Saturday, April 11, 2009

More Nick Lowe

After listening to him on my headphones last night, I decided to add a follow-up to my Nick Lowe post from last November . I appreciate the clarity of Lowe's lyrics and the stories they tell. He avoids cryptic verse that requires a decoder ring or an English lit degree, yet he's writing poetry. I think it's fair to characterize his songwriting "old school," in the mold of a master like Hoagy Carmichael. Occasionally Lowe verges too closely toward clever or cute, such as this line from his song "All Men Lie":
Do you remember Rick Astley?
Had a big fat hit, it was just ghastly

But then there is this beauty of a tune, "Lately I've Let Things Slide," which is full of both humor and pathos. The video quality is poor, but listen to the words and the phrasing:

Lowe recorded this next tune in the mid-1980s. "I Knew the Bride (When She Used to Rock and Roll)" is nothing more than a fun rocker.

I suspect that "I Knew the Bride" was influenced by Chuck Berry's wedding song "C'est La Vie" (aka "You Never Can Tell). Here's a version of that Cajun-flavored tune sung by a young Emmylou Harris. That’s the master of the Telecaster, Albert Lee, picking the guitar (on her left), and Rodney Crowell singing harmony (on her right).

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