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BABY: The Best of Rachel Sweet

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Recensione album

It's very easy to remember Rachel Sweet as little more than a juvenile novelty within the Stiff Records canon, one more in a long line of headline-grabbing oddities who vanished from the radar around the same time as people stopped caring what the label itself was up to. To do so, however, serves up a dreadful injustice, to Sweet of course, but also to anyone who actually sits down to listen to Sweet's Stiff Records output and discovers there a treasure trove of excellence. Her Fool Around debut album, in particular, was a masterpiece, a country-new wave hybrid a decade ahead of its time, and littered with some sensational performances — "Who Does Lisa Like" is only the most obvious, the almost shockingly mature "Wildwood Saloon" only the most surprising. Of course there were a few obligatory bubblegum boppers in there, but when the novelty factor gets too grating, it's the songs ("Cuckoo Clock," "Girl with a Synthesizer") that jar, not the singer. Sweet's second album, Protect the Innocent, was less enthralling, although a lovely cover of the Velvet Underground's "New Age" and a strange take on the Damned's "New Rose" both thrill, while Sweet also unleashed a positively beautiful take on the oldie "I Go to Pieces." All of which lines B.A.B.Y. up as an excellent collection, and a fitting tribute to a singer who should never have been allowed to fade away as she did. At her best, she really was one of the best.


Nato(a): 1963, Akron, OH

Genere: Pop

Anni di attività: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

At Stiff Records, nothing was sacred; often the label's slogans and unorthodox promotion were as memorable as the truly inspired music they released. With teenage Rachel Sweet, whom they marketed as a "jailbait" country singer (and later as a leather-clad child abductor), it would seem that their perverse humor had finally gone too far. One listen to her albums, however, and all questionable images and in-jokes fall into the background; "the little girl with the big voice" made some terrific music,...
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BABY: The Best of Rachel Sweet, Rachel Sweet
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