Friday, August 21, 2020

So It Goes- Nick Lowe- 1975 Stiff Demos

Photo by Dick Wingate
 A New York Daily News article from 2007 quoted Nick Lowe as saying his greatest fear in recent years was "sticking with what you did when you were famous." "I didn't want to become one of those thinning-haired, jowly old geezers who still does the same shtick they did when they were young, slim and beautiful," he said. "That's revolting and rather tragic." 
For many musicians and bands this is the formula they stick with to keep the old fans happy and let the new fans enjoy what they are famous for. Nick Lowe has had a long and interesting career. His first stab at success was with Brinsley Schwarz (the band) from the 1969 to the mid-70's. They produced a whopping six full length albums (not counting compilations) and when the band split Bob Andrews and Brinsley Schwarz (the guitar player) joined Graham Parker and the Rumour, while Ian Gomm and Lowe began solo careers. Around this time, Lowe joined up with Dave Edmonds, who produced New Favorites Of...Brinsley Schwarz, to form Rockpile with Billy Bremner and Terry Williams. This unit produced albums under Edmonds name (Tracks On Wax 4 and Repeat When Necessary) and Nick Lowe's second solo record, Labour Of Lust, along with Seconds Of Pleasure from 1980. For me, I first became aware of Nick Lowe through his biggest hit, Cruel To Be Kind which got radio play at the time and though I didn't realize it at the time, this song would later rank high in my favourite song list. I would go as far to say it's the perfect pop song (or power-pop?) and Labour Of Lust still gets lots of love on my turntable and iPod. Lowe remained steadily active through the 80's and I own all his albums up until 1988's, Pinker and Prouder. He also served double duty at times as a highly respected producer and was involved with some ground breaking releases from Graham Parker, The Damned and Elvis Costello. I honestly haven't followed Lowe through his releases in the 90's and 2000's when he moved away from power pop to a more balladeer, singer-songwriter mode.

In this decade, Nick Lowe has experienced a bit of revival of sorts. In 2011, Yep Roc re-released, Labour Of Lust and Wilco covered the song, I Love My Label which led to a joint tour, that exposed Lowe to a younger, hip audience. More recently, the mexican wrestling mask wearing surf-guitar band, Los Straitjackets became Lowe's backing band and toured together providing a very interesting dynamic both visually and musically. I've listened to some of those shows and they are fantastic, sparking with genuine energy that comes across in the music and performances. I've always been a reader of good music biographies and one that I am considering next is Cruel To Be Kind: The Life And Times Of Nick Lowe that came out about a year ago. I am curious about some the behind the scenes stories and his interaction within the bands he was in and the musicians he produced. Sounds like an interesting read. So, why hasn't Rockpile reunited? How about Brinsley Schwarz? Don't know if he touches on those subjects or if he wants to revisit that "same shtick when he was young..."

During the period between the breakup of Brinsley Schwarz and the formation of Rockpile, Nick Lowe recorded some demos for Stiff Records in 1975. Some of these songs were recorded later and appeared on later albums (Tonight on Jesus of Cool/PPFNP, Here She Comes- sounds like an early version of Deborah from Tracks On Wax 4) and Little Darlin' was recorded by Dave Edmonds. I'm sort of surprised, the demo for So It Goes isn't here. The song was Stiff Records' first single and Lowe was their first artist and he became the label's in-house producer. Though he was already a seasoned musician, recording artist and performer, these demos are a very important document from Lowe's early solo career.

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Stiff Demos (1975)
(Some solo, some band)


01. Here She Comes Again
02. Tonight
03. Living In The 70's
04. Time And Time Again
05. She's My Baby
06. I Respect You for That
07. Little Darlin'
08. So Heavy (original version)

Bonus tracks
09. Halfway To Paradise (alternate version)
10. Is It You (live)
11. Lonely Just Like Me (live w/Imp. Birds)
12. Juju Man


Jobe said...

Thanks for these. I think I read somewhere that Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe are no longer on speaking terms, do you know if that's true?

Post Post Modern Dad said...

These are very necessary for any Lowe fan, regardless of which era of his you prefer.

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