Archive for the ‘Dave Edmunds’ Category

Ducks Deluxe

Friday, November 18th, 2011

Listen: Love’s Melody / Ducks Deluxe

is it just me, or are the bands like Ducks Deluxe always overlooked when time lining the evolution of UK punk? Although initially lumped in and credited, seems all the mainstream publications have now written them out, as well, Eddie & The Hot Rods and Dr. Feelgood. And never a mention of Canvey Island, while I’m having a moan.

‘Love’s Melody’ was from small handful of import singles that had some kids reeling with excitement at college radio and in the specialist record shops back during ’74 and 75. Other musically similar titles by Dave Edmunds, Brinsley Schwarz and Chris Spedding were no brainer companions to the newer singles by Scaffold, The Kinks, Sharks and Sparks. It was a good time to be alive.

Maybe proof of Ducks Deluxe as an important band lies in where it’s various members ended up: The Motors, The Tyla Gang plus Graham Parker & The Rumour.

The Kinks

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Listen: Sitting In The Midday Sun / The Kinks
Sitting In The Midday Sun / The Kinks

June 26, 1973. The first day these two feet ever touched British soil or more accurately, the carpeting at Heathrow. Just dug through my sock drawer to verify. It’s where all the old passports are kept.

Three days later, ‘Sitting In The Midday Sun’ was officially released in the UK, according to the label copy on the demo pictured above. And that’s probably very accurate, given it was one of the first records heard when I finally, like finally, finally, finally got to hear BBC Radio 1. Believe it, in those days, the great radio of the UK was not a click away.

Now there are many priceless summertime songs, and one could opinion differently, but ‘Sitting In The Midday Sun’ is amongst the very best. Always overlooked, often for The Kinks’ own ‘Sunny Afternoon’, but don’t be fooled. This is the one. The tingle of hearing The Kinks new single on the radio that day in June ’73 was a grand privilege. Despite ‘Lola’ being a massive US hit just three years earlier, by ’73 The Kinks were relegated to finished, has beens, completely washed up by American programmers. But in homeland England, they were still being played on the radio, a kind of musical precursor to open source.

I know exactly the spot where this monumental moment occurred. It was about two hundred yards into Regents Park, sitting up against the first tree to the very left of the park entrance directly opposite the Great Portland Street tube station. This became my good luck spot for making a fake pillow (music was not allowed in the Queen’s Park, as a bobby once gently scolded) out of cousin Dinah’s large transistor radio and spending hours listening almost daily.

Dinah still has that wireless in her kitchen, and lives in the same flat a few blocks away on Cleveland Street, W1. I visit her and the radio every time I’m there.

That spot and that radio introduced Roy Wood ‘Dear Elaine’, Junior Campbell ‘Sweet Illusion’, Linda Lewis ‘Rock A Doodle Doo’, Dave Edmunds ‘Born To Be With You’, Kevin Ayers ‘Caribbean Moonshine’ and The Honeybus ‘For You’, amongst many, to this insatiable teenager.

All great singles but nothing near the direct hit ‘Sitting In The Midday Sun’ delivered. I was still in a swirl from up and moving to England without a plan in the world, and only $200 in my pocket. The beautiful insanity of youth, you have to love it. It was as though Ray Davies was speaking right at me, every last word. A little frightening in one way, given almost all of them applied. Thankfully the song’s calming conclusion helped keep the two pints I’d chugged en route at the Tower Tarvern on Clipstone Street down.

A little over two weeks later, The Kinks played a one day, outdoor festival at the White City Stadium in London. I didn’t want to go, it was expensive and other than Lindisfarne, the few UK bands playing were regulars at The Marquee. Besides, I recall a load of US groups as well, like Edgar Winter, by then quite polished and nothing like the soul review of Edgar Winter’s White Trash from a few years prior. I came to England to escape American bands. But how could I miss The Kinks, especially as I was now possessed by ‘Sitting In The Midday Sun’.

It was a cold day for July. Never will I forget exiting the tube at White City and thinking, “I don’t want to do this”. Literally did an about face and decided to go back, then stopped. What an idiot, coming all this way and already having bought the ticket. Still, something felt not right.

