Album review: DAVE EDMUNDS – 5 Originals

DAVE EDMUNDS – 5 Originals

Floating World Records [Release date 6.11.20]

This new 3CD set comprises five Dave Edmunds solo albums. It kicks off with 1975’s “Subtle As A Flying Mallet”, his second solo effort, which consists of covers of late 1950s and early 1960s hits.

Edmunds plays all of the instruments on the studio tracks, and the album included two UK Top 10 singles in the form of remakes of The Ronettes’ hit ‘Baby, I Love You’ and The Chordettes’ ‘Born to Be with You’. It’s a fun listen as he blasts his way through the likes of ‘Da Doo Ron Ron’, ‘No Money Down’ and ‘Shot Of Rhythm And Blues’. Two B-sides are added as bonus tracks.

His subsequent four albums between 1977 and 1981 were released by Swan Song (and are available elsewhere). The next album here is 1982’s “D.E. 7th”, his first for Arista. It features ‘From Small Things Big Things Come’, a song given to him by Bruce Springsteen which was an outtake from 1980’s “The River”.

Other highlights include ‘Me And The Boys’, ‘Other Guys Girls’, the Geraint Watkins number ‘Deep In The Heart Of Texas’, Doug Kershaw’s ‘Louisiana Man’ and Chuck Berry’s ‘Dear Dad’. Edmunds’ former bass playing colleague in Love Sculpture, John David, is one of the band members. He will remain with Edmunds for the following albums and contributes several songs along the way too.

1983’s “Information” finds Edmunds working with an outside producer for the first time as a solo artist, the man in question being ELO’s Jeff Lynne. The Lynne-penned ‘Slipping Away’ would become Edmunds’ first American Top 40 hit in 13 years.

It’s a fine album, with notable cover versions including NRBQ’s ‘I Want You Bad’ and The J. Geils Band’s ‘Wait’. The Cajun-flavoured ‘The Shape I’m In’, the infectious title track, and the Edmunds David co-write ‘Have A Heart’ all impress.

1984’s “Riff Raff” continued Edmunds’ collaboration with Lynne and is more of the same, if not quite as strong a record overall. The most notable cover is ‘Something About You’, originally a hit for the Four Tops in 1965, with other standouts being two more Lynne songs (‘Far Away’ and ‘S.O.S.’) and a version of Paul Brady’s ‘Steel Claw’.

The set is rounded off by 1987’s in-concert “I Hear You Rockin’” which is pretty much a “Greatest Hits Live”, with sparkling versions of such Edmunds evergreens as the Elvis Costello authored ‘Girl’s Talk’, ‘Queen of Hearts’, the Nick Lowe rocker ‘I Knew The Bride’, as well as a rambunctious reading of his 1970 Christmas UK number one smash, ‘I Hear You Knocking’.

With a detailed booklet containing original album artwork and comprehensive notes by Alan Robinson, this is a great value set – chockful of maximum rock and roll. ****

Review by Jim Henderson

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