Acoustic Sounds


Seconds of Pleasure



Rockpile-"Seconds of Pleasure"

Label: Sony/Columbia /Yep Roc

Engineered By: Aldo Bocca, Neill King, and Nick Froome

Lacquers Cut By: Kevin Gray

By: Evan Toth

June 29th, 2024


Rock Rockabilly



"Seconds of Pleasure", Rockpile's Solo Release Reissued

A Timeless Throwback Pub Rock Classic

The sum - it’s said - is always greater than the parts. Rockpile may have only released one album, but 1980’s Seconds of Pleasure stands as a prime example of that adage. Nick Lowe (guitar, vocals) and Dave Edmunds (guitar, vocals) were the band's star power, but they brought more than just their entertainment acumen to the table; with them came their longtime musical cohorts Billy Bremner (vocals, guitar) and Terry Williams on “drums, drums, drums” (as the liner notes exclaim). Hook laden melodies coupled with a healthy respect for their rock ‘n’ roll forefathers made the music on Rockpile’s solo release both familiar and infectious - a compelling blend.

Though Seconds of Pleasure is the only studio album to bear their name, Rockpile were not strangers to the stage or studio. As groundfloor members of the pub rock scene, the band spent hours woodshedding their skills seeking to proudly proselytize the rock and roll scriptures written by their rock and roll ancestors. Audiences during the mid-70s  - especially those disaffected by the day’s emphasis on glam and prog - enjoyed this throwback approach. While the careers of Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds branched off into successful directions, the group - as session musicians - served as the backup band for Lowe, Edmunds and a few other acts, as well.

Kevin Gray at Cohearant Audio cut new lacquers for the album and a mere 1,000 copies of this limited new release were pressed at Citizen Vinyl in Asheville, NC. This version’s yellow vinyl compliments Barney Bubbles’ eye-catching cover design. Bubble’s creations should be familiar to you as he crafted the album jackets of many U.K. groups during the late 70s and 80s. You know how the artwork for Elvis Costello’s This Year’s Model seems misaligned? Caught your attention, right? That was Barney’s contribution!

“Leave them wanting more” well describes the songs on Seconds of Pleasure. The album’s tracklist primarily consists of rock ‘n roll deep cuts and covers coupled with originals penned by Nick Lowe and the band. “Teacher Teacher” is the record's lead off track, and it is a strong one ensuring there will be no lifting the needle off of the record. Razor sharp harmonies slash away at the song’s chorus and punctuate the tune’s gallop; it’s done so well that one might imagine Buddy Holly grinning from beyond.  You’ll wonder how the record’s takes were committed to tape with such solid acuity, but - considering the 10,000+ hours that the group had invested in sweat equity under hot stage lights - you’ll understand; when Rockpile arrived at Eden Studios in Chiswick, UK, they  were warmed up, in their prime and ready, Teddy.

Nick Lowe’s inimitable bass playing is fueled with delirious energy and wiry nervousness especially on “If Sugar Was as Sweet as You” (a Joe Tex penned number). Here, lead vocals by Dave Edmunds’ are in just the right tenor range to push the envelope and the double-tracked vocals are captured with surgical precision.

The album’s third main vocalist - Billy Bremner - provides a first class ticket to Motown via “Heart” (a Lowe and Co. original) which bristles with buoyant optimism. Billy’s other lead vocal is heard on the album’s final track, “You Ain’t Nothin’ but Fine,” originally released by Rockin’ Sidney as a Cajun, Zydeco, rock ‘n roll hybrid in 1961.

The album’s first few tracks hint at the specter of the Everly Brothers, but on “Now and Always” Lowe and Edmunds fully embrace the sound with such commitment that you’d swear they were related. But it’s more than just the blood harmony, the compositional structure is a late 50s meld of major and minor chords that offer a successfully heart-wrenching and bittersweet melody. Lead guitar parts weep with harmonic richness and support the song’s aesthetic.

While the Rockpile personnel had plenty of know-how at getting folks onto the dancefloor, on “Now and Always” the arrangement, musicianship, mixing, and production of the song give it the qualities it needs to surpass a straight-forward live presentation. In this regard, “Now and Always” successfully becomes a classic track. The song doesn’t need a cherry on top, but the arpeggiating rhythm guitar part toward the song’s end adds it free of charge anyway. All this in 1:58.

Further examination of those infectious Everly Brothers harmonies take place on a “free EP” titled Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds Sing the Everly Brothers, this 7” 45rpm bonus disc was included with original pressings of the album. Unfortunately, the new reissue does not include those four tracks as doing so would have required expanding the release to a double album. It might have been nice to tack on a few live tracks too, but clearly that was not to be the case. Most digital streaming services tack the extra tunes onto the album’s tracklist.

