snuh (snuh) wrote,

in the nick of time

This final installment of Nick Lowe posts was the hardest to write because after 1982's Nick The Knife, his career started to lack trajectory and focus. Between the 1984 album, Nick Lowe & His Cowboy Outfit and 2007's At My Age, most of his collections were a hodgepodge of styles, moving away from high octane pop and vacillating between laid-back rock and country. Each of the 90's albums had a worthwhile song or two, but not much more than that.

Nick The Knife marked the end of Nick's power pop leanings. It was the first time he relied on the studio to craft his songs - it brought excellent results as it gave Lowe a chance to finally stretch out. His first true solo album, which gave closure to Rockpile once and for all, though former bandmates Terry Williams and Billy Bremner play on Nick The Knife. It was also the beginning of a fruitful collaboration with Paul Carrack, who had earlier broken through singing lead on Squeeze's 1981 hit, Tempted. The road band also included Martin Belmont on guitar, James Eller on bass, Bobby Irwin on drums and was christened Noise To Go.

Nick Lowe: Burning - 2.37MB

Nick Lowe: Stick It Where The Sun Don't Shine - 5.22MB

Nick Lowe: One's Too Many (And A Hundred Ain't Enough) - 2.87MB

Nick Lowe: Zulu Kiss - 3.28MB

YouTube: Heart (At St. Luke's - London, June 2007)

After 1983's The Abominable Showman, Nick Lowe & His Cowboy Outfit was released in 1984. It also marked his descent into alcoholism, with many lackluster albums to follow.

The Tex-Mex feel of this tune recalls the Vox organ sound of Augie Meyers:

Nick Lowe: Half A Boy And Half A Man - 4.14MB

In 1986, Lowe reunited with Elvis Costello to produce Blood & Chocolate. Afterwards, he also produced The Fabulous Thunderbirds, John Hiatt, and Paul Carrack. 1990 saw Nick in another reunion, as Dave Edmunds was behind the board for Party of One.

During 1987, Nick joined Ry Cooder and Jim Keltner for John Hiatt's Bring The Family. The same group of musicians reunited in 1992 and formed Little Village, which disbanded after one tour.

One standout during an otherwise soft period was 1994's The Impossible Bird. The album had a song Nick wrote for Johnny Cash, The Beast in Me, and another popularized by Elvis Presley:

Nick Lowe: True Love Travels on a Gravel Road - 5.1MB

1996 brought Dig My Mood, 2001 The Convincer and afterwards, many life-changing events. His dad died, he became a father for the first time. Shortly after that, his mother and former in-laws, June and Johnny Cash, also passed on.

The last few years, fatherhood and sobriety helped reinvigorate Nick as he released his strongest album in eons, At My Age. It has a languid, laid-back Memphis sound with a bit of Stax-inspired horns added to the mix.

I really like this song. It's a romantic, regret-tinged look back at a long-past relationship, wondering where his former lover is now:
Nick Lowe: Long Limbed Girl - 4.73MB
Here's one about a true cad:
Nick Lowe: I Trained Her To Love Me - 3.16MB
Nick covers country artist Charlie Feathers:
Nick Lowe: The Man In Love - 3.33MB
An affirmation that life indeed gets better:
Nick Lowe: Hope For Us All - 4.50MB

YouTube: I Trained Her To Love Me - Jimmy Kimmel Live

If you have the patience, here's a great, career encompassing 24 minute interview with Ben Lukoff. If you like Nick, you should enjoy this:
Nick Lowe: Interview - 22MB

I'm glad Nick Lowe has come full circle. In a world where it's better to burn out than fade away, it's good to have an example how life's a marathon, not a sprint.web hit counter
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