Monday, January 16, 2012

On the Air: Cry

Rockpile: Cry

[purchase Live at Montreaux]

"Rockpile is usually Terry Williams on drums, Billy Bremner on guitar, Dave Edmunds on guitar, and my name is Nick Lowe, I play the bass...Let's have some fun tonight!"

That's how Nick Lowe introduced his band Rockpile during its 1980 appearance on the King Biscuit Flower Hour. King Biscuit was a syndicated concert series, which ran in the '70s and '80s on U.S. radio stations that played cool music. (And, that in the '10s are likely the ones in your town running sports talk or Jack FM. Thanks, CBS, Cumulus and Clear Channel!) Many of the original King Biscuit Flower Hour shows can be streamed for free on the Wolfgang's Vault web site.

The Rockpile show was recorded at The Ritz in New York City, part of a tour in support of Seconds of Pleasure, the band's only official studio recording. (An excellent streaming audio documentary about Rockpile's rise and fall is available here.)

Rockpile's King Biscuit Flower Hour appearance later circulated as a bootleg, Provoked Beyond Endurance. That title reflects the band's experience on what turned out to be its last tour. Shortly after it concluded, Lowe and Edmunds decided they'd had enough of each other, and Rockpile ceased to be. For 30 years, Seconds of Pleasure remained the band's only official release until 2011's Live at Montreaux. That record, taken from a Montreaux Jazz Festival appearance a few of months before the King Biscuit session, features many of the same songs, but the intimacy of the Ritz venue brings out a better show.

"Cry," featuring lead vocals by Billy Bremner, was written by Lowe's then-wife, Carlene Carter. It's the only song on the King Biscuit Flower Hour program that has never appeared on a Lowe, Edmunds or Rockpile record. Carter included it on her "Musical Shapes" album, on which she's backed, most effectively, by Rockpile.

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