While I know everything about music, I’ve always only peripherally known about Nick Lowe - sure, I knew that he was the guy who wrote “What’s so funny about peace, love, and understanding?,” and that he was a sort of Paul Weller-esque character who was a brash young punker that later got “distinguished” and dabbled in nonthreatening, adult-contemporary styles.
Well, a friend turned me on to Jesus of Cool recently - WOW, what an album! “I love the sound of breaking glass” has been in near-constant dood-jam rotation in my house and car, and every other track on the album is just tremendous - “tonight,” “So it goes,” “No Reason,” - the whole thing is perfect, punky pop straight through. I’ve jokingly started to refer to Lowe as “the real Elvis Costello” to give people a quick capsule description.
I’ll second the comments about having to search pretty hard for a bad Nick Lowe Record. “The Impossible Bird” is one of my favourite, favourite of all records. And Rockpile, in 1979, is still possibly the rockingest gig I’ve ever been to.
Lowe’s one of my favorites as well. Rockpile’s “Crawing from the Wreckage” is a great driving song, so long as it’s not taken too far. I recommend the “Concert for Kampuchina” version (Paul McCartney’s “Live Aid” for Cambodia).
Probably the best way to buy Lowe’s work is by the single.
Funny you should say that about Lowe and Costello. Lowe produced a lot of Costello’s early records and Elvis (or should I say Declan?) had acutally been a roadie for Brinsley Schwarz, Lowe’s pre-solo group.
Outisde of Jesus of Cool, I would go with The Rose of England as his best album. His Rockpile stuff with Dave Edmunds is good, too. However, Nick’s forte is beautifully structured ironic pop songs in a variety of styles so he’s not really an album guy.
The collectionBasher is probably the best compilation of Lowe stuff available. However, 5-6 of its 25 songs were from Jesus of Cool.
Brinsley Schwarz was a pretty good outfit, too. I’ve got a double album compilation of Nervous on the Road & The New Favourites of Brinsley Schwarz that has the original versions of Peace Love and Understanding and Cruel to Be Kind and IMHO they’re far from the best songs on the albums. I would describe Brinsley Schwarz’ sound a s cross between a British power pop outfit and the Band. They have a good funky pop-country vibe going.
The drummer in my current band was drumming in Carlene Carter’s band while she was married to Nick. According to him (my drummer that is), Nick is as nice a guy as he is talented - just an all around great guy. Carlene, on the other hand, was a coked-out bitch who slept around, took money and just about everything else you’d expect a self-centered, immature nutcase to do when they are on the verge of making big and thinking they are hot shit. She divorced Nick, never made it, stiffed her band (including my guy) and split back to rehab…what a piece of work.
Back to the OP - I really enjoy his stuff and am a big Rockpile fan…
Bah! You guys may be unaware of the 4 disc set The Doings!
Now, that’s some serious compilation action.
The Brinsley Schwartz stuff is available on CD too, conveniently packaged as two albums per CD (one example of which was provided by our good friend, bmoak).
When I heard about the band Little Village (Nick Lowe, Ry Cooder, John Hiatt, and Jim Keltner) I thought “Wow, that’ll be great!” Unfortunately the whole of this band was significantly less than the sum of it’s parts. An all together pretty bad album.
But Nick Lowe is a great songwriter, I love his music. I always feel the need to educate people who put “Cruel to be Kind” on their lists of “Favorite One Hit Wonders”. Aaargh! The wonder is that he didn’t have more hits!!!
He’s got a wonderful sense of humor too. After David Bowie put out his album Low, Nick Lowe put out an album titled Bowi.
His last three albums are among his best (and post date the Basher compilation that ultrafilter and bmoak have recommended). The first two of these three most recent albums (The Impossible Bird and Dig My Mood) are included almost in their entirety on the The Doings 4 disc set. The very most recent album The Convincer came out after that box set, and is well worth owning by itself- a great album from start to finish.
Do you remember Rick Astley?
He had a big fat hit, it was Ghastly
He said, “I’m never gonna give you up or let you down”
Well, I’m here to tell you that dick’s a clown