Dave Edmunds' debut album Rockpile established his sound -- not only his revivalist tendencies, but also his method of meticulously recreating the sound and style of classic early rock & roll, R&B, and country records. Edmunds plays nearly every instrument on the album, with bassist John Williams being the only full-time collaborator. As a result, the record doesn't sound "live," it has a pinched, precise quality that may contradict the spontaneity that was at the core of the original singles, but it does offer an otherworldly quality that makes the record distinctive. Take the hit "I Hear You Knocking," which has a mechanical rhythm and a weird, out-of-phase vocal that qualifies as an original interpretation, unlike his by-the-book take on Chuck Berry's "The Promised Land," which suffers from the stiff rhythms. Still, the best moments on Rockpile come from songs like "Down, Down, Down," an obscure gem that manages to recreate not only the sound, but the feeling of classic rock & roll, perhaps because Edmunds wasn't concerned with recreating one of his beloved singles.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine