4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 7 March 2014
I saw this band twice while they existed. They appeared twice on the German TV show and this is sort of those episodes. I say sort of, because the band played four songs and decided they hadn't played three of them well enough. I assume the broadcast programme only used the re-played versions of those songs (which weren't done THAT badly anyway). However, it is interesting to see what Streetwalker's consider substandard, and the rest some good seventies rock music.
4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 17 January 2014
Finding anything related to Rockpile anymore is a challange, but to have a set from the fabled Rockpalast series come out is a special occasion! So now that the praises are out of the way, let's talk about the recording. Is it a great recording? No. It's fair at best. The song selection is first rate bouncing between Nick and Dave's solo work and a couple of songs by Billy from the Rockpile album, so song quality is good, it just doesn't sound that great, a bit rough and flat. But if you are a) a Rockpile fan; b) a Dave Edmunds fan; c) a Nick Lowe fan you are going to want this CD/DVD combo!
7 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Rockpile were a band put together by two men who were both middle division but extremely talented solo stars. I was a big fan of Dave Edmunds at the time who by the recording of this concert had maybe half a dozen albums under his belt together with a handful of hit singles.
Edmunds had a slightly erratic career, having had his first hit in 1968 with his amazing guitar pyrotechnics on Love Sculpture's rock version of Kachaturian's Sabre Dance. He then had a huge number one hit at the end of 1970 under his own name with a cover of Smiley Lewis's `I Hear You Knocking'. He followed this with two more cover versions of 60's girl group songs in the early 70's `Baby I Love You' and `Born To be With You' both making the top ten. He'd also released an album called Rockpile. However at this point he seemed to disappear from public view, despite releasing a second album in 1975, the excellent Subtle As A Flying Mallet as the hit singles had dried up.
Meanwhile the slightly younger Lowe, having first been in the band Kippington Lodge, found a modicum of fame and critical appreciation, but limited commercial success, as the singer and songwriter in Brinsley Schwarz, perhaps the most prominent of the pub rock bands.
Strangely punk and the subsequent new wave scene seemed to be the catalyst for both artists to make a commercial breakthrough (or in Edmunds case a second breakthrough), although by then Edmunds was over thirty and Lowe not far off.
Although a great guitarist and multi instrumentalist it can be deduced from the number of covers he recorded that Edmunds wasn't much of a writer, however Lowe was, and the combination of their talents made for some great music, for example when Edmunds recorded Lowe's brilliant `I Knew The Bride' on his superb 1977 album Get It, the first one I bought by him.
Both men were also in demand as talented producers who helped shape the work of others, which may (particularly in Edmunds's case) have distracted them from their own recording and performing.
By the late 70's however Lowe was firmly established as a solo star, although never reaching the `super' bracket he had a solid career and far more commercial success than he'd enjoyed with the Brinsleys, and will always be remembered as having the first ever release on the influential independent Stiff record label.
Although I didn't go to many concerts and never have done even when younger (can't do with the crowds and all the jumping up and down and clapping, I would sooner listen to the records) I did actually see Rockpile which must have been around the time of this concert. Unfortunately by the time they appeared I was so drunk I remember more about the support act Lew Lewis's Reformer than I do about Rockpile, so can't compare my non existent memories of them with this performance.
Although I was familiar with much of the set list owning most of the songs, only `You'll Never get Me Up In One Of Those' had I never heard of, there were a number of surprises in the performance. Firstly the lead singing, although dominated by Edmunds towards the end, was shared much more evenly than I expected, not only with Lowe, but also the second guitarist Billy Bremner, who also takes a lot more solos than I would have expected, considering Edmunds was such a fabulous guitarist. Bremner and Edmunds actually look a little like brothers, both being similar stature with similar hairstyles and jackets, whereas the taller more animated Lowe is jacketless. Secondly, although Edmunds stands centre stage as befitting a front man, it is Lowe who makes all the announcements and talks to the audience, Edmunds merely having the odd, `Thankyou.' Indeed Edmunds seems rather detached from the audience throughout and seems to be concentrating on his playing and singing. Maybe he just wasn't a natural performer, and that could be why for all his talent and reasonable success he never became a major star, although I have read that he just didn't want it. There is one song, the excellent `Ju Ju Man' also recorded on Get It, where the three of them sing a verse each, so in effect what I was expecting to be a band with two front men actually had three, how many bands can say that? At this point it is only fair to mention drummer Terry Williams too, who lays down a solid beat throughout.
The set list is all you could have expected from these musicians at the time, so we get `I Knew The Bride' and `Ju Ju Man,' from Get It (although I would have loved to hear them perform Bob Seeger's `Get Out Of Denver' as they recorded a devastating version on that album) Edmunds later and bigger hits, `Girls Talk', `Queen Of Hearts' and `Crawling From the Wreckage' from his most recent album at the time Repeat When Necessary, `Singing The Blues' recorded by Edmunds later, a sprinkling of Lowe's solo material including `So It Goes,' that first Stiff single, and a couple of the expected Chuck Berry numbers (any rock n roll band can never go wrong with Chuck). There is one song `Trouble Boys', another excellent rocker recorded by Edmunds on his Tacks On Wax album, where Bremner takes the lead vocal, as he does on several songs previously recorded by Edmunds, however what is odd is that Bremner is credited as the writer on this release whereas on the original version I have it is credited to a B Murray. Maybe that is Bremner?
Although Rockpile were a brilliant and immensely talented rock n roll band and deserved more success than they actually had - I believe they only recorded one album credited to them as a collective unit and the solo careers of Lowe and Edmunds always took precedent - there are a couple of minor irritations on this release.
Firstly the sound and picture quality is what you would expect from the time and that can't be helped, although it still comes as a shock as I played it immediately after watching Black Sabbath's `Gathered In Their Masses' 2013 release, and had to turn the sound up to twice that level.
The other thing is at the end when they went off and came back for three encores. I think this is all rather unnecessary as we know all artists always do an encore and when they leave the stage barely acknowledging the audience we just know they are going to come back. The whole running time is only 65 minutes and a good five minutes of this is `dead time' with just shots of the audience at the end cheering while the band are offstage. I think it breaks the flow of the performance and was irritating. One encore is quite sufficient. Only when they come back for the very last song `Down Down Down' (an older Edmunds recording from his Rockpile album) which Lowe claimed they hadn't performed for a long time does it seem a genuine unplanned addition to the set, as by this time Edmunds has taken his jacket off and has his shirt completely unbuttoned as though he was in the middle of getting changed!
Nevertheless a highly recommended memento of a great little rock n roll band!