Hey, Kid–Wanna Buy The Best Post-Punk Comp Ever?

Jul 26th, 2007 // 8 Comments

bridge.jpgEven in the MP3 age, there are CDs worth searching out–that require the search. “O.O.P., We Did It Again” is dedicated to great albums that are criminally out of print–and that are unlikely to become available anytime soon.

The album: Wanna Buy a Bridge? (Rough Trade, 1980), a 14-single compilation designed to showcase the U.K. independent label Rough Trade’s wares to American audiences.

Classic material: Even with the surge in reissued post-punk that’s been going on all decade, Bridge? is the standard by which all such various-artists collections are measured. Not only is there not a duff cut on the album, the sequencing is pure pleasure, each song following the last like the college radio station of your dreams.

Highlights: Few albums of any sort–single-artist or anthology, all-new or best-of–open with a one-two punch as perfect as Stiff Little Fingers’ “Alternative Ulster” segueing into Delta 5′s “Mind Your Own Business.” Punk, meet post-punk: you two should get along just fine.

Why it’s out of print: Rough Trade’s business history has been, to be polite, checkered. In Rob Young’s recent book on RT for the Label Series, founder Geoff Travis discusses the imprint’s bankruptcy in painful detail. Several of the artists retain rights to their own material, and many tracks have been reissued on non-RT labels, such as Kill Rock Stars’ double-CDs on Liliput and Essential Logic. So a lot of the songs are available, just not all in one place.

Chances it will return to print: Seemingly not great. While Mute U.K. has issued several “Rough Trade Shops” collections, including a post-punk volume and a 25 Years box whose first disc spanned the same basic time frame as Wanna Buy a Bridge?, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of interest in recompiling the original LP.

Cost for a used copy: This album is usually around at record fairs, where prices start around $20.

  1. the rich girls are weeping

    I guess this never went anywhere, then? Bummer.

  2. Maura Johnston

    i actually found my copy of WBaB*? for $3 at a flea market in pennsylvania. also there, also $3: a copy of the young marble giants’ colossal youth.

    *this acronym should be hilarious to anyone who grew up on long island

  3. mike a

    It’s true, Weeping: they tried to reissue it but ran into resistance from at least two of the original artists. There’s definitely interest, but not from some of the participants.

    It’s the Desparate Bicycles situation all over again, basically – the DBs have refused all offers to reissue their music, citing principle rather than price. We can argue whether it’s such a great principle to limit one’s music only to those who were lucky enough to score original copies at the time of release, but it sure does make things difficult for the rest of us.

  4. Dickdogfood

    WBAB: LONG ISLAND’S HOME FOR SKYNYRD

  5. the rich girls are weeping

    @mike a: Wonderful! Oh, you wacky musicians. :P

  6. MTS

    Delta 5 were also reissued by Kill Rock Stars as well. Just felt like pointing that out!

  7. mackro

    At this point, you can easily recreate the comp by buying/sharing a few mp3s and maybe buying a few CDs at most — and that’s the most honest route.

  8. mike a

    I’ve been corrected offlist – it wasn’t the artists that said no, but rather it was the fact that two of the tracks are now owned by major labels that quoted high licensing fees.

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