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Vinyl Tap: Dave Edmunds – Repeat When Necessary

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I get a new turntable and dust off some old records. Vinyl Tap #59:

A truer title was never spoken, or at least a more anticipatory one has never been dreamed up. Put Dave Edmund’s 1979 LP Repeat When Necessary on the turntable, and you’ll find that 34 minutes and 11 tracks will require vast expansion and considerable recaps, do-overs, and reiterations vital for the satiation of your rapaciously raucous and catchy-as-hell pop-rock needs.

Of course, before you get to the rockabilly, bluesy, twang-tinged, and Spectorian delights within — with Edmunds on guitars and piano and backed up by the other members of Rockpile (Nick Lowe, Terry Williams, and Billy Bremner) — you'll have to get past the first two tracks, which is no mean feat. I’ve worn out the grooves of Elvis Costello’s sprightly “Girls Talk" — Edmunds managed to rummage out hooks that I don’t think even Costello knew he wrote — and Graham Parker’s rollicking and uproarious “Crawling From the Wreckage,” which has a nightmarish cinematic quality – put to a tune that'll never escape unscathed from your head: “Crawling from the wreckage, crawling from the wreckage / Bits of me are scattered in the trees and in the hedges…”

Following up with the B-movie theme is the mid-tempo rocker “The Creature from the Black Lagoon,” with this ominous drive-in theater evocation:

    All he wanted was a lady
    When at night he came up from the deep
    He was feeling like any other lonely fella
    Decided to take one while the city was asleep

    The unsuspecting maiden
    Was clutched from where she lay
    And taken away to a home down under
    The waters of the local bay…

The slight country-style of “Queen of Hearts,” which later became a big hit for Juice Newton, also touches the edgier and faster-paced “Sweet Little Lisa,” which features a stinging and runaway lead guitar from Albert Lee, and offers some of Edmunds' best fifties-styled reverbed vocals, as he gets to punctuate with some potent lyrics:

    I was hauling out of Dallas, got pulled over by a debutante.
    She was playing with her gearshift, I was being kinda nonchalant.
    Said she'd take me up to her room,
    Keep me following with the Lorna Doones.
    I got a sweet sugar mama gonna give me everything I want…

I don't know. Whether it's the trail of Lorna Doones or the amorous temptations at play, what he may also want from his sweet sugar mama is the opportunity to repeat when necessary…

About Gordon Hauptfleisch

  • brad laidman

    Girls Talk rules – as does wreckage – actually – the whole album rules

    I saw both Graham and Dave do wreckage together in San Francisco

    Dion was there too

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/gordon_hauptfleisch Gordon Hauptfleisch

    Thanks for the comment, Brad. I still have a problem getting past those two tracks.

  • http://www.marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    boyo, there was definitely something in the water with this group of people. truly great, catchy, and freaking relentless power pop.

    nice one gordon.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/gordon_hauptfleisch Gordon Hauptfleisch

    Thank Mark – too bad Rockpile could’nt keep it together for another album, though.