I have said this about Dave on another comment: “What may be surprising is that he is English. Normally, I think it pointless to listen to English variations on these most American of the rock ‘n’ roll variations. And that is still the case. However saying that there are a handful of English artists: Edmunds, Ian Matthews, Alvin Lee, Nick Lowe, Chris Spedding and a few others that does not apply to. These guys do not pretend for a second that the music is anything other than American roots music but they all play well and are inspired.
Edmunds has also put out a solid body of solo work (from what I have heard thus far), and has also produced or collaborated with some my other favourite acts: The Flamin Groovies, Nick Lowe, Paul McCartney, Carl Perkins, The Everly Brothers, Dion, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, as well as Brinsley Schwartz, The Stray Cats, Jeff Lynne, Status Quo and others.
What appeals to me most, and this is entirely a matter of preference, is that Dave Edmunds has incredibly good taste”.
That all applies here and more so. Dave can write a tune but doesn’t feel obliged to. On this album he writes nothing at all. Why should he? Most of his musical heroes didn’t write their own tunes either. He, though, like his heroes can make songs both definitive and distinctive. This is one of the most highly regarded Edmunds albums and Edmunds lack of self penned tunes has nothing to detract from the albums raison d’être which is good time rock n roll. The good times, though, are tempered by some sharp observations, Clearly, Edmunds, when choosing songs, was attracted to those with bounce and something to say about relationships, in the best traditions of Chuck Berry or Del Shannon.
It is those traditions that produce some of the most subversive pop songs. You know, the type of songs where the lyric doesn’t draw attention to itself and it’s only after you have been humming along to the tune that you realise the words and narrative are quite pointed.
Produced by Edmunds and using his “Rockpile” band (Nick Lowe on bass, Terry Williams on drums and Billy Bremner on guitars with Edmunds) the sound is crisp, clear and at the time quite compatible with new wave rock. Indeed, it was (along with others: Stray Cats, Robert Gordon, Nick Lowe etc) a indicator to all of the debt owed by the new wave to 50s sounds.
Tracks (best in italics)
- Girls Talk – (Elvis Costello) – a magnificent Elvis Costello song (produced by Nick Lowe) released by him in 1979 also. Edmunds nails it …and it’s hard not to be hooked on the tune as done by Edmunds.
- Crawling from the Wreckage – (Graham Parker) – Parker was another pub rocker (with a lot of attitude) who fit into the new wave with his straight ahead rock n roll …. Edmunds does him justice.
- The Creature from the Black Lagoon – (Billy Murray) – written by Rockpile guitarist Billy Bremner using a pseudonym. A witty tune
- Sweet Little Lisa – (Donivan Cowart / Martin Cowart / Walter Martin Cowart / Hank DeVito)- co-written by DeVito (a member of Emmylou Harris’ band) and other country session musos the song was first done by Edmunds. The guitar is by Albert Lee who later covered the song himself (1982). It’s a straight ahead country rock song and quite infectious.
- Dynamite – (Mort Garson / Tom Glazer) – originally recorded by Cliff Richard. Edmunds rocks it up a little more.
- Queen of Hearts -(Gregg Allman / Hank DeVito) – Done first by Edmunds, then covered by Rodney Crowell in1980 it went on to become a #2 hit for Juice Newton (1981). She uses the same arrangement as the one here. A great country rock pop song …
- Home in My Hand – (Ronnie Self)- written by American rockabilly wildman Ronnie Self and recorded previously by Nick Lowe’s band Brinsley Schwarz. Hard edged and thumping.
- Goodbye Mister Good Guy – (Billy Murray)- a nice retro rockabilly tune.
- Take Me for a Little While – (Trade Martin) – written by American producer and writer Trade Martin and recorded by Dusty Springfield, Cher, Jackie Ross, Evie Sands (the original) and many others. A strange choice being a 60s soul type number but given enough echo to make it sound vaguely 50s.
- We Were Both Wrong – (Billy Bremner / Billy Murray) – I though
was Bremner …there is an in-joke here somewhere. Murray
- Bad Is Bad – (Huey Lewis) – yes that “Huey Lewis” …and he plays harmonica here also. He released it on his 1983 album “Sports”. This is straight ahead pub rock n roll. Pretty good despite the fact there is probably 1000 bad bar bands throughout the world butchering it.
An excellent album …. totally unpretentious and perfect for parties !
I’m keeping it.
1979 Girls Talk The Billboard Hot 100 #65
1979 Girls Talk #4
1979 Queen of Hearts #11
1979 Crawling from the Wreckage #59
1979 Girls Talk" #9
1979 Queen of Hearts #59
Crawling from the Wreckage
The Creature from the Black Lagoon
Sweet Little Lisa
Queen of Hearts
Home in My Hand
Goodbye Mister Good Guy
Take Me for a Little While
Bad Is Bad
- Edmunds has produced Motorhead, Flamin Groovies, Nick Lowe, The Stray Cats, Dr Feelgood, King Kurt, Fabulous Thunderbirds, Status Quo, Everly Brothers, k.d. Lang, Foghat, Shakin Stevens, Brinsley Schwarz, Sting, Squeeze, Duck Deluxe, Joe Walsh, Mason Ruffner, Brewer’s Droop, Dion, UFO, The Polecats, Rockpile, Man, Arthur Brown’s Kingdom Come, Love Sculpture and others.