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ROCKPILE (Buy CDs by this artist)
Seconds of Pleasure (Columbia) 1980
BILLY BREMNER
Bash! (UK Arista) 1984

Rockpile, the top-rank rock'n'roll group Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds formed in the late '70s, played on solo records by both men and backed each on tours. A year before breaking up, the quartet — which also included drummer Terry Williams and guitarist Billy Bremner — had its sole moment in the vinyl spotlight and came up with an album that is every bit as exhilarating as anything either Lowe or Edmunds has done on his own. Obvious influences on Seconds of Pleasure include the Everly Brothers ("Now and Always") and Chuck Berry (his own "Oh What a Thrill"); the blues "A Knife and a Fork" and the medium-tempo "When I Write the Book" are rare respites. Besides everything else, the album has the extra bonus of guitarist Billy Bremner singing the rollickin' "Heart" and Rockin' Sidney's "You Ain't Nothin' but Fine." Throughout, the band delivers the hard-partying, good-time music we've come to expect from Lowe and Edmunds. Initial copies of the LP included a 7-inch EP, Nick Lowe & Dave Edmunds Sing the Everly Brothers, with renditions of "Take a Message to Mary," "When Will I Be Loved" and two more classics — all later appended to the CD.

Bremner is far more talented than his low profile would indicate; insecurities have hampered him considerably. In many ways, Bash! is the Dave Edmunds album Edmunds never made (and more consistent than anything Dave's done since Repeat When Necessary, which included three Bremner songs). Billy's a bit poppier and a better, more prolific songwriter than his former bandmate.

Ex-Records drummer Will Birch produced and supplied the lyrics on Bash!, which also benefits from previously unrecorded donations (one each) from Elvis Costello (brilliant!) and Difford/Tilbrook (they should have finished writing it first). The album doesn't contain Bremner's Stiff 45, "When Laughter Turns to Tears," but still delivers the goods track after track.

[Scott Isler/Jim Green]
   See also Nick Lowe