Stiff Records Presents: The Akron Compilation


After three long years of last minute outbidding by aging hipsters, maniacal Stiff Records collectors, and just generally terrible* people, I was finally able to get my hands on the famed (well, not really…but sort of hard to find) Akron Compilation (thank you eBay!)!  And for only a mere $13 dollars (thank you random eBay seller whose user name I cannot recall!)!  Sure, it’s missing the inner sleeve and the scratch n’ sniff cover has lost its scent (when you scratched “Akron” it smelled like rubber.  Awesome!)…but after three years of searching, I was just happy to be able bask in its glorious Akronness (yes…”Akronness” is a word.  My friend Panda coined it and Giffels wrote an article about it).  Oh yeah…and to actually be able to finally hear the songs on it.

I have never been able to find that much information on the release of the album, but I do know this: In 1978, England’s Stiff Records loved the music coming from Akron…they kind of saw the city as America’s Liverpool.  So, in this spectacular year Stiff released Devo’s second EP, Be Stiff (which included the title track that would go on to be covered by a plethora of Stiff’s artists [here’s one]), 16-year-old Akron native Rachel Sweet’s debut album, Fool Around (she would later do this), and the magnificent compilation that this blog is about.  And, then, some time by year’s end, it appeared that they lost interest.

I really hate reviewing albums…so, I’ll try to keep this part brief.  The Akron Compilation offers three tracks from The Waitresses (“Slide” is amazing.  In fact, I think I may prefer this version over the Tin Huey version from “Contents Dislodged During Shipment”…but “The Comb” is now my seventh favorite song of all-time…the third, “Clones” [the hidden bonus track] is weird, therefore I like it.  [On a related, yet totally unrelated note, they later did this]),two from Jane Aire & the Belvederes (“I’m an Actress” is okay…”When I Was Young” is better), two from Rachel Sweet (I really like “Tourist Boys,” meh on “Truckstop Queen.”), and one a piece from Tin Huey (“Chinese Circus,” which is much more awesome, psychotic and fun than the version that would appear in 1979 on their Warner Bros. debut), Rubber City Rebels (the aptly titled “Rubber City Rebels” which, in my opinion is the third best song named after the band that recorded it [01. Black Sabbath’s “Black Sabbath,” 02. “Bad Company” by Bad Company…in case you were curious]), Bizarros (“Nova,” good song, but I wish they would have put “Without Reason” on there), Chi-Pig (they still play sometimes and all’s I can say is: if you can, go see them), Sniper, Terraplane and Idiot’s Convention (all great, but I still tend to skip over them…one day I won’t).

Hmm…I guess that wasn’t too brief.

And after 3 months of procrastination, I was finally able to get around to converting the vinyl to mp3.  This is a very good thing because my record player is one of those terrible $70 “I’m supposed to look all old-timey” jobs you get at Target and it sounds, well, pretty awful (and it’s good for you, as well, because if you click on the “mp3” link above you can have it too.  Trust me: it’s the only place on the web that has it in mp3 form…I know this because I have wasted many hours looking.  So, you’re welcome.).

01. Jane Aire & the Belvederes – “When I Was Young”

02. Tin Huey – “Chinese Circus”

03. Rachel Sweet – “Truckstop Queen”

04. Bizarros – “Nova”

05. The Waitresses  – “The Comb”

06. Rubber City Rebels – “Rubber City Rebels”

07. The Waitresses – “Slide”

08. Jane Aire & the Belvederes  – “I’m an Actress”

09. Sniper – “Love is Making Me Bleed”

10. Idiot’s Convention – “Mephistopholes’ Passion”

11. Rachel Sweet – “Tourist Boys”

12. Terraplane – “Beer and a Cigarette”

13. Chi-Pig – “Apu-Api (Help Me)”

14. The Waitresses – “Clones”

* I can’t back this up…


~ by rickbenedum on 10/06/2009.

2 Responses to “Stiff Records Presents: The Akron Compilation”

  1. I resemble the aging hipster STIFF Records maniac mentioned above….and PROUD OF IT !!! Here’s the downlow…..
    1) Jake Riviera, co-founder of STIFF, was either dating or at least was an acquaintence of Chrissie Hynde while she was living in London; and his interest in Akron sounds is sourced in their discussions at the time. The label’s interest petered out because the album was a pet project of Riviera, and he had already decided to leave STIFF (didn’t really get along well with co-founder Dave Robinson) to form Radar Records in early ’78. So, record got very little push from STIFF after initial release.
    2) Liam Sternberg, member of Jane Aire’s Belvederes, produced the album.
    3) It was Robert Christgau’s Village Voice article, “A Real New Wave Rolls Out Of Ohio” (Aril 17, 1978) that blew the roof off of the scene, and helped to sell over 120,000 copies of the disc.
    4) The “Shine On America” mural originally appeared in DEVO’s 1st music video/film “The Truth About De-Evolution”(1974).
    5) Rachael Sweet would ROCK THE SHIT out of “Truckstop Queen”, so “MEH” right back atcha Big Buddy!?!?!
    Keep on chooglin’!!!

  2. thanks for all the information, good sir.

    yes, rachel sweet does rock the shit out of truckstop queen. truckstop queen does indeed kick ass, but tourist boys is my favorite rachel sweet song (i was able to hear that years before i got the akron comp.), so that’s why i said it was “meh.”

    oh, and i meant no offense about the “aging hipster” remark (it’s hipsters my age i can’t stand). nor the “stiff records maniac,” for i, too, am a stiff records maniac.

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