Album: Seconds of Pleasure
. . .
It’s hard to convey the kind of anticipation there was in certain rock ‘n’ roll circles for Rockpile’s 1980 debut, Seconds of Pleasure. After all, Nick Lowe, Dave Edmunds, Billy Bremner and Terry William had been playing together in various configurations going back to Edmunds 1976 Get It album (which was just missing Bremner), and in 1979 recorded two all-time classics back-to-back: Nick Lowe’s Labour of Lust and Dave Edmunds’ Repeat When Necessary.
All of this is to say that when it finally came out in 1980, I was sad to report that I found Seconds of Pleasure — the title of which I recall Dave joking was about Nick’s love life — to be underwhelming. I don’t know if it was the performances, or the choice of covers or Nick hitting a songwriting dry patch, or all three, but I just couldn’t get into it. Sorry, Tim. Sorry, Doc.
I should have probably gone back and revisited it, but I didn’t. In any event, there were still songs I liked: the bouncy (if squeamish-making) “Teacher Teacher,” the classic Lowe popsong “When I Write The Book” or Edmunds piledriving through Difford & Tilbrook’s “Wrong Again (Let’s Face It)” there were minutes of pleasure to be had.
And the most pleasurable of all was sung by lead guitarist Billy Bremner, whose wide-eyed vocals were perfect for Nick Lowe’s “Heart,” cast as a Motown rave-up — Edmunds opening it up on piano — with the rhythm section of Lowe and Terry Williams in such perfect locksync Williams tosses in some killer drum rolls without losing an iota of momentum.
Heart, why are you pounding
Like a hammer?
Heart, why are you beating like a drum?
Heart, why do you make
Such a commotion
When I’m waiting for my baby to come?
Featuring a bouncy, jumpy rockbilly solo from Edmunds and several modulations to boot, “Heart,” was the the kind of killer popsong that’s always been utterly impossible for me not to love. And, at the time, I figured that Rockpile would have plenty more chances to record more classic music. But alas, it was not to be: while they also appeared on Carlene Carter’s 1980 album Musical Shapes — never forget that Nick Lowe would have Christmas with Johnny Cash throughout the 1980s — and Dave Edmunds’ contractual obligation album Twangin’, Rockpile broke up in 1981, one of the great squandered chances.
Well that’s not entirely true: most of the amazing music they made is out there to be enjoyed, just not under their own name. And clearly that’s enough.
“Heart” lipsynched in 1980
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