Check other entries on this blog for biographical details on Edmunds.
Edmunds is a English (or rather Welsh) rock and roll purist obsessed by 1950s and early 1960s rock. Accordingly, his records from the late 1950s to the 1980s were always out of step with the times in which they were released. But unlike purists who are slavish to the originals – so much so that the music becomes a “what’s the point” situation – Edmunds was always willing to mix contemporary things into his music, as long as they fit within his ideal parameters. This is the sign of a smart musician and one that by necessity has to be well versed in music history.
Edmunds was, and is, both these things.
All then you need is soul, heart, or commitment and you will have music well worth listening to.
Edmunds has given us much worthwhile music over the years.
It is generally considered that this is Edmunds sell-out album, his grab for chart success. The sound certainly is 1983 mainstream contemporary but the songs are still undeniably retro though perhaps less so than his work on other albums.
He teamed up with Jeff Lynne (of ELO) on this album. A kindred soul when it comes to love of old school rock n roll but otherwise a musician who clearly displays a Beatles-y post Beatles sound. The problem perhaps, though, is that on this album there is too much Lynne. The album is slick and soulless, much like a lot of ELO. That works on the upbeat contemporary numbers but it doesn’t work as well on the rootsy songs that Edmunds loves to throw in. Lynne also relies heavily on synths and a lame drum sound (which he was prone to do, at least in the 80s) and that sound is just wrong for this music.
Lynne only produces two songs on the album “Slipping Away” and “Information”) but his presence is felt across the album. He also plays bass and synth on the session.
Clearly the label realized the preponderance of synths and issued the album in a vaguely “computer-y sleeve – the office of the front, and computer, keyboard and digital writing on the back.
Having said all that, when you have talents like Edmunds and Lynne even when wrong headed you still end up with something worthwhile …albeit some of the time.
Interestingly, the album did not do that well chart wise. I suspect mainly because Lynne’s sound was wearing thin by 1983 (though he would revive it with more success with The Traveling Wilburys). Edmunds would have been better to have thrown himself in with the roots rockers who sprang out of punk (as he did as a producer). Clearly he knew what was going on underground and on the fringes. His covers here are astute and support that view. Ultimately, even with a different approach he may not have had any chart success but I suspect this album would have dated better.
Tracks (best in italics)
- Slipping Away – Lynne – a song written by Jeff Lynne which is slick and catchy and a little soulless but with an undeniably catchy hook …err, much like a lot of ELOs output.
- Don’t You Double Cross Me – Martin – A cover of the Moon Martin song. Passable but not memorable. Even the slide guitar half way through doesn’t sting
- I Want You Bad – Adams, Crandon – A cover of the great NRBQ song. Not as good as the original but good enough.
- Wait – Justman, Wolf – The J. Geils Band song. I always thought the original a little duff.
- The Watch on My Wrist – Kennerley – written by Paul Kennerly, a Englishman obsessed by US country (he a producer and writer in
and was behind the Civil war concept album “White Mansions”). This song, here, is just synth mush. Totally wrong. Nashville
- Shape I’m In – Blackwell, Cathy- made famous by Johnny Restivo in 1959 this song has been recorded many times. A nice Tex Mex / zydeco intro works on me. That’s not on the original though so I’m not sure if this song hasn’t been done like that before this. I could certainly hear Doug Sahm doing this song in that sound. The song is totally out of step with the rest of the album and one of the best tracks on the album.
- Information – Edmunds, Radice- mainstream pop rock with too much synth. A pity.
- Feel So Right – Kennerley – filler, but passable.
- What Have I Got to Do to Win? – David, Edmunds – filler
- Don’t Call Me Tonight – Edmunds- a straight ahead mid-tempo pop rocker. Derivative but pleasant.
- Have a Heart – David – David is the second bassist on this album. Another pleasant mid tempo rocker.
Not a bad album, but schizophrenic, and an album that should have been a whole lot better. Still, I’m keeping it.
#39 Slipping Away 1983, Hot 100
#60 Slipping Away 1983
I Want you Bad
The Shape I’m In
Feel So Right
Don’t Call Me Tonight
Have a Heart