American Squirm

Nick Lowe's ‘Labour of Lust’ is back in print

American Squirm

As follow-up to the reissues in this week’s Music section, let’s not forget Nick Lowe’s second album, Labour Of Lust. Back in print on vinyl for the first time in 30 years and on CD after nearly 20, it contains Lowe’s sole foray onto the American pop charts, “Cruel to Be Kind.”

Nineteen seventy-nine was a banner year for the former bassist and songwriter of 1970s UK pub rockers Brinsley Schwarz. Lowe continued his recording partnership with Elvis Costello, produced the first Pretenders album, and married Johnny Cash’s stepdaughter, Carlene Carter.

That was also the year that he, Dave Edmunds, Billy Bremner, and Terry Williams – the four musicians who would later become Rockpile – recorded both Labour of Lust and Edmunds’ Repeat When Necessary simultaneously.

While lumped in with New Wave at the time, Labour of Love's chiming guitars and near Everly Brothers harmonies on the power-pop “American Squirm” and countryfied “Without Love” (later covered by Cash) bridged 1960s pop with punk elan. As there were different UK and U.S. versions of the album, the reissue combines all available tracks. plus hard to find B-side “Basing Street,” an unadorned vocal that's prophetic given Lowe’s turn toward crooning in the past decade.

Lowe's scheduled to release a new disc, The Old Magic, in September and has announced that he’ll serve as the opening act for the first leg of Wilco’s upcoming tour, which unfortunately will only get as close to Texas as St. Louis.

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More Nick Lowe
The Old Magic
The Old Magic
Live Shot of Nick Lowe at La Zona Rosa

Jim Caligiuri, May 9, 2012

15 Minutes with Nick Lowe
15 Minutes with Nick Lowe
Q&A with Nick Lowe, who opens for Wilco Thursday

Jim Caligiuri, Nov. 29, 2011

More by Jim Caligiuri
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Nick Lowe, Labour of Lust, Reissues, Elvis Costello, Cruel to be Kind, Rockpile, American Squirm, Dave Edmunds, Rockpile, Pretenders, Wilco, Basing Street

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