Mixtape: Stiff for 2½ Hours

It's easy to forget in these data-driven times that Stiff Records ever existed or could exist. A British pub-rock label that somewhat heedlessly but thankfully accepted punk, a pioneer in deflation and comic marketing, and a way station for music scorned by both indigo-blooded industry elites and conservative stooges, Stiff served the customer who just wanted honestly-made tunes, or to at least be let in on the con, and ergo the tour bus.

The output of Stiff has been collected in digestible form before, most notably the great Stiff Records Box that Rhino put out in 1992. But thanks to my inability to stay off discogs.com for more than three hours on any given day, I found a lot of Stiff records that I hadn't heard before that seemed to reflect vital parts of their ideology, whatever it was. So Mixtape #58 contains some well-known Stiff artists and records (surprise, Nick Lowe's "So It Goes" starts it all off), along with some other supportive evidence of their enduring reputation.

Before I knew it I had compiled the longest mixtape I've ever done (outside of Star Time: After Hours #2) and given it a terribly cheeky but subject-appropriate title. Just turn it on and let the kids run around the apartment. That's what we do, except we have a house. In addition to Nick we have the Damned, Elvis Costello, Ian Dury, Richard Hell, Wreckless Eric, Kirsty MacColl, Motörhead, Lene Lovich, Devo, a surprise appearance by Pete Townshend, and a bunch of passing singles and album tracks that reflect the general temper of the times. There are 50 songs in total, although I'm tempted to count Plasmatics' irresponsibly insane cover of Bobby Darin's "Dream Lover" as two. Take the next 150 minutes off.

Nick Lowe - So It Goes
The Pink Fairies - Between the Lines
The Damned - See Her Tonite
The Takeaways - Food
Plummet Airlines - Silver Shirt
Max Wall - England's Glory
Ian Dury - I'm Partial to Your Abracadabra
Yachts - Suffice to Say
Richard Hell - You Gotta Lose
The Adverts - One Chord Wonders
Wreckless Eric - Reconnez Cherie
Larry Wallis - Police Car
Cherry Vanilla - The Punk
Alberto Y Lost Trios Paranoias - Gobbing on Life
The Subs - Gimme Your Heart
Mickey Jupp - S.P.Y.
Motörhead - Leaving Here
Chi-Pig - Apu Api (Help Me)
Lene Lovich - Too Tender (To Touch)
Devo - Be Stiff
Just Water - Singin' in the Rain
The Rumour - Emotional Traffic
Rachel Sweet - Girl With a Synthesizer
Wazmo Nariz - Tele-Tele-Telephone
Binky Baker & the Pit Orchestra - Toe Knee Black Burn
Humphrey Ocean & the Hardy Annuals - Whoops a Daisy
Angie (with Pete Townshend) - Peppermint Lump
Ian Gomm - Hooked on Love
Mi-Sex - Wot Do You Want?
The GT's - Boys Have Feelings Too
Kirsty MacColl - They Don't Know
Madness - Mistakes
Pointed Sticks - Out of Luck
Joe King Carrasco & the Crowns - Tuff Enuff
The Mexicano - Trial By Television
The Dancing Did - The Lost Platoon
Dirty Looks - Lie to Me
Alvin Stardust - Pretend
Tenpole Tudor - Three Bells in a Row
Sprout Head Uprising - Throw Some Water In
Billy Bremner - Loud Music in Cars
Fingerprintz - Shadowed
Jona Lewie - Stop the Cavalry
The Hon. Nick Jones & Ian MacRae - Ballad of Lady Di
Dave Stewart with Colin Blunstone - What Becomes of the Broken Hearted
Rough Trade - Lie Back, Let Me Do Everything
Plasmatics - Dream Lover
Elvis Costello - Radio Sweetheart
John Otway - Green Green Grass of Home
Ian Dury & "Live Stiffs Live" Lineup - Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll & Chaos

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