Rachel Sweet

B-A-B-Y: The Complete Stiff Recordings 1978-1980

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In 1977, Stiff Records, the willfully eccentric British label that discovered Elvis Costello and made Nick Lowe and Ian Dury stars, were looking for talent in Akron, Ohio, of all places, and there they found a pretty 15-year-old girl named Rachel Sweet. Sweet had been singing professionally since the age of six, had cut a few country singles for local labels, and even played Las Vegas as Mickey Rooney's opening act. Stiff wasted no time signing the precocious vocalist, and while they marketed her as a teenage siren, she was a genuine talent with a strong, passionate voice, and critics found plenty to like in her debut album, 1978's Fool Around. Sweet's second album, 1980's Protect the Innocent, was even better, and she moved up to a deal with Columbia Records, who unfortunately seemed uncertain of how to market her, despite Sweet scoring a minor hit single in a duet with Rex Smith, "Everlasting Love." After contributing music to John Waters' films Hairspray and Cry Baby, Rachel gave up music for a successful career in television, working as a writer and producer. B-A-B-Y: The Complete Stiff Recordings 1978-1980 is a collection that includes Fool Around and Protect the Innocent in full, as well as compilation tracks and rare single sides that never appeared on an album, offering a solid and entertaining look at the peak of Sweet's career.

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