Baby Bird began as the alias of Stephen Jones, a prolific British singer/songwriter who initiated his performing career as a member of the Dogs in Honey “anti-theater” troupe. After buying a four-track machine, he began making his first lo-fi home recordings; over the next several years, he wrote some 400 eclectic pop songs, ranging in content from surreal, comic narratives to intensely personal meditations.
At the urging of friends, Jones sent out Baby Bird tapes to record companies, but his music was roundly rejected; however, Chrysalis Music did offer a publishing deal which Jones accepted, applying his earnings towards financing a series of independently-released, limited-edition collections. The first disc of material culled from the vast Baby Bird archives, I Was Born a Man, appeared in 1995; within the course of a year, three other acclaimed albums — Bad Shave, Fatherhood, and The Happiest Man Alive — followed, and won Jones a contract with Echo Records.
Upon making the leap to a major label, Baby Bird mutated from a one-man project into a full band, as Jones assembled a backing group comprised of guitarist Luke Scott, bassist John Pedder, keyboardist Hugh Chadbourne, and drummer Rob Gregory. In its new incarnation, Baby Bird debuted in late 1996 with Ugly Beautiful, a lush, sparkling collection of re-recordings of favorite songs from Jones’ back catalogue, all selected by fans by means of postcard ballots included in the first four albums.
In 1997, Dying Happy was assembled; issued in a limited pressing of 1000 copies, the disc compiled a number of previously unreleased songs that Jones had kicking around. Theres Something Going On followed in 1998, and two years passed until the release of Bugged, Baby Birds ninth full-length.
Label: Echo ECS CD33
Format: CD, Single, CD1
Style: Leftfield, Downtempo, Synth-pop
Cornershop was recorded during the autumn 1996 Ugly Beautiful sessions.
© 1997 The Echo Label Ltd.
The copyright in this sound recording and of this artwork is owned by the Echo Label Ltd.
The Echo Label is part of The Chrysalis Group PLC.
Distributed in the UK by Vital.
Made in the UK.
Tracks durations are not printed on the release.
“A WONDERFUL POP SONG” (MUSIC WEEK)
“CATCHIER THAN A BAG OF APPLES” (GLASGOW GUARDIAN)
“A PRETTY, SUNNY LITTLE TUNE” (NME)
Review from The Bad Pages:
“Cornershop lost the distinctive guitar when it was recorded for Ugly Beautiful but still the Ian Cable production turned the song into something very different, pretty and sinister.
The rather polished but beautiful album version never made it into a single, but instead this new adaptation sounds like something more true to the raw original version off I Was Born A Man.
Cosmetically it wasn’t too bad. They made a steady loss but could eat, go to the cinema once a month, and close on Sunday. This was good, compared to the launderette dry cleaners who opened on Tuesdays only. The town is full of pensioners and yappy dogs. They bandy down to the conservative club for the tombola and slow-dancing. The dogs stop off at the mart, to squat down, too old to wipe up after each other. Six in the morning, the shopkeepers shovel up and bin it. Life’s better than it was. It’s the only local shop left in the shadow of safeways. On their day off they go past the gun shop to cheer themselves up. Air pistols, shotguns, fishing rods. They dream of the country, and of rabbit stew. They standstill together, Holding hands, their minds bulging, pushing their eyes out and rolling them off into the fields, picking out the buckshot, and pulling the skin from the meat. They can smell the stew, and the dogshit almost, very almost nearly becomes cowdung. They come out of the daydream, and run full pelt to the mart. He kicks in the door. Too sleepy a town for alarms, they take all the money out of the till, pack a single suitcase –two pants, two socks, a skirt, two shirts and trousers. Nothing else. They charge onto the street, elbow out a neighbour’s car window, and drive to the ferry-park. She parks up and they wait for the doors to open, combing the beans from his hair with her fingers.