According to Tony Russell’s book “The Blues – From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray,” Lewis was described as “the unluckiest man in New Orleans. He hit on a formula for slow-rocking, small-band numbers like ‘The Bells Are Ringing’ and ‘I Hear You Knocking’ only to have Fats Domino come up behind him with similar music more ingratiatingly delivered. Lewis was practically drowned in Domino’s backwash.” Ouch! I don’t want to dump on Domino, because I love his music dearly, but it’s a shame Lewis is not as famous.
To add insult to injury, Dave Edmunds’s 1970 cover of Lewis’s “I Hear You Knocking” is better known than the original. While the Edmunds song is justifiably considered a classic, Lewis’s original is so damn good. It’s a slightly edgier version of Domino’s New Orleans R&B and the song should be a staple on Oldies stations, but sadly isn’t. Raise a glass of fine bourbon in Lewis’s honor.
Can you sense a theme here today? Sorry, but I’m just really digging late 1970s English variety power pop this lovely afternoon. Rockpile was a “supergroup” for the power pop era if there ever was one: Dave Edmunds, Nick Lowe, Billy Bremner, and Terry Williams. And their album managed to squeeze into the US Top 40 back in the day as well. Too bad Rockpile didn’t record a follow-up, though according to Wikipedia, Lowe’s “Labour of Lust” and Edmunds “Repeat When Neccessary” and “Tracks on Wax 4” were technically Rockpile albums.
Written by Elvis Costello, but covered way better by Dave Edmunds in 1979. Those vocals, those harmonies, and that wonderfully sloppy late 1970s production style endemic of Costello and Nick Lowe from the period. A song that proves that even acoustic guitars can rock just as hard as electric ones.
Produced by Dave Edmunds, the Groovies’ best known-song. It sounds like an almost-perfect Stones-Byrds hybrid, which is an awesome concept in any musical idiom.