Sunday, April 6, 2008

Dave Edmunds -- "I Hear You Knocking" (1970)

Dave Edmunds has had many rock and roll lives, and if there's any justice, one day he'll be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The Welsh guitarist is one of the few famous rock and roll purists still around. For Edmunds, it seemed like music never progressed past 1967 or so, and the only thing that ever happened was rock and roll and rockabilly... basic, raw, no tricks, all based on Chuck Berry riffs and licks.

Way before Edmunds was a member of Rockpile, put out several classic rock albums in the New Wave era, hung out with all the pub rockers like Brinsley Schwarz, or produced early 80's rockabilly revivalists The Stray Cats, he put out this lo-fi, one-man band version of an old rock tune first recorded by Smiley Lewis.

A bare bones production, Edmunds probably was not much of a drummer, so he used only a hi hat to keep the steady 4/4 beat. I don't even think he bothered with a kick drum. Surrounded by an old plate reverb. He used the old "telephone effect" for his vocals, EQ filtering off both the high and low ends to create a tinny up close tone. Edmunds laid down a flawless classic blues rock progression, palming down the guitar strings for that back and forth motion.

You can't really say Edmunds' version "cranks" -- it's a real throwback to late 50's cheap rock productions where it was all arranged Berry licks and yelping and howling.

If you're like me, digging the little things that people sometimes put on their records, this one featured Edmunds calling out the names of famous 50's rock artists during the solo:

Fats Domino!
Smiley Lewis!
Chuck Berry!
Huey Smith!
(and one other name I still can't hear clearly)

The other cool little thing: when that solo is over and Edmunds finishes shouting out those names, he plays his one and only piano chord of the entire song to act as a bridge back to the third verse -- an augmented one, it seems to me.

Below are a few videos, including where you see poor Dave standing by himself lip-synching with that amazing looking Gibson in his hands, then another with Rockpile, and finally with a foll blown band including two drummer and a horn section. Long live rock and roll!
I Hear You Knocking - Dave Edmunds (Dec. 1970)

Here another early TV spot. Check out the boots. What show was this where people just hung out or danced?

With Rockpile (yes, that's Nick Lowe on bass)

Edmunds with the full treatment... and an awesome Telecaster!

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