The Public Records 7/12/19
Here we are again. Another week, another album. Lucky for us, it seems that those dog days of summer haven’t begun to hit us just yet; so, why not use this cooling rain to harvest our energy and pick up the pace a bit?
Our next album will do just that and keep our Summer ‘019 Rock Block trucking with a heavy, but surprisingly unknown American rocker, writer, and actor. For our July 12 album of the week, The Public Records presents Rachel Sweet’s ‘Fool Around’ (1979, Stiff Records (CBS)).
Rachel Sweet was born in 1962 in Akron, Ohio. She won a singing contest for an electric garage door opener at the age of three and this started Sweet off in a life of show biz. By six she began getting commercial and shortly after toured with Mickey Rooney. When she the age of 12 , she was opening for Bill Cosby in Las Vegas. Sweet decided to try her hand at music. She started off singing country music, but having little success with that, Sweet switched to rock’n’roll.
She was signed to Stiff Records and in 1978, at the age of 16, she released her first studio album ‘Fool Around’; a hardcore, punk-esque romp from top to bottom. Naturally, she dropped out of school to pursue her career, which was receiving massive critical acclaim yet not making her a ton of money. She was able to pull off a Top 40s hit in the U.K. with the song ‘B-A-B-Y’ (a cover of Carla Thomas’ 1966 hit). The label still had faith and although they took a little heat for pushing a ‘Lolita’ character as one of their acts, she released a few more albums over the next decade, but commercial success never really materialized.
However, she did manage to get her degree while her TV and film credits were piling up. Sweet worked frequently with John Waters and wrote the theme for Hairspray and the majority of the tunes for Cry-Baby. Not always writing for adult audiences, Sweet was the composer of the theme song for ‘Clarissa Explains It All’ which was massive as any 30 something can tell you. She also hosted ‘The Sweet Life’ from 1989-90 on the channel that would be the precursor to Comedy Central.
Rachel Sweet provided the voice for Barbie on the animated series, appeared on Seinfeld as George Costanza’s cousin, and has had her hand in writing for an impressive list of shows: Dharma & Greg, Hot In Cleveland, George Lopez, and 2 Broke Girls are just a few.
As we mentioned, ‘Fool Around’ is a pretty heavy album. The songs are loud and fast and are brimming with an aggressive and youthful energy. The beginnings of the 80s flirtations with 50s is evident; however, there is a super sweet sleeper track on the B-Side that stands up to anything indie today. When you stumble upon this cool bass led jam, you’ll have no choice but to bop along and be glad you ordered that super smooth Sloe Gin Fizz in your hand. Cheers!