Edmund’s tackles “Knife and Fork,” a bizarre tune in which the song's narrator chastises his lady friend for eating too much, only proving that political correctness in 1980 wasn’t what it is today. Feeling like a leftover from the 70s, one can theorize that Edmunds might have planned for the tune to be a hit in the vein of his remake of “I Hear You Knocking” from a decade earlier. The song reminds me of the Kinks’ Everybody’s in Showbiz album from 1972 which featured at least four songs about over - and under - eating. If you’re writing about food, maybe just…don’t.

The pub rock party continues with Lowe’s “Play That Fast Thing (One More Time)” which will fill your listening space with the excitement of a late-night barroom north of Regents Park in London. Covered on the album, too, is Chuck Berry’s “Oh What a Thrill'' - pulled from his Rockit album released a year earlier in 1979. Though it’s a song from later in his career, it is still an homage to one of rock ‘n roll’s greatest architects. This version deviates from Chuck’s original which featured piano as the predominant instrument. The cover songs chosen for this project underscore the deep musical history that the band members were experts in; it’s fun to imagine the guys holding conversations in the studio about what numbers to include and why.

There are a few song choice surprises as well which make for an interesting listening session. One such selection is “Wrong Again (Let’s Face It)” written by Difford and Tilbrook of Squeeze. A curious track, the infusion of Squeeze's angular new wave style into David Edmunds’ rockabilly sensibilities serve up a pleasing intermezzo with which to begin side B.

“When I Write the Book” - another original - is a satisfying Nick Lowe number, perhaps one of the strongest tracks on the album. It also brings to mind “Everyday I Write the Book” from his chum, Elvis Costello, a song which became EC’s first Top 40 hit in the U.S. Elvis, in fact, credits Lowe’s song as an inspiration. Even further, Rockpile’s album title, Seconds of Pleasure was also the title of an unreleased song that Costello had written and demoed around the time of 1982’s Imperial Bedroom album.

Fortunately, my collection includes a minty version of an original U.S. pressing of Seconds of Pleasure with which to compare this new release with. The original pressing sounds very good and - in fact - is quite close to my impressions of the new version. Bass is prominent in the original copy, but it’s a touch undefined, woofy. Electric guitars have a raw edge, but get lost in the album’s somewhat shallow soundstage. My 43 year old Terre Haute pressing is very quiet (The U.K. original, which features the EP tucked into a front cover insert, smokes the American original_ed).

On this reissue, listeners will find excellent instrumental separation and a wider soundstage with more depth. Acoustic guitars have plenty of chugging power and string definition. Lowe’s bass has more finesse providing a compelling visual of the instrument rather than the approximation that the original pressing presents. Williams’ kick drum is rounder - more present - and the interplay between bass drum and snare is well aligned. High frequencies exhibit an appropriate tweak. Bravo to Citizen Vinyl for an exceptionally quiet disc.

Which is which?

The original is more representative of a veteran band bringing their stage act to the studio: lead vocals exhibit a touch of grain and the band’s energy is just a smidge more frenetic with a display of midrange nudge. Gray’s new cut demonstrates an enticing cohesion, smoothing out the edges of the original. Still, both pressings sound very close to one another, almost as close as those Everly harmonies.

It’s a true pleasure to listen to and enjoy Seconds of Pleasure regardless of format. The new reissue will no doubt sound impressive on your favorite hifi, but the music that Nick, Dave and the boys created - and the expertise that is wholly evident in their playing - will provide inspiration no matter what speaker the album comes out of. Rockpile’s record is reminiscent of the music you’ve heard on a ratty car stereo during a late night drive or an old cassette player echoing from a nearby garage on a hot summer afternoon. The music and performance are so enjoyable, it doesn’t matter if it sounds good. Fortunately, Rockpile’s Seconds of Pleasure sounds even better now than it did back then.

Music Specifications

Catalog No: Yep Roc Records – YEP-2323, Columbia – 634457144286, Sony Music Commercial Music Group – 634457144286

Speed/RPM: 33 1/3

Size: 12"

Channels: Stereo

Presentation: Single LP


  • 2024-06-29 04:21:03 PM

    Silk Dome Mid wrote:

    Thanks for the great review, Evan! These guys were my favorite band for years as they switched back and forth from an Edmunds LP to a Lowe one due to the intransigence of their respective record companies. Unfortunately, Nick and Dave had a falling out soon after the release of Seconds of Pleasure and never worked together again. Billy Bremner was their secret weapon, as I learned when I saw them play. He was a terrific guitarist and singer in his own right, and later released a couple of excellent solo albums. Edmunds put out several very good solo albums, although the excessive production style of Jeff Lynne damaged Information and ruined Riff Raff. Closer to the Flame was a nice return to form. Lowe, of course, went on to become something of a satirical rockin' lounge singer before getting back to a more energetic sound thanks to Los Straitjackets. He's reached legendary status. I've never met Lowe, but my wife and I caught Edmunds on his last American tour. He was playing solo in bars with his wife Cecilia along as his roadie. (Those are her legs on the cover of Closer to the Flame). The show was amazing, and afterwards he spoke with fans and signed everything he was presented with. What a great guy he turned out to be, friendly, humble and outgoing. Health problems slowed him down a lot and he has now retired from performing.

