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Love Sculpture Live At The BBC 1968-1969

January 21, 2020

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Love Sculpture

Live At The BBC 1968-9

  1. Sabre Dance 1 (Khachaturian arr. Edmunds)
  2. Wang Dang Doodle (Willie Dixon)
  3. Promised Land (Chuck Berry)
  4. The Inner Light (George Harrison)
  5. The Stumble (Freddie King)
  6. Brand New Woman (Crick Feathers)
  7. Farandole (Bizet arr. Edmunds)
  8. Sabre Dance 2 (Khachaturian arr. Edmunds)
  9. (Do I Figure In) Your Life (Peter Blumsom)
  10. River To Another Day (Charles Ward, Kingsley Ward)
  11. Don’t Answer The Door (Jimmy Johnson)
  12. Sweet Little Rock & Roller (Chuck Berry)
  13. Great Balls Of Fire (Otis Blackwell & Jack Hammer)
  14. Evening


Dave Edmunds – guitar, vocals

John Williams – bass

Bob ‘Congo’ Jones – drums


Recording Details

5, 6, 9, 10, 12 Recorded for Top Gear 2.4.68, transmitted 21.4.68

1, 2, 3, 11 Recorded for Top Gear 16.9.68, transmitted 6.10.68 (1,2,3) and 3.11.68 (11)

4, 7, 13, 14 Recorded for Top Gear 28.1.69, transmitted 9.3.69


Sleeve Notes

We recorded Sabre Dance, all six minutes of it, and I couldn’t believe it: it was one of those ‘first take’ numbers, we did do another take but we could not improve on the first. I intentionally programmed it early in the programme. For the last item in the show I put in a six minute record which could be cut because I knew what was going to happen: as soon as Sabre Dance went out the phone rang and I knew it was Peel and what he was going to ask. “Take out the last song and you can play Sabre Dance instead.” And that was the first and only time a pre-recorded session item was played twice in the same programme. The reason it hadn’t been done before was because it incurred an immediate full repeat fee. Parlophone picked up on it, re-recorded it, rush-released it and had a hit. But Dave Edmunds always said that the first BBC version was the best recording”. Top Gear Producer Bernie Andrews, quoted by Ken Garner, “In Session Tonight”.

Love Sculpture guitarist Dave Edmunds would later tell Sounds magazine “we did a live session for John Peel’s Top Gear and suddenly we were signed up by EMI, Gordon Mills was managing us and we had a number two hit single.” Before this Edmunds, bass player John Williams and drummer Bob ‘Congo’ Jones had gigged and recorded as the Cardiff-based Human Beans, recording an unsuccessful cover of Tim Rose’s ‘Morning Dew’ for EMI’s Columbia label. Changing their name to Love Sculpture  – taken from a book of horror stories – they released as their first single River To Another Day. This harmony-drenched slice of UK summer pop was written by Charles and Kinsley Ward, brothers who ran top studio Rockfield in Monmouth. Today this single is a three-figure rarity, but the version included here from their first Top Gear session is just as good. Also recorded at this session was the bluesy Brand New Woman, The Stumble (also recorded by the Beck era-Yardbirds) and a toughened-up version of the Honeybus classic (Do I Figure) In Your Life, never officially released. Early evidence of Edmunds lifelong obsession with all things Chuck Berry came with a spirited take on Sweet Little Rock & Roller, subsequently recorded by both the Faces and Edmunds’ future chums The Flamin’ Groovies.

It was the second Peel session which spawned the unnervingly fast,  live-in-the studio version of Sabre Dance. The other tracks recorded at the session were all American r’n’b sides – Chuck Berry’s Promised Land, Jimmy Johnson’s Don’t Answer The Door and Willie Dixon’s ubiquitous Wang Dang Doodle. But it was Sabre Dance that got listeners phoning the BBC to ask where they could buy it. Early Pretenders gigs in 1979 would be enlivened by guitarist James Honeyman-Scotts party piece, a note perfect live rendition of Sabre Dance performed as an encore.

Love Scupture’s attempt to repeat the winning formula saw them sprinting through Bizet’s Farandole at their third Top Gear session. From the same session came a rocked-up cover of George Harrison’s The Inner Light, originally the B-side to Lady Madonna which was inexplicably omitted from either of Love Sculpture’s LPs. A brief Great Balls Of Fire features some fine (uncredited) piano, whilst Evening is an otherwise-unrecorded song of many parts with quiet interludes interspersed with more up-tempo sections.

Love Sculpture’s reliance on cover versions limited their success: there was no Brian Epstein or Andrew Loog Oldham to encourage Edmunds to start writing original songs. After turning himself into the Welsh Phil Spector Edmunds scored a big solo hit with a 1970 remake of Smiley Lewis’ “I Hear You Knocking” in 1970, and then worked with Nick Lowe from 1974 – 1981, frequently as part of the band Rockpile. Edmunds was also by now a highly respected producer working successfully on many projects at Rockfield.

And here is where it all began.

Sleevenotes: Plum Crazy


From → Music, Vinyl

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