Dave Edmunds – “Singing the Blues” b/w “Boys Talk”

Closing in fast on the complete works of Rockpile, here is Edmund’s last “solo” 7″ before the quartet’s nominal debut Lp. The A-side does not concern us much being a straightforward version of the much-covered popular blues (two times number one in the UK, once in the States), but the second-biggest-DE-hit-referencing B is an amusing squib that sounds like a songwriting prank which emerged from a drunken challenge, viz. Billy Bremner: “I bet you couldn’t write a song entirely made up with all the girls’ name from all them 50’s songs by Elvis an’ the Everlys an’ that.” Edmunds: “I fucking well could. Nick, fetch me my writing pad.” Nick Lowe (voice muffled because of the bottle in his mouth): “Mmfskdf ofkd.” Terry Williams: “Guys, guys. I’ll go fetch the writing pad. Let’s cool out, stop bickering and write the song.” And so they did.

The original concept (in my mind) was expanded from 50s/60s girls songs names (Claudette, Long Tall Sally, Donna, Peggy Sue, Jenny, Mary Lou, Rhonda, Ruby, Michelle) to include sixeventies ones (Lucy, Carrie-Ann, Layla, Sweet Jane) and then-contemporary ones (Roxanne, Alison, my Sharona, Mandy). Cute.

“Singing the Blues” was included on the patchwork Lp Twangin…, while the flip is available nowhere else as far as I know.

Published in: on March 26, 2011 at 4:40 pm  Comments (2)  

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  1. i normally regard lyrics very much as a hygiene factor rather than a motivator – i may draw the line at someone singing the phone directory, but generally as long as they don’t irritate or offend me it’s pretty much in one ear and out the other (and as far as i’m concerned those into the likes of dylan should stick to poetry!)

    however, if there is a clever conceit about the lyrics )as there appears to be on the b-side of this 45) then i’m interested in hearing them (maybe asbo could post it on youtube?). 10cc (who were renowned for their intellectual/clever-dick – delete as appropriate – approach to writing) apparently composed a song that crammed as many puns on musical terms as they could find (“i lived in A flat”, etc), that i’ve always been meaning to check out but have never got around to it (a few years back, like adam and the ants and shakin’ stevens their albums suddenly became very commonplace in charity shops – maybe i should have taken the opportunity then ha ha!)

    the other thing of interest to me here is the “drinking” culture of the time alluded to (no doubt in light-hearted jest) by asbo. not only was it accepted practice in western society in general in those days (i remember when my grandmother and her husband received visitors they were compelled to offer booze – perhaps no surprise they both became alcoholics), it was apparently particularly prevelent on the rock scene (the fact that a genre called “pub rock” came into being says it all really ha ha)

    in more recent times, an acquaintance of mine who lives on the welsh-english border told me (to my recollection) he had hired ex-rockpile drummer terry williams to play on one of his recordings, and that the guy turned up “the worse for wear”. perhaps he was in such a state due to self-pity or frustration at his decline – “christ, i used to play in the biggest band in the world (dire straits, in case anyone’s not aware), and now i’m reduced to doing cheap local sessions for complete nobodies”, but i suspect it more likely he got (too) used to a way of life that was normal (even expected) for someone of his generation and in his line of work. whatever the reason, in this day and age not only is it a bit sad, it’s bloody unprofessional too!

  2. My impression is that the members of Rockpile were all fairly hard drinkers, hence the presence of the bottle in my reverie. I know Lowe is clean and sober these days, not sure about the others. Terry Williams, also ex-Welsh proggers Man, is/was a fantastic drummer. Believe or don’t, but his drumming on the Dire Straits live Lp, Alchemy, is a wonder–is he on any of the studio Lps? Yes, it’s disappointing that he’s let himself slide.

    Re: drinking culture of the time, i.e. the 70s; I don’t think that levels of alcohol/drug abuse (apart from maybe cigarettes) are any lesser in general society let alone that toxic mix of arrogance, indulgence and “artistic temperment” we call the music business.

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