Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Various Artists • Stiffs Live (aka Live Stiffs Live)

This live LP/CD from 1978 is an historical document, capturing the Stiff Records tour of that year and featuring many of the nascent label's latest signings. Elvis Costello (already getting way too much coverage on this blog!), Nick Lowe, Wreckless Eric, Ian Dury & The Blockheads and Larry Wallis all appear on Stiffs Live, fronting their own bands and backing up each other. Sorta like a family orgy... only not icky.

Elvis and his new Attractions whip out the Bacharach/David "I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself" and his own "Miracle Man," Nick chews out "Let's Eat" and "I Knew the Bride (When She Used to Rock 'N' Roll)," Wreckless Eric sounds very drunk singing "Semaphore Signals" and "Reconnez Cherie," Ian Dury does "Billericay Dickie" and "Wake Up & Make Love With Me" (perhaps the first-ever song about morning wood?), and Larry Wallis' Psychedelic Rowdies take a ride in "Police Car." The album closes with the entire motley crew doing Dury's "Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll." All in all, an interesting and worthwhile vehicle for hearing what all the fuss was about. All the CD versions I've seen of this album have the exact same song lineup, so save yourself some money and buy it used on vinyl... I got mine in a 4 records for $10 deal and it's in great shape!
4/5 (Stiff America STF 0001, orig. distributed by Arista Records, 1978)

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