Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Leftovers: Cutlery (that Cuts) (and Alabama)/A Knife and Fork

Rockpile: A Knife and Fork

I took some time off from this blog over the summer, so for the Leftovers theme I’m trying to hit some of what I missed--and this post covers three in one!

I have to believe that more food is eaten from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day than any other similar period during the year. At least in my family, this period is filled with big family meals, parties, dinners out, and many, many cookies, thanks mostly to my wife, the master baker. As someone who struggles with weight and diet and the related health issues that this has caused, it seemed appropriate to write about this song, a cautionary tale about overeating.

My introduction to the song came from its inclusion on the only studio album released under the Rockpile name, Seconds of Pleasure, despite the fact that the musicians (Nick Lowe, Dave Edmunds, Billy Bremner, and Terry Williams) acted as the band for both Edmunds and Lowe on a number of solo releases. At the time of the album’s release, I remember being a little disappointed, despite the fact that there were a number of strong tracks, but as a fan of both Edmunds and Lowe, maybe I expected too much. I think that the critical opinion of the album has improved over the years, though.

What I didn’t realize until I started writing this was that “A Knife and Fork” is a cover—which is a little embarrassing for someone who sporadically contributes to a cover blog. It was originally written and performed by a mostly forgotten performer, Kip Anderson, back in 1967. The song was recorded at the legendary FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama (hey—that’s another theme that I missed), and was produced by Rick Hall. Check out the original version:

Look, I’m a big Dave Edmunds/Rockpile fan—ask my college roommates—and their cover of the song is good—I liked it then, and I like it now, although I was never a huge fan of when Edmunds’ voice sounds processed. But if you compare it to the more soulful, horn-filled original, the Rockpile version feels restrained. So, I have to say, the original is better. Because, in part, everything is better with a horn section.

Edmunds, to his credit, often covered obscure songs, giving them a new life—on Seconds of Pleasure, for example, in addition to giving Kip Anderson some royalties, he covered a lesser known Chuck Berry song.

Although I do expect to indulge during this festive period (and I already have), I hope that the situation isn’t as dire as the song portends.

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