – Is Vic There? (French Version)
    Desmond Dekker – Allamana
    Desmond Dekker – Israelites
    Devo – Jocko Homo
    Dirty Looks – Let Go
    Dr. Feelgood – Hunting, Shooting, Fishing
    Elvis Costello – Alison
    Elvis Costello – I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself
    Elvis Costello – Watching The Detectives
    Equators, The – If You Need Me
    Furniture – Shake Like Judy Says
    Graham Parker – Back To The Schooldays
    Graham Parker – Mercury Poisoning (Live)
    Graham Parker – Stupefaction
    Ian Dury – My Old Man
    Ian Dury – Razzle In My Pocket
    Ian Dury – What A Waste
    Ian Dury And The Blockheads – Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick
    Ian Dury And The Blockheads – Inbetweenies
    Jakko – Dangerous Dreams
    Jamie Rae – Pretty One
    Jill Read – Maybe
    John Otway – Green Green Grass Of Home
    Jona Lewie – I'll Get By In Pittsburgh
    King Kurt – Destination Zululand (Humdiddlededumhoowahayha)
    Kirsty MacColl – They Don't Know
    Lew Lewis Reformer – Lucky Seven
    Lew Lewis Reformer – Win Or Lose
    Madness – Baggy Trousers
    Madness – My Girl
    Mickey Jupp – You'll Never Get Me Up In One Of Those
    Nick Lowe – I Love My Label
    Nick Lowe – So It Goes
    Pogues, The – Sally MacLennane
    Pogues, The – The Sick Bed Of Cuchulain
    Pookiesnackenburger – Just One Cornetto
    Rachel Sweet – Who Does Lisa Like?
    Richard Hell – (I Belong To The) Blank Generation
    Roogalator – Cincinatti Fatback
    Rumour, The – Emotional Traffic
    Tenpole Tudor – Three Bells In A Row
    Tenpole Tudor – Throwing My Baby Out With The Bathwater
    Theatre Of Hate – The Hop
    Tracey Ullman – You Broke My Heart In 17 Places
    Untouchables, The – Wild Child
    Wreckless Eric – Semaphore Signals

    43 of the listed 51 are in this Spotify playlist

    Also recommended:
    The STIFF Singles Vols. 1-9

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