Archive for February 2011

Repeat often. It’s necessary.

February 28, 2011

As another month ends, it’s time again for The Midnight Tracker to emerge from the haze of time, reviving an old late-night FM radio show on which they played one side of a new or classic album.

Tonight’s record came out in the summer of 1979, when I had one foot in college and one foot in the real world, splitting my time between going to classes and working at the newspaper. I was living with Mike and Bob, a couple of older guys with whom I’d roomed before, in an old house Mike had bought in an older, working-class neighborhood in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

Mike and Bob often were away at work, or with their girlfriends in the upstairs bedrooms, so they didn’t have any objection to hearing Dave Edmunds’ “Repeat When Necessary” played repeatedly that fall.

There are just two ways I could have learned about this record. One was by reading a review in Rolling Stone. The other was by hearing it at Truckers Union, one of our local record stores. (There also was Wax Museum.) More than 30 years on, I can’t say which for sure.

At any rate, I played it all the time. So when I pulled it out “Repeat When Necessary” to rip it all those years later … it repeated, all right. There were some skips in those old grooves. Though it pained me to replace the original, I had to get a second copy. It was worth it.

“Repeat When Necessary” is an upbeat, joyous collision of rock, country, pub rock and a small bit of what was becoming known as the New Wave. Side 1, which we have for you tonight, has covers of songs by Elvis Costello, Graham Parker (another of my faves from that time) and Cliff Richard.

Though Edmunds gets top billing, the Welsh guitar great is backed by the supergroup that became known as Rockpile: Billy Bremner on guitar, Nick Lowe on bass and Terry Williams on drums.

When I heard the great tunes on “Repeat When Necessary” in 1979, I immediately went off in search of Edmunds’ earlier records. “Get It” (from 1977) and “Tracks on Wax 4” (from 1978) are pretty good, too, but “Repeat When Necessary” was and is still the best.

Give it a listen, and you’ll hear why.

“Girls Talk,” “Crawling From the Wreckage,” “The Creature From the Black Lagoon,” “Sweet Little Lisa” and “Dynamite,” Dave Edmunds, from “Repeat When Necessary,” 1979. This is Side 1. It runs 16:06.

The first cut is widely considered to be the best cover of this Elvis Costello tune, better even than Costello’s version on “Taking Liberties.” The second cut is the Graham Parker cover. The third cut was written by Bremner. (We’ll get to “Bash!” — his fine solo LP — some day.) The last cut is the Cliff Richard cover.

Please feel free to go back and discover previous sides from The Midnight Tracker. We take requests, too!