Seconds of Pleasure, a Quarter Century of Delight
Tim Brough | Springfield, PA United States | 05/15/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This was a reissue worth waiting for. The one official recording by Rockpile, Nick Lowe, Dave Edmunds, Billy Bremmer and Terry Williams, this 1980 CD has been in my fave albums pile ever since it came out. Had this foursome not been bar and band mates for each other before "Seconds Of Pleasure," this platter would have been trumped as a supergroup. Edmunds and Williams had already been well established as far back as the sixties with hits, Lowe would be in the history books if only that he released Stiff Records' first single. That Lowe's albums ("Pure Pop For Now People," "Labour of Lust") and as well as Edmunds' solos ("Repeat When Necessary," "Trax On Wax 4") not already given them stature among the cognoscenti, their contributions to the sound of the period as individual producers would.After all, between the two of them, they should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for their production library. Edmunds for Stray Cats, kd lang, Fabulous Thunderbirds and (fer crying out loud) Foghat; Lowe for Elvis Costello, Graham Parker, Pretenders, and John Hiatt all but sealing their rep as a pair of men that made a decade sound the way it did. Yet for all that star power, when it came time to record a proper album as a group, Rockpile made it sound like no sweat."Seconds Of Pleasure" took all things great about basic bar band rock and made it sound fresh. It was almost as if they came at you with the credo that anything that they couldn't make sound as simplistic as a Chuck Berry riff or Everly Brothers' harmony wasn't worth the tape it took. To that end, the band cribbed from the best, covering a pair of classics (Berry's "Oh What A Thrill" and Joe Tex's "If Sugar was as Sweet as You"), then surrounding them with originals that were every bit as perfect ("Teacher Teacher" and "When I Write The Book"). They were even so hot a band that Billy Bremmer got the lead vocal on what should have been a classic single, they bouncy "Heart." Albums this effortless sounding are rare jewels. If you're an aficionado of this style of buoyant 80's sound or Brit Pub rock, "Seconds Of Pleasure" is absolutely indispensable. The addition of the original album's bonus EP, "Nick and Dave Sing The Everly Brothers," two unreleased live cuts and "Crawling From The Wreckage" from the "Concerts of Kampuchea" make this an even better buy.To paraphrase one of Edmund's albums. "Git it." Four and a half stars."
Still a great big pile of rock (and then some)
Fran Fried | Fresno, Ca. United States | 09/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Who said all rock'n'roll tragedies have to be fatal? One of the greatest is the dissolution of Rockpile in 1980, just as they were on the cusp of something really, really big. Four musicians who knew what they were doing, two gifted songwriters (Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds) with encyclopedic knowledge and big names of their own, most of them working together for years on Dave and Nick's "solo" albums before the big break came -- and then it all fell apart. At least The Everly Brothers, whom the dynamic duo so lovingly paid homage to, eventually reunited.
What was puzzling to outsiders about the Rockpile breakup was that it was such a contrast to the upbeat, almost joyous music on their only album under the band name. They rumbled out of the gate with that catchy "Teacher Teacher," with Nick singing in that distinctive British wise-owl voice of his (I never knew it was a Gene Chandler tune), straight into Dave and his high-pitched Welsh warble belting out Toe Tex's "If Sugar Was as Sweet as You" as another sing-song soul raveup. And save for a couple of speed bumps, they kept up the pace for a full album, with the high point being the pure, unadulterated, full-on, boyish "Heart," sung in high spirits (and high register) by bassist Billy Bremner. And along the way, there are also the bar-band bounce of "Play That Fast Thing (One More Time)" and "You Ain't Nothin' but Fine," Edmunds driving home the rock'n'roll grind of Difford & Tilbrook's high-rev "Wrong Again (Let's Face It)," a very Berry remake of Chuck Berry's "Oh What a Thrill," and the overreaching heartache of "Now and Always," a tune that wouldn't have been out of place in Buddy Holly's record collection. "Seconds of Pleasure" was one great big lovable pile of rock when I bought it in college and played it over and over, and 25 years later, it still is. The only things that have aged are the musicians and their fans.
And the bonus tracks make it all the better. The live cuts are OK (all said, I wish they could've licensed their version of "Little Sister" with Robert Plant from the Kampuchea album), but the inclusion of the "Nick Lowe & Dave Edmunds Sing The Everly Brothers" EP, a limited-edition four-song 7-incher from the early pressings of the LP, is just plain wonderful. They paid loving tributes to Phil and Don without trying to ape them, and just to have pristine versions of their incredibly sweetly sad versions of "Message to Mary" and "Crying in the Rain" is worth the price of the CD.
Y'know, every time I hear or see Nick Lowe these days, I get this feeling of sadness. These days, he kills us quietly with his stellar writing and his acoustic guitar. But I remember too fondly the days of Rockpile -- of this album and previous clever Nicktunes such as "Cruel to Be Kind," "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding," "They Called It Rock," "American Squirm" and "Rollers Show" -- and just wish for one more bit of that Rockpile magic. And having the enhanced CD brings back the very same feeling."