Hall of Famer deserves better
Tim Brough | Springfield, PA United States | 09/21/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"One of music's little indignities is that your greatest achievements wind up disappearing if the curators don't give a damn. Such is the case with Nick Lowe, a criminally underrated artist who helped shape the sound of the 80's. His production work with the likes of Elvis Costello and Graham Parker all but defined New Wave, his work with Rockpile is perfect and his solo albums always had reasons to actively listen.
Alas, from that classic period, this is all that remains domestically available. "Basher" (a nickname he earned for his production methods, famously described by Elvis Costello as "a fader in one hand and a vodka bottle in the other") is 25 songs from 8 albums, the first 14 from "Jesus of Cool/Pure Pop For Now People" and "Labour Of Lust." His best known song, "Cruel to be Kind" is here in all its pure pop glory, along with such proto-punk material like "I Love The Sound of Breaking Glass" from the Stiff record days. There's the perversely witty "Marie Provost" ("she was a winner that became the doggie's dinner") and "Cracking Up" as well.
After that, each album gets a slim pick or two (The Rose of England manages four) and only one solitary track from Rockpile's "Seconds of Pleasure" (and not even "Teacher Teacher!"). There's some cool pubrock/rockabilly like "Half a Boy and Half a Man" (should have been a hit!) and "7 Nights to Rock" which belies the depth of later albums. This leaves off a great deal of interesting songs ("Stick it Where The Sun Don't Shine" and "The Beast in Me" would have made my list) and stops when Lowe left Columbia for "Party of One." Lowe is one of those heritage artists who deserves a double "Essentials" collection, and his golden albums should be available to all.
Which leads to my final comments: Why is Lowe yet to be even nominated for The Rock and Roll Hall of fame? He is the architect of a lot of the sound we came to identify as a decade, even to where Huey Lewis is a producer on "I Knew The Bride" (and once covered it) and such luminaries as John Hiatt and Paul Carrack make appearances. The other is that this album is a 1989 master of songs that you can't get anywhere else. Lowe deserves better."
Kathleen McFadden | LaGrange Park, IL USA | 10/07/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was a CD purchased for my husband. As he already has it in a cassette and wanted to get a CD of it, I would assume that it is a favorite of his and that he would recommend it highly.