Turned out this was the day Ray Davies quit on stage, just like that. Said he was “Fucking sick of it all’ straight after playing ‘Waterloo Sunset’, and left to the horror of the crowd. Everyone literally looked at each other in fear, was this really happening? Days later, all the music press covers announced the bad news to the world. ‘Ray Davies Quits Kinks’, as the MELODY MAKER headline read. I still have my copy.

Radio 1 stopped playing ‘Sitting In The Midday Sun’.

Listen: Sweet Lady Genevieve / The Kinks
Sweet Lady Genevieve / The Kinks

It was not a good week. Family also announced their breakup. Two of my all time favorites, gone. Still, with glam in full swing, the mind did wander and life did go on.

Miracles can happen. What seemed like an eternity in reality lasted about three weeks. Ray Davies was now out of the hospital, where he’d gone directly following his stage exit that day for a stomach pumping. False alarm, The Kinks were in tact, with a new single in the wings even.

Was it the joy of having The Kinks back that made ‘Sweet Lady Genevieve’ sound even better? I don’t think so. We were all crazy about this record. Well, Corinne and I that is.

By Fall, both of those UK A sides were coupled as a US 7″ on RCA, and an American tour announced. We ventured to New York for the triumphant return of The Kinks at The Felt Forum, and somehow figured out the band’s hotel, The Warwick on 54th Street. So we booked a room there as well.

Never a shy one, she calls the front desk and asks to be connected with Ray Davies, and sure enough, he picks up the phone. Without hesitation, Corinne explained we had traveled hundreds of miles from upstate New York to see the show, and would he be so kind as to play ‘Sweet Lady Genevieve’. My jaw was on the floor.

Did you just talk to Ray Davies? “Yep.”

The Kinks didn’t play ‘Sweet Lady Genevieve’ that night, but between songs, during either one of his Rudy Vallee style renditions or some old dancehall classic, Ray Davies did a quick a cappella verse/chorus from ‘Sweet Lady Genevieve’, and we know to this day, it was just for us.

Dave Edmunds

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

DaveEdmundsGirls, Dave Edmnds, Rockpile, Swan Song

Listen: Girls Talk / Dave Edmunds DaveEdmundsGirlsTalk.mp3

And there are some things you can’t cover up with fancy production and expensive marketing campaigns. Like a bad song. Not the case here.

I was a Love Sculpture fan, followed Dave Edmunds Rockpile, and was as surprised as the next guy when ‘I Hear You Knocking’ became a US hit. I liked a bunch of those ’73 – ’74 singles too, when he dropped the Rockpile tag, ‘Born To Be With You’ a particular gem.

Then that whole Dave Edmunds / Nick Lowe partnership, also called Rockpile (sometimes) often resulted in soundalike singles and albums released way too frequently, and my interest drifted more often than not. But when these guys recorded a scorcher, regardless of who’s name it was issued under, there was no competing. ‘Girls Talk’ case in point.


Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

rockpileteacherusa, The Creation, Rockpile, Dave Edmunds, Dave Edmunds' Rockpile, Columbia, Nick Lowe
rockpileteacherukps, The Creation, Rockpile, Dave Edmunds, Dave Edmunds' Rockpile, Columbia, Nick Lowe" title="rockpileteacherusa, The Creation, Rockpile, Dave Edmunds, Dave Edmunds' Rockpile, Columbia, Nick Lowe

Listen: Teacher Teacher / Rockpile RockpileTeacher.mp3

A hybrid version of Dave Edmunds’ Rockpile from 1970. Actually, Dave Edmunds had just broken up Love Sculpture and John Williams, that band’s bassist, came along to play on his solo album, which was preceded by, and also included, the single ‘I Hear You Knocking’. That single in the UK credits the artist as Dave Edmunds’ Rockpile, yet in the US, as with the UK and US album, it’s simply credited to Dave Edmunds. Add to that, Terry Williams (no relation to John) plays drums on the aforementioned recordings.

Ten years later, Terry is still playing with Dave and now, Nick Lowe is as well; and their band is called Rockpile. Confused? Then re-read the above.

