Posted tagged ‘1979’

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!


September 30, 2009

-30- in the newspaper business once meant the end of the story.

Today is the 30th of September, the last night of the month.

So why not go for a 30-year-old record for tonight’s side on The Midnight Tracker?

It’s a record that, even though released in 1979, scarcely sounds dated. It’s one of our favorites, a record my wife and I had in our individual collections long before we ever merged them.

“Look Sharp” by Joe Jackson was — and is — a wonderfully intelligent though cynical mashup of pop, rock, ska, reggae and jazz.

Our copies of “Look Sharp” are among the early pressings — a package that consisted of two 10-inch EPs with a small “Look Sharp!” pin. Mine still has the pin. Janet’s pin is gone, and the picture of Joe Jackson on the flip side of her album has light blue crop marks from where she once used it to illustrate a review of the album.


One of the first shows we ever saw together was Joe Jackson. We were sooooo sophisticated then, heading to Minneapolis to see him at the Guthrie Theater on a Sunday night in October 1979. That ticket cost $7.50, or about $22 in today’s dollars. A bargain either way.

The lineup we saw that delightful night is the one you hear on this side: Jackson on piano, Graham Maby on bass, Gary Sanford on guitar and Dave Houghton on drums, with all on vocals.

Dig it!


“Happy Loving Couples,” “Throw It Away” and “Baby Stick Around,” Joe Jackson, from “Look Sharp,” 1979. This is Side 2 of the first 10-inch EP. It runs 8:24.