Friday, August 29, 2014

Dave Edmunds - Riff Raff

Celebrating its thirtieth anniversary is Riff Raff, the 1984 release from Dave Edmunds. Just like his previous album Information (click here for that review), this one was also co-produced by Edmunds with Jeff Lynne. The album, however, only spent four weeks on the US Billboard Album chart with a top spot of number 140.

Side one starts with “Something About You”, a cover of the 1965 hit for the Four Tops. As a single, it went to number 18 on the US Billboard Mainstream Rock chart. The music video, which aired on MTV and can be seen on YouTube, shows off that classic Motown influence.

“Breaking Out” is out next; it is the first of three songs written by Lynne for the record. You can definitely hear Lynne’s influence on this one, as evidenced by the heavy amount of synthesizers on it. The track was released as the second single.

“Busted Loose” also features a driving beat and a relentless guitar rhythm. The song was written by Irish singer Paul Brady and appeared on his 1981 album Hard Station.

“Far Away”, the second Lynne composition, blends in strong synths with Edmunds’ rock style. This one works better than the earlier one because it sounds more like an Edmunds song.

The first half closes with “Rules of the Game”, the first of two tracks penned by John David. This one seems very familiar to me, but I cannot place it. Could it be a cover? It has a very 60’s kind of sound to it.

Side two opens with “Steel Claw”, another Paul Brady track - this time from his 1983 album True For You. Of course, the first time I had ever heard the song was on Tina Turner’s 1984 album Private Dancer (click here for that review). The track was released as the third single from Edmunds’ album.

Lynne also wrote “S.O.S.”, a passionate plea for assistance.

“Hang On” brings back the high energy with a put-your-nose-to-grindstone motivational tune.

For “How Could I Be So Wrong” (the other John David penned track), Edmunds strips back all of the production and goes for a straight-forward country-influenced spiritual song. The track was the B-side to both the second and third singles.

Edmunds wrote the album‘s closing track “Can’t Get Enough”, which was also the B-side to the first single. This song has all the earmarks of Edmunds’ signature sound, clear-cut rockabilly.

Riff Raff is a mixed bag, which might explain why it did not go over too well with the record buying public back in 1984. I had to dig around the Internet (both YouTube and Grooveshark) to track down all of the songs from this one. Except for a couple tracks, I could not see myself adding this album to my collection (even if the tracks were available for purchase digitally).

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