Friday, 8 January 2010

“Rockpile” by DAVE EDMUNDS (2001 Repertoire 'Expanded' CD Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...

"…Dancing And Humming…A Rock'n'Roll Melody…"

This September 2001 Expanded CD gives us all 10 tracks of Dave Edmund's rare debut album "Rockpile" from 1972 and bolsters it up with the A&B sides of 3 singles that preceded its release. Repertoire REP 4966 (Barcode 4009910496626) breaks down as follows (50:54 minutes):

1. Down Down Down [written by Trevor Burton of The Move]
2. I Hear You Knocking [Stereo Album Version] [written by Dave Bartholomew and Pearl King, a Smiley Lewis cover]
3. Hell Of A Pain [written by Dave Edmunds]
4. It Ain't Easy [written by Ron Davies, a Nashville songwriter. It was covered also by Three Dog Night, David Bowie (on "Ziggy") and Long John Baldry. Baldry even named an album after the song in 1971 (UK Warner Brothers K 46088) - his version of the track was produced on that album by Rod Stewart and featured both Ron Wood of the Rolling Stones on Guitar and Maggie Bell of Stone The Crows on Backing Vocals]
5. The Promised Land [written by Chuck Berry]
6. Dance, Dance, Dance [written by Neil Young]
7. (I'm A) Lover Not A Fighter [mistakenly credited to Collier - it was written by Jay D Miller, a Louisiana record producer who first gave the song to Lazy Lester; it was released by Lester in 1958 on Excello Records 2143. The Kinks also covered it on their 1964 debut LP (correctly credited to Miller). Dave Edmunds' cover of the song combines elements of both versions]
8. Egg Or The Hen [written by Willie Dixon, a Koko Taylor cover]
9. Sweet Little Rock & Roller [written by Chuck Berry] (lyrics featured above)
10. Outlaw Blues [written by Bob Dylan]

Tracks 1 to 10 make up the album "Rockpile" issued June 1972 in the UK on Regal Zonophone SLRZ 1026 and on London/Mam Records MAM-3 in the USA

11. I Hear You Knocking [7" Single Mix]
12. Black Bill [An Instrumental written by Dave Edmunds]
Tracks 11 and 12 are the A&B of his first solo single issued October 1970 in the UK on Mam Records MAM 1 [Mono] (reached Number 1 in the charts). Its US issue was on Mam 45-3601.

13. I'm Coming Home [cover of a Traditional Stephen Foster song called "Old Black Joe" reworded and reworked by Jerry Lee Lewis]
14. Country Roll [written by Dave Edmunds]
Tracks 13 and 14 are the A&B of his second solo single issued March 1971 on Regal Zonophone RZ 3032 [Stereo]. Its US issue was on Mam 45-3608.

15. Blue Monday [written by Dave Bartholomew and Fats Domino]
16. I'll Get Along [written by John Williams, the Bass Player]
Tracks 15 and 16 are the A&B of his third solo single issued July 1971 on Regal Zonophone on RZ 3037 [Mono]. Its US issue was on Mam 45-3611.

(NOTE: Tracks 1 and 4, "Down Down Down" b/w "It Ain't Easy", were also issued as a 4th UK 7" single in July 1972 on Regal Zonophone RZ 3059. Tracks 11 to 16 were all non-album at the time of their release)

The musicians on "Rockpile" were:
Lead Guitar, Keyboards & Lead Vocals - DAVE EDMUNDS [Love Sculpture]
Second Guitar & Drums - ANDY FAIRWEATHER-LOW [Amen Corner]
Pedal Steel Guitar - B.J. COLE
Bass & Backing Vocals - JOHN WILLIAMS

The inner flap of the gatefold card digipak pictures 4 rare 7" picture sleeves while the 8-page liner notes feature an affectionate and expertly written history on the album by long-time Decca associate JOHN TRACY. John has done huge numbers of acclaimed liner notes for early Decca and Deram CDs - Thin Lizzy, Savoy Brown, Ten Years After etc.

The great news is the quality of the remaster - the tracks are wonderfully clear and full; there is some minor hiss on the MONO single mixes, but not too bad to make them a chore to listen to.

As you can see from the detailed track breakdown above, the album is top-heavy on cover versions, particularly those songs that have a rhythm 'n' blues or rock 'n' roll feel to them - Edmunds beloved field of expertise. "The Promised Land" was recorded in the summer of 1966 - and I suspect it wasn't re-recorded precisely because this version has that all-important `feel' to it. His version of Dylan's "Outlaw Blues" (from "Bringing It All Back Home") is a fantastic way to end the album.

In the near two decades that I've been mail-ordering rare records, this album on original UK Regal Zonophone vinyl has turned up maybe twice in decent condition - so it's a blast to have it finally reissued - and sounding so good too.

I've always loved Dave Edmunds and his particular slant on Rock 'n' Roll - a modern version of an old sound - filtered by a soul still enamoured with those glorious old 45s. A great little CD set really and heartily recommended…

This review is part of my SOUNDS GOOD Music Book Series. One of those titles is CLASSIC 1970s ROCK - an E-Book with over 245 entries and 2100 e-Pages - purchase on Amazon and search any artist or song (click the link below). Huge amounts of info taken directly from the discs (no cut and paste crap). 

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