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Rock - Released January 1, 1978 | Stiff Records

First brought to fame as a member of the idiosyncratically named Terry Dactyl & the Dinosaurs, U.K. hitmakers in the early '70s, Jona Lewie proved that band's oddball output was no fluke when he materialized within the Stiff Records roster at the end of the decade. An unlikely attraction on the label's second package tours, rubbing shoulders with acts as disparate as Detroit art goddess Lene Lovich and the inestimable Wreckless Eric, Lewie then scored a minor cult hit with the insistent "The Baby, She's on the Street," before unleashing his debut album in 1980. "The Baby" remains one of the easiest entries into On the Other Hand There's a Fist, a set that otherwise plays out like a nouveau-cabaret act, tight and cohesive, infused with good humor and the light pattered songs that Lewie did best -- the menacing title certainly belies the content. Leaping into the fray with the catchy pop of his U.K. Top 20 "(You'll Always Find Me in The) Kitchen at Parties," which features Kirsty MacColl in the backing chorus (and again on "A Bit Higher"), it's only a matter of time before he reaches the sweet, old-time love song "God Bless Whoever Made You," a marriage of '60s innocence with blistered guitar that ultimately emerges a Stiff trademark -- interesting quirk. Elsewhere, he hits streets with "On the Road" and the bluesy piss-fest "I'll Get by in Pittsburgh," which just leaves one of the album's few sour moments, "Feelin' Stupid" -- which ultimately sounds stupid too. Plying his wonderful voice like another instrument in his band, Lewie adds his own uniquely styled verve to an already eccentric generation of vocalists. Although probably unknown in the United States, Lewie is a voice to be sought out, and reckoned with. © Amy Hanson /TiVo
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Rock - Released November 25, 2008 | Stiff Records

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Rock - Released November 25, 2008 | Stiff Records

Irrepressibly quirky or frankly eccentric? Either way, an hour-plus in the company of the best of Jona Lewie is sufficient to induce fits of gleeful air piano playing in the most discriminating listener -- an hour-plus, that is, in the thrall of such offbeat pop classics as "Stop the Cavalry" and "Louise," the demented travelogue of "Hallelujah Europa," the wallflowering anthem of "You'll Always Find Me in the Kitchen at Parties," then on and on for 22 tracks until you reach the closing cover of Devo's "Be Stiff" -- and you thought the Mothersbaugh brothers were weird? Charting Lewie's entire Stiff label career from the opening single, "The Baby, She's on the Street" (later covered by Ian Matthews), and democratically dividing the tracks between each of the ensuing albums, The Best of Jona Lewie falters only in that democracy. Arguably, the collection would have been served had it absorbed his On the Other Hand There's a Fist debut album in its entirety (four tracks are missing), while the period B-side "Police Trap" is also conspicuous by its absence. There is great joy, however, in being reacquainted with later gems "I Think I'll Get My Hair Cut," "Rearranging the Deckchairs on the Titanic," and "The Seed That Always Died," and the upshot is, if you enjoy the first half of The Best of Jona Lewie, there's nothing to prevent you enjoying the rest. © Dave Thompson /TiVo
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Ambient/New Age - Released October 15, 2007 | Stiff Records

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Rock - Released November 25, 2008 | Stiff Records

First brought to fame as a member of the idiosyncratically named Terry Dactyl & the Dinosaurs, U.K. hitmakers in the early '70s, Jona Lewie proved that band's oddball output was no fluke when he materialized within the Stiff Records roster at the end of the decade. An unlikely attraction on the label's second package tours, rubbing shoulders with acts as disparate as Detroit art goddess Lene Lovich and the inestimable Wreckless Eric, Lewie then scored a minor cult hit with the insistent "The Baby, She's on the Street," before unleashing his debut album in 1980. "The Baby" remains one of the easiest entries into On the Other Hand There's a Fist, a set that otherwise plays out like a nouveau-cabaret act, tight and cohesive, infused with good humor and the light pattered songs that Lewie did best -- the menacing title certainly belies the content. Leaping into the fray with the catchy pop of his U.K. Top 20 "(You'll Always Find Me in The) Kitchen at Parties," which features Kirsty MacColl in the backing chorus (and again on "A Bit Higher"), it's only a matter of time before he reaches the sweet, old-time love song "God Bless Whoever Made You," a marriage of '60s innocence with blistered guitar that ultimately emerges a Stiff trademark -- interesting quirk. Elsewhere, he hits streets with "On the Road" and the bluesy piss-fest "I'll Get by in Pittsburgh," which just leaves one of the album's few sour moments, "Feelin' Stupid" -- which ultimately sounds stupid too. Plying his wonderful voice like another instrument in his band, Lewie adds his own uniquely styled verve to an already eccentric generation of vocalists. Although probably unknown in the United States, Lewie is a voice to be sought out, and reckoned with. © Amy Hanson /TiVo
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Punk / New Wave - Released December 1, 2017 | Northern Quarter