"Switchboard Susan won't you give me a line..."
Rockpile were such a breath of fresh air when they appeared in 1980, it is hard to describe. The initial blast of punk had been co-opted into the more commercially appealing New Wave, and dinosaur stadium bands still ruled the world. Nick Lowe, Dave Edmunds, Billy Bremner, and Terry Williams - collectively known as Rockpile, made rock 'n' roll fun again.
Although there would only be one "official" Rockpile album, titled Seconds Of Pleasure and released in 1980, there were actually four recorded by the group. The remaining three were released as solo Dave Edmunds (Trax On Wax 4 and Repeat When Necessary), and Nick Lowe (Labour Of Lust) efforts. This confusing situation was necessitated by the individual's conflicting record label commitments, which made tracking down the elusive "Rockpile" beast somewhat tricky.
When the call came from the Montreux Jazz Festival (unlikely as it may seem), the band had plenty of material to pick from. Thanks to the folks at Eagle Rock Entertainment, that show is now available as a new 16-track CD titled, Rockpile: Live At Montreux 1980.
The choice of Rockpile to play this prestigious jazz festival was a little daring, but the guys clearly relished the opportunity to play together. From the opening notes of "Sweet Little Lisa," it's on. The band's signature sound was a mix of rockabilly, power pop, and good old rock 'n' roll, which they combine to perfection on this track. "Sweet Little Lisa" is one of four cuts from the 1979 Edmunds-credited Repeat When Necessary. The other three are stellar as well, including "Girls Talk" (written by Elvis Costello), the barn-burning "Crawling From The Wreckage" (written by Graham Parker), and "Queen Of Hearts" (which would prove to be a huge hit for Juice Newton later on).