    • 2024-06-30 05:56:23 PM

      Evan Toth wrote:

      Thanks, SDM! I did not know that NL and DE ended up on the outs, I'm sorry to hear that. I kind of like the "Information" album from 1986! I know I've got that around here somewhere, I have a feeling it will end up on the turntable shortly...

  • 2024-06-29 07:45:00 PM

    tim davis wrote:

    So, so cool. I have a beat up dollar bin OP that I've had since the 1990s. I just managed here & now to score one of this new edition on Discogs. Yep Roc sez they done sold out. I appreciate the heads up on this one so much Evan as well as the very detailed post. Thank you! S.D.M. I thoroughly enjoyed your comment as well. The story of the Edmunds show is the kind of thing I adore learning about. This new Rockpile reissue will go quite well with the recent used 1st 3 Brinsley Schwarz albums I found in a pile in a used store with the 1st Stray Cats lp that Dave Edmunds produced. Convergence or syncronicity or who knows what? Anyways, I'll take it & call it a win!! Also, do you really prefer the soft domes? I know I do. I've had a chip on both my cochleas against metal domes for years now. Currently I'm very happy with the TexTreme carbon fiber weave dome tweets that Eminence offers in a compression driver. I've got mine loaded in some 80h x 60v dispersion horns.

    • 2024-06-29 10:55:28 PM

      Silk Dome Mid wrote:

      I've owned several "better" speakers but still love my ADS L800s bought new in 1979. They each have two 8" woofers, a sparkling 3/4" silk-dome tweeter and a sweet 2" silk dome midrange. They are quite efficient for acoustic suspension speakers, don't go very low but that's taken care of by a pair of 12" SVS powered subs. Nice to hear about those Brinsley LPs. Great find! I also ended up ordering the yellow vinyl SOP from Discogs, can't believe Yep Roc didn't press more.

      • 2024-06-29 11:36:32 PM

        tim davis wrote:

        Perhaps they underestimated the market? I never can tell why these things happen. I'm also a devotee of sealed box woofer designs. I'll take their higher bass roll-off over the deeper extension & associated ringing of ported designs every time. Currently I have no subs at all & my woofers only reach an F3 of between 35 & 31 hz depending on how warm the air is. I hope to get a pair of GR Research servo subs someday to hit all them low Saint Saens organ type low notes but for now I'll get by with what I got. I've never got to hear any ADS designs but I hope to someday. I'll never get tired of listening to all the myriad vintage speaker types. Regardless of pedigree. Hell, I got 2 pair of Sansui "Kabuki" speakers hooked up in my workshop so I can hear them sing in the enviroment they were meant to. A real big room with a lot of amplification power. The dynamics they bring to that set of parameters thrills me again & again in that otherwise low-fi setting. Tonal accuracy be damned! Yeah sure, the singer & the guitar are compromised but that snare drum & them floor toms are not. At least not for me.

        • 2024-06-30 12:55:21 AM

          Silk Dome Mid wrote:

          Typo alert! The speakers are L810s. As I recall, the design was based on the earlier Braun L810. There was also an L710 with smaller cabinet and woofers. I also have the ADS metal stands that raise them by about ten inches and tilt them back slightly. Nice real walnut veneer and very thin, acoustically transparent perforated metal grilles. I'm fortunate that they still look almost brand new.

          • 2024-06-30 11:27:32 AM

            tim davis wrote:

            That all sounds pretty cool. I love walnut finish too. Despite that I ended up doing the side panels in my DIY build with a wipe on wipe off mahogany gel stain to bring out the grain followed by a dark redwood dye. Sometimes I wish we could post photos on this TA page. On the other hand they are very lenient about letting us go off topic in the comments section which I really appreciate. I am going to go ask my pal Google to show me some ADS L810 s.

    • 2024-06-30 05:58:26 PM

      Evan Toth wrote:

      Glad you enjoyed! It was released on 6/7, so to think they sold 1,000 in a little under a month seems reasonable. Maybe a non-yellow version is in the works?

