Saturday, January 04, 2014

Dave Edmunds - Tracks on Wax 4

After seeing the latest (cool) Dave Edmunds video, I had to pull out this album again. Think this was
the first record of his that I owned (though, of course, I knew his previous hits and picked up his older records after this) and, it turns out, this was the first record that featured all of the members of Rockpile (Nick Lowe, Billy Bremner and Terry Williams) even though it was advertised as a solo album. It was also one of the first - if not the first - release on Led Zep's Swan Song Records. I consider this the best Rockpile and I was lucky enough to see the band when this came out.

Edmunds always had a knack for emulating older sounds, from Phil Spector to rockabilly to C&W and here he is more 50's oriented than anything else. The opener, "Trouble Boys" is one of his best ever - a cool rockabilly-sounding (think Eddie Cochran) tale of standing up to the local gang. Great groove, cool chorus and a terrific, sparse guitar solo. Nick Lowe contributed the country-pop of "Never Been in Love" - I remember playing this one on my guitar at home and my dad telling me that if I slowed it down it would be a good song! "Not a Woman, Not a Child", from the pen of Bremner, and Lowe's "Television" are cool rockabilly numbers, with the latter having a memorable call-and-answer chorus with the catch phrase "as long as it's on the glass". There's a C&W ballad in "What Looks Best on You" ('is me") with nice pedal steel work - someone described as Gram Parsons-esque - before they come blasting back with the lascivious "Reader's Wives", an upbeat number describing amateur nudie pix people would send into a British tabloid.

Side two of the vinyl opened with another of my faves, the Edmunds/Lowe collaboration of "Deborah", with its rollicking, Buddy Holly-styled rhythms and another fun, infectious chorus. They tackle the R&B of Dean and Jean's "Thread Your Needle" and then another country-pop tune, "A-1 On the Jukebox" before tearing it up with Chuck Berry's "It's My Own Business". Lowe's blistering "Heart of the City" was originally recorded by him as a single, before a live recording by Rockpile was released on his Jesus of Cool album. Edmunds took the same backing track, overdubbed his own lead vocal and used it as the fantastic closer here.

I love Edmunds 60's and 70's output and this is absolutely one of his top releases. Excellent C&W and rockabilly influenced rock'n'roll!