Desert Island Discs: “Where Are All The Nice Girls?” by Any Trouble (1980)

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I bought this album in 1981 on the strength of a review in the old Twin Cities Reader broadsheet. Didn’t ever hear any of the songs until I got it home. It’s astonishing how many great, great records I’ve acquired like that.

Lead singer/guitarist/songwriter Clive Gregson was regularly compared with Elvis Costello. I think it was because (a) both wore glasses, and (b) both recorded for Stiff Records. Though a flattering comparison for both, I think more apt comparisons are to Squeeze (for clever songwriting) and Graham Parker (for vocal style and musicianship).

Any Trouble was more in the spirit of the mid-period Beatles than most of their contemporaries. Certainly I make the following claim for lots of Desert Island Discs; that’s what makes them Desert Island Discs, after all. But there really isn’t a bad song on this album.

“Second Choice”:

I never felt the need to cry or rejoice
I never felt the need to raise my voice
I only wanted to be one of the boys
Now you made me second choice

“Foolish Pride”:

‘Cause if you want to win her love
You got to stand a foot above
The man who’s standing by your side
She’s so high-class
You’re gonna have to let her pass
And swallow your foolish pride
And swallow your foolish pride

“The Hurt”:

Loving you is like playing with fire
I tried it once and you burned my desire
A hot, hot way to learn

Any Trouble switched to EMI and recorded a couple more albums, but none packed the wallop of “Where Are All The Nice Girls?” Gregson went on to play with some of my other favorite musicians. He played in Richard Thompson’s band for much of the ’80s; collaborated with Henry Gross after that; and currently plays in Nanci Griffith’s Blue Moon Orchestra. It’s so cool when musicians I admire have their paths cross.

These days, a digital download of “Where Are All The Nice Girls?” is all that’s (officially) available. But it’s not identical to the LP version I bought in 1981. It adds two songs: the concurrent single “Yesterday’s Love,” and a ballad, “Honolulu.” Omitted from this version is something that I thought would never be possible: a genuinely rocking, live cover of an ABBA song, “Name Of The Game.” If you purchase the download through Amazon, dig a wee bit deeper and purchase that track too. It’s a must-own.

8 Comments on “Desert Island Discs: “Where Are All The Nice Girls?” by Any Trouble (1980)”

  1. Matt says:

    Wow, the Any Trouble is one of my favorite albums too! Btw, I noticed in other posts you mention you are a DJ on KBEK. Can I listen to your show via the internet? I assume you play some jangly and power pop tunes on your show and I’d love to hear it! Thanks.

    • scottmac56 says:

      Sadly, Matt, we don’t stream our signal yet. We’re a small-market family-owned station here in outstate Minnesota, and most of our sponsors are small businesses. And as you probably know, the royalties a station gets charged go up by an order of magnitude when a station streams its signal. Until we can figure out how to do it without pricing ourselves out of our advertisers’ reach, we’ll stay terrestrial. Someday, maybe. I’ll keep you posted. – – Scott.

      • Matt says:

        No problem, Scot. Thanks anyway. Do you post playlists? It would be cool to see a sample of what you play on your show>

        Here is a playlist from my iTunes I posted on another site:

        She’s About To Cross My Mind–The Red Button
        Whisper Softly–Myracle Brah
        So Much Better–Mike Viola
        Dodgy–Icecream Hands
        Troubled Times–Fountains Of Wayne
        Yesterday Girl–The Smithereens
        Northern Lights–Cliff Hillis
        About You–Teenage Fanclub
        Everything You’ve Done Wrong–Sloan
        Your Friend–Pugwash
        We’re The Same–Matthew Sweet
        Mr. Tomorrow–Gigolo Aunts
        Melanie–The Nines
        Oh No the Radio–Owsley
        Never Really Been Gone–Tommy Keene
        Don’t Take Me Down–Velvet Crush
        Congratulations, My Darling–Eugene Edwards
        Whenever You’re On My Mind–Marshall Crenshaw
        New Mistake–Jellyfish
        Golden Blunders–The Posies

        Cheers, Matt

      • scottmac56 says:

        You’re the only other person I know who’s heard of Myracle Brah! (Besides those I’ve played them for.)

        Got some of my faves on there. Tommy Keene, Velvet Crush, The Smithereens, The Posies.

        Sloan is another one of those bands who would be huge in the US if this were a fair universe.

        Have you heard Shoes?

        David Grahame?

        The Odds?

  2. Matt says:

    Absolutely, I’ve heard of all of them. I have most of the Odds CD’s, favorite is probably “Nest”. Shoes have a new disc called “Ignition” and it’s fantastic! I have a couple of David Grahame discs, including an awesome best of collection. I just ordered new disc by Grahame Steinberg (David Grahame and Lane Steinberg) last week. Looking forward to getting that one.

    Other 2012 releases I like by the db’s, Redd Kross, Bill Lloyd, Aimee Mann, Cliff Hillis, Wanderlust, and Brendan Benson.

  3. JD says:

    Hi! I came across this thread while searching “Any Trouble”. All great tracks and artists on your lists! Sloan is one of my all time favs. Since I also noticed David Grahame (whose music I love) I would highly recommend checking out The Judes as well. Their album is called “All That is The Judes”, great power pop that I cannot get enough of! Keep up the great posts! I have some new bands to check out,
    Cheers! JD

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