Picks and Pans Review: Seconds of Pleasure
If it sometimes seems that (in the words of Paul Revere and the Raiders) "kicks just keep gettin' harder to find," these two discs could salvage things. Both draw on the effervescence of rock'n'roll's formative decade. Billy Burnette is the 27-year-old son of Dorsey Burnette, who played bass to brother Johnny's guitar in the influential if short-lived 1950s rockabilly band, the Rock'n'Roll Trio. Young Billy began cutting Christmas and children's records at age 7 and later flourished as a Nashville songwriter, but only recently returned to what he calls "straight-to-my-roots, straight-to-my-heart rock'n'roll." He has the voice and the guitar licks to put over Rock'n'Roll Trio hits like Honey Hush and Tear It Up, as well as his own pastiches of Chuck Berry, Elvis and other icons. His backup trio is faithful to the genre: Presley and the others might have sounded like this if they had used modern instruments and recording equipment. The semilegendary Rockpile already sounds that way. The present members of Rockpile—Nick Lowe on bass, Dave Edmunds and Billy Bremner on guitar and Terry Williams on drums—were all central to the mid-'70s English pub-rock scene. Their first LP together is wonderful. In addition to reviving obscure gems like Berry's lascivious Oh What a Thrill and Joe Tex's If Sugar Was as Sweet as You, the album presents five new Lowe tunes as witty as they are up-to-date. With dashing instrumental work and distinct vocals, Rockpile doesn't just recycle the joys of the '50s and '60s. The good times still roll in the '80s.