Alive and Welsh

I would be remiss if I didn’t follow-up my last blog about Nick Lowe with a little something about his partner in crime in the band Rockpile, Dave Edmunds.

A Welsh rocker who had once hit the charts with a lightning fast rocking version of Sabre Dance while in the band Love Sculpture, Edmunds had only mustered one more hit (I Hear You Knocking) before becoming somewhat passe in the music field. Becoming a talented producer and one-man band while languishing in obscurity, Edmunds eventually latched on to Lowe’s early band Brinsley Schwartz and formed an alliance with Lowe while producing a couple of their records.

After Brisnley broke up, the two became a team with Lowe and Edmunds playing on each other’s records and even sharing a band, Rockpile. The way Rockpile originally worked, whoever had an album coming out at the time led the band. For example, it would be billed as either Nick Lowe’s or Dave Edmund’s Rockpile and whoever was leading sang most of the songs while the other was given a few songs for a showcase. It was quite innovative at the time and became quite popular.

It was only when Rockpile, as a band, was signed to a contract and made it’s only record, Seconds of Pleasure, that things started to go awry for Edmunds. While a great, great record, the public is really used to only one person leading a band and got confused when lead singing duties were switched. Lowe and Edmunds got their egos twisted in the leadership roles and ended up having a falling out that lasts to this day, despite re-teaming for a Lowe record in the early ’90’s.

Of course, Edmunds continued after Rockpile broke up, but his early albums with Lowe (Tracks On Wax 4, Twanging, Repeat When Necessary, Get It) are often looked at as Edmunds’ peak, despite not having any American chart singles. Edmunds went on to do a lot of outside production work (Dion, Everly Bros., Fabulous Thunderbirds among many others) and eventually hit the charts again himself, having the hit Information (from the album of the same name), which was produced by ELO leader Jeff Lynne on one of Lynne’s first forays as producer without ELO.

Edmunds has kept recording, albeit infrequently, right up until he suffered some heart problems in the late ’90’s. Rumors say he is doing fine and just keeping a low profile.

Though his best work may be behind him, I am hoping Edmunds get’s back into the studio and gives us more music. Even his lesser albums like 1985’s Riff Raff and 1994’s Unplugged have a few gems.

While most of Edmund’s albums have been out of print, the US reissue label Wounded Bird Records has recently reissued the albums Edmunds made with Lowe and Rockpile. I would suggest you search them out if you are into retro rock, rockabilly and pub-rock style music. They are all excellent, with Tracks on Wax 4 being my fave.

And definitely give the Rockpile album a try. Eventually, I’ll go through that album track by track in this space, as it has really been a big influnce in my musical life.

Who knows, it may become your favorite record…..

The Music Nerd knows……