Rip It Up, November 1977

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Rip It Up

New Zealand publications


A Bunch Of Stiffs

Stiff Records

Alastair Dougal

Stiff records are an independent British record company who not only don't believe that the sixties never died, they don't eve believe they faded away. Their anachronistic attitude is typified by the slogan displayed on the cover — "Undertakers to the Industry — If They're Dead We'll sign Them." What can you say to honesty like that?

But fear not, this is not a bunch of dull has beens on a bunch of even duller retreads. Nope, this is just a bunch of seventies kids with their feet firmly rooted in sixties pop, and R & B. Noticeably the most successful tracks here weld their nostalgic tendencies to a firmly seventies feel in lyrics and approach. Which brings us to the one unabashed classic contained herein. It's Elvis Costello and "Less Than Zero." A song about Britain's fascist leader of the thirties Oswald Moseley, of course. What more logical subject for a pop-calypso song?

But sprinkled throughout the album are several minor delights, that more than repay the price of admission. There's The Takeaways amazingly accurate Dylan take-off, "Food." The Tyla Gang's New York take "The Young Lords," Dave Edmund's crazy version of Chuck Berry's "Jo Jo Dunne" and tucked away at the end of Side One and uncredited on the sleeve, is Graham Parker and the Rumour with an alternative version of "Back to Schooldays" to the one found on Howlin' Wind.

A set that allows you to reverse into tomorrow today. Yesterday's Sound Today as Phil Spector might say.


Rip It Up, No. 6, November 1977

Alastair Dougal reviews A Bunch Of Stiff Records.


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1977-11-00 Rip It Up cover.jpg 1977-11-00 Rip It Up page 10.jpg
Cover and page scan.


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