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Subtle As a Flying Mallet

Dave Edmunds

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Album Review

Taking the one-man band aesthetic to an extreme, Dave Edmunds recorded nearly all of his second album, Subtle as a Flying Mallet, on his own, hiring a bassist and a drummer for only a pair of tracks. Edmunds took several years to complete the record, probably because it took a considerable amount of effort to re-create these songs so thoroughly — he spends so much attention on detail that he refuses to change the sex on "Da Doo Ron Ron." Alternating between Spector classics, the Everly Brothers, Chuck Berry, and a variety of R&B, country, and pop numbers, Edmunds hits on all the styles of the late '50s and early '60s. The results are best when he works with obscure material, like the Chordettes' "Born to Be with You," or with newer items like Nick Lowe's "She's My Baby," because the songs are less familiar, which makes his painstaking production exciting.

Biography

Born: 15 April 1944 in Cardiff, South Glamorgan, Wales

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Roots rockers are seldom as purist as Dave Edmunds. Throughout his career, he stayed true to '50s and '60s rock & roll — for Edmunds, rock & roll history stopped somewhere in 1963, after the Beach Boys' first singles but before the Beatles' hits. After establishing himself as a hotshot lead guitarist in the blues-rockers Love Sculpture, he launched his solo career by painstakingly re-creating oldies in his own studio, usually recording every track by himself. Through all of his efforts,...
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