Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Rachel Sweet


Fool Around (1978)

Just My Style/B-A-B-Y/Who Does Lisa Like/Wildwood Saloon/Stay Awhile/Suspended Animation/It's So Different Here/Cuckoo Clock/Pin A Medal On Mary/Girl With A Synthesiser/Stranger In The House

I remember this coming out on Stiff Records back in 1978, from the then 16 year-old Rachel Sweet. I felt it was the sort of thing I ought to like, being a new waver keen to hoover up as much new product as possible, but I never got round to it. I recall a few tracks but that's it, so here I am over forty years later. 

The album reminds me in some ways of label-mate Nick Lowe's output from the same period. 

The songs

Just My Style is a relatively unremarkable, clunky opener before we get a gloriously raunchy, gritty cover of Carla Thomas's B-A-B-Y driven along by some great Stax-y horns. A really great track is the bassy, slightly funky and riffy shuffling groove of Who Does Lisa Like. Great saxophone on it too - corker of a track.

Wildwood Saloon is a cynical country ballad. Dusty Springfield's Stay Awhile is given a Spectoresque production featuring a stonking saxophone solo. The once more vaguely funky Suspended Animation is another good one, with an opening riff just like Blondie's One Way Or Another with Rachel delivering a Debbie Harry-esque vocal to boot. More great saxophone to be found here as well.

It's So Different here is a quirky, odd-sounding number with some slight reggae tinges while Cuckoo Clock is probably the album's most new wave-punk number with more Debbie Harry sound-alike vocals. It's great - I love its vitality. 

Pin A Medal On Mary sounds like Marc Bolan has arrived on guitar and sounds like a Nick Lowe song, but isn't it. Girl With A Synthesiser is a rollicking piece of country new wave, if indeed there could be such a thing. Rachel's bar-room cover of Elvis Costello's Stranger In The House shows just what fine country songs Costello could write.

An interesting, vibrant and fun album. Shame it went under many people's radars. 

* An excellent bonus track is a superb cover of Del Shannon's I Go To Pieces. A track that appeared on the US album but not the UK one. It should have done - it's probably the best track of the lot. Another recognisable bonus track is Sad Song, which appeared on Ellen Foley's 1979 Night out album. 

Related posts :-
Nick Lowe
Elvis Costello
Ellen Foley


  1. I still can't remember how to use your blog. Except as anonymous. I can't figure out how I did it that last time.

  2. The last time I just started a new account with the name bobbyb, but I can't even remember how I did that.

  3. Pin a Medal on Mary is great. There's a bunch of other good ones too. Stranger in the House is a very good song. Didn't Elvis Costello do it on one of his own albums? I think so. On her next album she had an even better batch of songs. Graham Parker's Fools Gold and Elvis Presley and The Damned and a really great Velvet Undergroud's New Age. I really used to like that album a lot.

  4. These comments are still showing up as “anonymous”, although I can still read them.

    I have long been familiar with Stranger In The House by Elvis Costello, as he wrote it, and released it around 1977.

    I am in the process of reducing the font size on the blog. I hope you can still read it.