  • 2024-06-30 11:28:55 AM

    Lemon Curry wrote:

    What a pity only 1,000 pressed. That's ERC territory. Maybe they'll press another batch.

    But in the meantime, my OG sounds fantastic!

    • 2024-06-30 05:59:46 PM

      Evan Toth wrote:

      As I noted, the original US certainly sounds great. Perhaps MF can chime in about how his UK version sounds (I've never heard it).

  • 2024-07-01 12:25:35 PM

    Marc wrote:

    Just got my record. At the back of the record it states (misprint): “Recorded and Reduced at Eden Studios Chiswick….“ Maybe this is why it is limited to 1000 The record is in a normal rounded corner paper sleeve. No time to listen to it at the moment. Kindest Regards Marc

    • 2024-07-01 01:27:27 PM

      Scotty wrote:

      What a great record! I have a like new original with the bonus EP and I am very happy with it and decided to pass on this. Great to see KG cut this, but who mastered it, was it Kevin as well? But wouldn't it have been stated as such...Since this was on yellow vinyl (why such a weird color to choose) could they press another run on standard black? Just great to see this killer party record get the attention it deserves. I have all of the solo releases featuring the Rockpile lineup and all of those records seemed to have aged for the better! Great review Evan! Enjoyed reading what others had to say as well here. This is such a great place to hang and we get thoughtful insights from the entire staff that can start great discussion even if we don't agree on everything, but that just adds in a good way. I would almost give this record an 11/10 (music) because there is nothing quite like it and such a great example of what a good time sounds like!

    • 2024-07-02 04:10:00 PM

      Evan Toth wrote:

      Not a typo, that's how originals were printed. Yes, regular rounded corner paper sleeve on mine, too.

  • 2024-07-01 03:50:13 PM

    Jeff 'Glotz' Glotzer wrote:

    Loved this album back in the 80's in my teens! It's been decades and I need to listen to it again for sure. I was into the whole English pub rock thing and this was among the best.

    And oh my god I remember the ADS floorstanders! I heard them in the late 80s while in college in Minneapolis and I was impressed by their detail playing London Calling. Never heard them again, but they left an indelible impression over the years, despite hearing so many other brands. Guess it was one of the first narrow baffle speakers i heard, and what they brought to the table sonically.

    • 2024-07-01 06:48:23 PM

      Silk Dome Mid wrote:

      ADS may have produced narrow baffle floorstanding speakers, but I've never seen any. The first of those I experienced were Definitive Technology bipolar towers, still one of my favorites. They managed to have that spacious bipolar sound without sacrificing much imaging precision.

    • 2024-07-02 04:12:07 PM

      Evan Toth wrote:

      Pub Rock definitely had its moment and - you're right - this just might be its pinnacle.

  • 2024-07-01 08:51:52 PM

    Vince L wrote:

    Played the US original for my 71 year old brother (huge hifi guy always improving his vintage stereo setup). Listened to 10 seconds and he strongly disliked the "thin" sound. Maybe he'd like this reissue but he generally dislikes records from this era.

  • 2024-07-02 01:06:47 AM

    David Parsons wrote:

    I have pristine copy with the bonus 45 I got in 1980. Great album. Good to hear it stacks up well against the new release!

  • 2024-07-03 01:08:40 PM

    Marc wrote:

    @ Evan Toth Thank you for pointing out that this is not a typo. I was not aware of this expression „… and reduced..,,. Always learning something new. Great comments! Kindest Regards, Marc

    • 2024-07-03 05:06:02 PM

      Scotty wrote:

      As much as I dig "Seconds Of Pleasure", I would also say don't forget about the Dr. Feelgood releases "Down By The Jetty" and the live "Stupidity" record with Wilko Johnson. Those are every bit classic Pub Rock records as what Rockpile released. BTW, it's a bonus EP at 33, not a 45 included with the original of Seconds Of Pleasure. Great to see folks taking about this good time music!

      • 2024-07-03 10:49:31 PM

        Silk Dome Mid wrote:

        Yes, those Dr. Feelgood albums are both excellent. Really fun listening. When it comes to Pub Rock I also love the underappreciated Ducks Deluxe, the Motors and Brinsley Schwarz.

      • 2024-07-05 07:59:45 AM

        tim davis wrote:

        I've had that Down by the Jetty release on my search list for a while now. Some others from or sprang from the pub scene of which I'm a fan include Bram Tchaivosky, The Records, & good ol' Graham Parker. The Rumour set his jams alight, Heeeee!

      • 2024-07-08 01:37:18 PM

        Evan Toth wrote:

        Wow, good catch! You're right! It's a 7-inch at 33 1/3, not 45 (four songs). As I mentioned, my original never had the bonus disc and the new one doesn't include I assumed!