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Seconds of Pleasure [Expanded]
     

Seconds of Pleasure [Expanded]

by Rockpile
 

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At the time of its release in October of 1980, Rockpile's Seconds of Pleasure was viewed in some quarters as a little disappointing, which shows that there are considerable pitfalls that come with high expectations. There was a reason why the album was highly anticipated. During the late '70s, Rockpile was considered one of the great rock &

Overview

At the time of its release in October of 1980, Rockpile's Seconds of Pleasure was viewed in some quarters as a little disappointing, which shows that there are considerable pitfalls that come with high expectations. There was a reason why the album was highly anticipated. During the late '70s, Rockpile was considered one of the great rock & roll bands, earning a reputation for blowing away every headlining act they played with, and they were just as good on record, acting as the backing band for solo albums by the group's co-leaders, Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds. Although they were a strong presence on the road and on the charts, they had yet to release a recording underneath the Rockpile name, so when Seconds of Pleasure finally appeared, fans and critics alike expected a rip-roaring, rampaging rock & roll record, since that's what their live performances were. What they got was a bit different -- it was still a rock & roll record, but it wasn't down and dirty; it was bright, propulsive, and poppy, filled with big melodic hooks and polished until it glistened. Not what was expected of Rockpile in 1980, perhaps, but time has been nothing but kind to this record and, judged on its own merits, it's one of hell of a good time. At its core, Seconds of Pleasure is an invigorating blend of the strengths of Lowe and Edmunds, who may have had a shared love of pre-Beatles rock & roll -- particularly Chuck Berry and the Everly Brothers -- but had very different aesthetics. Edmunds was serious and dedicated to detail, to the point of single-handedly re-creating the sound of Phil Spector and Sun Studios on his early solo albums. On the other hand, there was a reason why Lowe was given the nickname "Basher" -- he loved to get in the studio and bash out the music, preserving the energy, passion, and humor of a band at its peak. Eventually, this caused great conflict between the two -- the band's split was anything but friendly, and a reunion for Lowe's 1990 album, Party of One, was tentative and testy -- but on albums like Nick's Labour of Lust and Dave's Repeat When Necessary (both 1979), it resulted in tremendous music. But both of those records were true solo albums, capturing the personality of each musician. Seconds of Pleasure is a true band affair, a 12-track album split evenly between the two -- five each for Lowe and Edmunds, with guitarist Billy Bremner taking two lead vocals on "Heart" and "You Ain't Nothin' But Fine" -- and while the alternating sequence of one Nick tune, one Dave song suggests that there might have been some tension between the two in the studio, both benefit from the collaboration. At times, Edmunds' precision and devotion to the past can be a little too dogmatic and rigid, and Lowe lightens him up, while Dave brings focus and a bit of polish to Nick's charmingly ragged pop and rock. As a result, Seconds of Pleasure is both focused and loose, rocking hard but with a savvy pop sensibility. Fittingly, the songs play to Rockpile's strengths as both a pop and rock band, while offering a fitting tribute to their flair for excellent covers. Lowe unearths Gene Chandler's infectious "Teacher Teacher," while Edmunds finds Kip Anderson's "A Knife and a Fork," perhaps the only rock & roll song about overeating, revives the little-known Chuck Berry tune "Oh What a Thrill," and does a barnstorming version of Joe Tex's "If Sugar Was as Sweet as You" -- and with "Wrong Again (Let's Face It)" by Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford of Squeeze, he proves once again that he's a tremendous interpretive singer of new wave pop songs. But when it comes to pop songs, Nick Lowe rules this album with six of his finest tunes. He digs out Brinsley Schwarz's old anthem "Play That Fast Thing (One More Time)" and "Fool Too Long," which he tried to give to Dr. Feelgood (here, it's sung by Dave), and both sound rowdy and right in Rockpile's hands; he gives the delightful, infectious "Heart" to Bremner, choosing to sleaze it up with the steady-grooving "Pet and Hold You." With "Now and Always" he camouflages a knowing, mordantly funny suicide note with a sighing hook worthy of Buddy Holly, and on "When I Write the Book," with its tongue-in-cheek defeated autobiography, he has a showcase for the best of his wit and songcraft. The great thing about Seconds of Pleasure is how these wonderful Nick moments dovetail with Dave's piledriving rockers, complementing each other and creating a unique rock & roll album that's inspired and informed by the past, but lives for the moment and crackles with energy. Years later, it sounds fresh, exciting, and vibrant. Rockpile didn't leave a large recorded legacy, but nearly everything they did was great, which is easier to see now, after all the initial negative reviews and dashed expectations have faded, leaving behind just the music -- and, frankly, rock & roll doesn't get better than this. [Upon its original CD reissue, Seconds of Pleasure included the four-track EP Nick Lowe & Dave Edmunds Sing the Everly Brothers, which was given away as a 45 with early pressings of the album. It's a wonderful and intimate live-in-the-studio concert, with Nick and Dave coming close to matching the Everlys' harmonies on versions of "Take a Message to Mary," "Crying in the Rain," "Poor Jenny," and "When Will I Be Loved." These four songs were also included on Columbia/Legacy's expanded, remastered 2004 reissue, which also featured three other bonus tracks: "Back to Schooldays" and "They Called It Rock," taken from a 1977 BBC session, and "Crawling from the Wreckage," taken from the 1981 LP The Concerts for the People of Kampuchea. While these are good, solid versions, they seem haphazardly selected; it would have been far better to go the whole hog and make this a double-disc expanded edition with a full-length concert on the second disc, since that would have offered definitive proof of how good the band was in concert. Still, what's here is very good, and the remastering alone makes this reissue worthwhile for any fan of the album.]

Editorial Reviews

Entertainment Weekly - Rob Brunner
This underappreciated 1980 album ranks with Lowe and Edmunds' other great work of the time. (A-)

Product Details

Release Date:
04/27/2004
Label:
Sony
UPC:
0074646398326
catalogNumber:
63983

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Rockpile   Primary Artist
Dave Edmunds   Organ,Guitar,Piano,Vocals
Billy Bremner   Guitar,Vocals
Nick Lowe   Bass,Vocals
Terry Williams   Drums

Technical Credits

Chuck Berry   Composer
Bruce Dickinson   Reissue Producer
Dave Edmunds   Composer,Producer
Carole King   Composer
Graham Parker   Composer
Rockpile   Composer,Producer
Joe Tex   Composer
Phil Everly   Composer
Kip Anderson   Composer
Aldo Bocca   Engineer
Billy Bremner   Composer
Felice Bryant   Composer
Boudleaux Bryant   Composer
Chris Difford   Composer
Howard Greenfield   Composer
Jeff Griffin   Producer
Nick Lowe   Composer,Producer
Eddie Phillips   Composer
Kenny Pickett   Composer
Andy Schwartz   Liner Notes
Floyd Soileau   Composer
Glenn Tilbrook   Composer
Jim Vallance   Composer
Terry Williams   Composer
DAG   Cover Painting
Sidney Semien   Composer
Chris Thomas   Producer
Howard Fritzson   Art Direction
Abe Vélez   Packaging Manager

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