Top 11 CDs of 2011: #6 Nick Lowe – The Old Magic
Nearly 30 years ago I saw Nick Lowe perform at Syracuse’s War Memorial as part of Rockpile, perhaps the best British Rockabilly band. Ever. His “Heart of the City” single more than adequately described my existence at that particular time.
When my wife and I got married I didn’t have much to do with the arrangements. My only requirement? The wedding band must play the old Lowe number “I Knew The Bride (When She Used To Rock N Roll)”. Other than that it was mostly Soft Cell and James Taylor, but I got what I wanted. In more than one way.
If you didn’t know any better, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to hear songs like “Checkout Time” or “Stoplight Roses” and think you were listening to recently discovered treasures from the Sun Records vault or outtakes from a lost Johnny Cash recording from the ’50s. As hyperbolic as that may sound, the eight originals and three covers that Lowe has recorded this time out are as good as pop music gets. – Paste Magazine
As I got older, I slowed down a bit but never lost the affinity for a song with a killer hook, and if it had that familiar Dave Edmunds twang to it, even better. The first concert I took My son to? It was a Nick Lowe acosutic performance in a Borders book store. All of eight years old at the time, my son shot this video of Lowe singing his classic, “What’s So Funny (’bout Peace, Love, and Understanding)”:
About that time I recall Lowe saying that in the time he spent as part of Little Village with John Hiatt, he had learned from the Nashville musicians involved that it was okay, maybe even desirable to tone it down a bit, that maybe a little less volume could actually make the song MORE. And so, the new Nick Lowe was born.
Ever since Party of One’s “Shakin’ on the Hill”, it’s been a very mellow, introspective Lowe. He and we are better off for it. The last few LPs have followed that form to great success.
The Old Magic is more of the same.
Unlike many of his contemporaries, Lowe has decided to embrace his advanced years (he’s now 62) instead of trying to hang on and cop to “this act they used to do and are condemned to do,” as Lowe stated in a New York Times interview recently. My favorite songs here are “Stoplight Roses”, “House For Sale”, “Sensitive Man”, and the entire second half of the disc. If you like great songwriting in the tradition of Arthur Alexander, Chet Baker, Johnny Cash, The Chilites, or Dan Penn, you want this recording.
From Rose of “England’s 7 Nights” to Rock to The Old Magic’s “Checkout Time”, Nick Lowe has written the soundtrack to my life.
Nick Lowe – Sensitive Man