Any Trouble were a four piece band from Manchester, led by Clive Gregson. Originally, the band was a folky sounding trio, with singer songwriter Tom Jackson. Jackson was eventually dropped, and the band was expanded to a four piece (including Chris Parks on Guitar, Phil Barnes on bass, and Mel Harley on drums, later replated with Martin Hughes on the 2nd LP), and similarly, their sound became more in the vein of punk and new wave. Eventually, the band was signed to Stiff Records, and they released their debut LP, Where Are All The Nice Girls, which is undoubtedly one of the lesser known albums (and best, in my opinion) released from Stiff during that era.
The record didn’t sell, and apparently, Stiff wanted Gregson to adapt a persona similar to Elvis Costello, become a solo artist, and drop the band. Soon after, the band began recording their second LP, Wheels In Motion. Wheels in Motion was definitely a little more polished, had some even better songs, and had the makings of a new wave classic. The band set on a tour of the US only to find out, they had been dropped by Stiff Records while on said tour.
Clive Gregson continued under the Any Trouble name for a while, while dropping the original band, and reforming with new players to record a self-titled LP in 1983. The self-titled LP is by far a slicker effort, and is definitely more of a pop record, without some most of the punk/new wave leanings of the first two records. The band was on it’s last legs, and before going out, recording the 25 song, double LP Wrong End of The Race, which mixed new songs with old, reworked songs from the 1st and 2nd album.
Clive Gregson broke the band up in 1984, and continued on as mostly a solo artist, and a guitar player in Richard Thompson’s live band occasionally (probably as a favor for covering Thompson’s Dimming of the Day on the Wheels in Motion LP).
In 2002, there was some renewed interest in the band, and a compilation known as Girls Are Always Right was reissued, with songs cherry picked from the Stiff Records years and, in 2006, the band reunited with the same line up as the Wheels In Motion LP, began playing some live shows, and recorded the Life in Reverse LP in 2007 (minus Phil Barnes, who had to opt out due to prior commitments). Also, the Where Are All The Nice Girls LP was re-released on CD, as well as Wheels In Reverse for a digital only (as far as I can tell) release.
Definitely recommended if you dig anything from Stiff, Costello, Joe Jackson, Squeeze, Power pop, etc.
Just to celebrate the occasion, here’s the debut single from The Damned. It was released by Stiff Records on October 22nd, 1976, making it the first single ever released by a British Punk band–something I like to mention now and then to folks that think the Clash and the Pistols invented the genre.
No, Doc Shoe ain’t dead–he’s just preoccupied. But I have been digging through the Stiff Records back-catalog, and I found one of those maddeningly addictive songs I can’t help playing at least a dozen times a day. (Yes, I know, I’m like a kid that way; if a little bit of something is good, I figure a whole lot must be even better.)