24.6.13

NICK LOWE : Nick The Knife (F-Beat, 1982).

Nick Knife
Lowe TP photo 8b82a1e7-995a-4131-a5f6-7eecb8a7051b_zps6102446a.jpg
I've had a soft spot for the music of Nick Lowe for just about as long as I can remember. I'd just begun paying serious attention to music when he was hitting his brief commercial zenith at the tail-end of the 1970s, so I expect I must've seen him larking about on Top of the Pops, lip-syncing to "I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass", looking like one of my best mates' cool older brothers? Though I didn't actually own any of his records back then (no cash, too young), their hooks were sufficiently robust that they made deeper inroads into my adolescent psyche than most, loitering in the back of my mind (&, occasionally, unexpectedly popping up on daytime radio) while I charted an unruly course through the New Romantic rammel of the early 1980s & onwards into a Birthday Party/Sonic Youth-bookended netherworld of shredded black clothing, cheap plastic cider in cheap plastic bottles, & mushroom clouds of Boots hairspray.

By the time I'd worked my way back 'round to wanting to hear Lowe's music again, many years later, virtually his entire discography was out of print & intermittent charity shop cameos by careworn Radar 7"s (each with it's own ravishing Barney Bubbles sleeve, of course) were the only financially feasible method of savouring his back catalogue. In fact, it's only relatively recently that any of Lowe's "classic"-period albums have received a respectable CD reissue, c/o Proper's generously appended/annotated editions of 1978's Jesus Of Cool (aka Pure Pop For Now People) & the following year's Labour of Lust. As debuts go, Jesus Of Cool was/is one of those era-defining records that might have easily undermined many lesser artist's careers, & though I've always been a little disgruntled by his abrupt rebuff of The New Wave, Lowe was probably very wise in not attempting to replicate Jesus Of Cool's sound on the follow up. Or ever again, in fact.

By the time of his third album, 1982's Nick the Knife, Lowe had officially parted company with Rockpile (though all of them, excepting Dave Edmunds, appear hereon sporadically), was married to Carlene Carter (thereby making him Johnny Cash's son-in-law! Cash, of course, later recorded several of Lowe's songs, including the brilliant "The Beast In Me") & was pursuing a far more laidback country-influenced direction, albeit with regular dashes of good ol' old school rock 'n' roll. Though not as immediate or power-poppy as it's vociferous predecessors, Nick The Knife has become, for me anyway, something of a world-weary perennial - what it lacks in waspish hit singles it makes up for with a cluster of first-rate Lowe-penned songs that are loaded with wit, insight & - dare I say it? - wisdom (a couple of which rank amongst his best ever). Notably, it features no cover versions, something of a rarity for a Lowe LP. Recorded & produced by Lowe himself, it sounds fantastic too. It's not been readily available for a long time & consequently original CD copies change hands for anything between £30 - £70 these days.

● Ba Doom

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing with us great blog about knife. I really like to share this blog with my friends.

    Out The Front Knives

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  2. Knife is one of the best records over all, anybody,any thing.The sound is so cool ! The tunes so concise yet deep.Even the cover is great.The Ian Pollack on the back!

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  3. Yep, it's a great LP - sadly it's been out of print for years, but surely it's only a matter of time before Nick gets the vinyl reissue treatment that everybody else seems to be benefitting from nowadays?

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