Well this was probably their biggest hit, and despite the proven pop songwriting talents of both Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds, ‘Teacher Teacher’ was actually written by Eddie Phillips and Kenny Pickett, flawless higher forms of life behind The Creation, as both members and songwriters. Glad to know they earned some money in the end. They sure could write a tune.

Ray Charles & His Orchestra

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

raycharlesmovinusa, ray charles, atlantic

Listen: I’m Movin’ On / Ray Charles & His Orchestra RayCharlesMovin.mp3

raycharlesbelieveusa1, ray charles, atlantic,

Listen: I Believe To My Soul / Ray Charles & His Orchestra RayCharlesBelieve.mp3

1959, the year this double sider mid-charted, also marked the end of his time with Atlantic. A few raw R&B singles spilled into his later ABC Records output, like ‘Busted’, but as it turned out, this was the end of a real deal era, not unlike Elvis pre-draft or The Rolling Stones with Brian Jones. Unfortunately there are many examples.

Love Sculpture covered ‘I Believe To My Soul’ on BLUES HELPING. It’s where I first heard it. I played the record a few years back, this after a long, long patch of collecting all the originals, and God did it sound white. Ouch. Still the recording is nicely time period, meaning plenty of crystal clear separation with lots of space exposing all the good and bad. Despite the sugary rockabilly of Dave Edmunds’ later stuff, he was obviously a pretty flash guitarist at the start. Ray Charles’ version is everything I could have wished for – brings me right to some fantasy juke joint backwoods honky tonk, whatever those places were described as. I like to think this is what it sounded like.

In similar fashion, The Rolling Stones OUT OF OUR HEADS included Hank Snow’s ‘I’m Movin’ On’. I was nuts about the track and convinced some friends to come see him at The State Fair. He was playing straight C&W by then though (’69), and did not rock out in the slightest. I bet it was probably way better than I could appreciate at the time.

The Silkie

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away / The Silkie

Listen: You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away / The Silkie
You've Got To Hide Your Love Away / The Silkie

A 1-2-3 blueprint for success in the burgeoning UK folk rock scene of 1965: be managed by Brian Epstein, cover Beatles song in folk style, have obligatory female harmonizer in lineup. Boom, you’re off to the charts. And that’s exactly what happened with The Silkie. But, after said single, ‘You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away’ made the UK Top 30 and US Top 10, no one, including Brian, was interested. Despite being afforded an album on Fontana, with good songs and production, and a beautiful sleeve – the world moved on.

Born To Be With You / The Silkie

Listen: Born To Be With You / The Silkie
Born To Be With You / The Silkie

But the world made a mistake, as the fourth and final single released in 1966 was a gentle but terrific remake of ‘Born To Be With You’, a hit for The Chordettes some ten years prior. It went unnoticed by just about everyone, except me that is. I couldn’t believe no one cared. Admittedly the folk scene was a bit passe two years down the line, but the song alone deserved more attention. Proof came in ’73 when Dave Edmunds literally recreated a wall of sound production and applied it to what became a hit remake.

Love Sculpture

Friday, December 5th, 2008

The Stumble / Love Sculpture

Listen: The Stumble / Love Sculpture LoveSculptureTheStumble.mp3

An air guitar classic waiting to be. Obviously, Dave Edmunds was a very flash player from the start. Like just about everyone else at the time, he began his professional career in a, you guessed it, blues rock combo. I had a real spot for Love Sculpture, remember seeing them scheduled to play The Fillmore East and wanted badly to go. Couldn’t, thus not sure if they ever made it over.

Listening back to that first album, BLUES HELPING, from which this single comes, the vocals are very white and don’t really fly. Now I see why purists hated these bands. But the album holds a marker sentimentally, and clearly their playing was pretty spot on, as is obvious from this instrumental cover of Freddie King’s ‘The Stumble’.

Love Sculpture’s next album, FORMS & FEELINGS, included their big UK hit, ‘Sabre Dance’, coincidentally also an instrumental, showing off more of Dave Edmunds’ virtuosity. Dave eventually found his footing in rockabilly and jangly pop, where he recorded some classics, all lined up for a later post.