This is generally considered to be Nick's worst album (or one of the worst).
That doesn't mean it's bad it just mean's it's not up to the standards of what Nick Lowe fans expect. Having said that there are those who think the album is underappreciated
I'm a Nick Lowe fan, not a huge fan (in the sycophant style) but a big enough fan to have quite a bit of his work and always looking for more.
Check out my other comment for background on Nick.
Nick was riding on a high in the mid 1980s (critically and even commercially). As a producer he had kicked some solid goals (Paul Carrack, John Hiatt, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, The Men They Couldn't Hang, Elvis Costello) and his solo albums had been critically well received and sold well, not well enough to chart high, but well enough to give him an audience, in the US as well as in the UK.
Nick had gone into more Americana roots rock (though with English themes) on his previous two albums "Nick Lowe & His Cowboy Outfit" (1984) and "The Rose of England" (1985) and here he did much the same.
The album, though, seems to be a bit of a mish mash. It was recorded in Austin, Texas (Spring 1986), London ( throughout 1986 and 1987) and in Wales in 1987. Lowe produces himself (with an assist from Colin Fairley) and indulges himself. Iin Austin he gets friend Jimmie Vaughan from The Fabulous Thunderbirds to join him, on the John Hiatt track he gets Hiatt to come along, and on "Wishing Well" he has "The Men They Couldn't Hang" who he had just produced, to assist him. On one track, "Lovers Jamboree", he gets long time friend Dave Edmunds to produce.
But mish mash or not Lowe is his own man. Here we have his usual servings of spicy pub rock 'n' roll and smooth pop with dollops of roadhouse R&B, late night Americana balladeering, and sprinkles of country and Cajun. There is even a dash of reggae (something I don't encourage normally).
All of this is done without a hint of self-consciousness or effort. Nick has never tried to pretend he is American (even when wearing his cowboy outfit). He loves the music, the culture and the sounds and is happy to take from them the emotions and the rhythms and place them over, and on, his tales of England.
I enjoy his tales and observations on the contemporary world but here they are lacking as it seems that he has gone for generic songs about love and loss (across all tempos of music). There is nothing wrong with that of course but I just like the humour and observations of his other writing which he would normally mix in with material like this.
Nick could do this in his sleep but even average Nick is worthwhile.
All songs written by Nick Lowe, except as indicated:
Tracks (best in italics)
- (You're My) Wildest Dream – a touch of Cajun this has a down home rough almost demo feel to it which works in favour of the song.
- Crying In My Sleep – a country pop ballad with just a touch of humour to off set the sad subject matter of the song. This one is strangely under-produced. Good song though.
- Big Hair – a cute song in the " I Knew the Bride" mould.
- Love Gets Strange – (John Hiatt) – The John Hiatt tune. Don Dixon did a well known (?) version in 1989 but I prefer this version.
- I Got The Love – a ballad with an ominous organ.
- Black Lincoln Continental – (Graham Parker) – The Graham Parker tune from his "Steady Nerves" album (1985). It sounds like a Graham Parker song. Lowe probably does it a little less stridently and better.
- Cry It Out – reggae beats! Wtf. Only Jimmy Buffett could get away with this on a roots type album and even then I would have reservations. It's a pretty enough song and reggae influences had permeated the mainstream in the English charts but …
- Lovers Jamboree – (Nick Lowe, Paul Carrack) – Now this is good funky old time rootsy rock, southern Louisiana style.
- Geisha Girl – (Lawton Williams) – A #4 C&W hit for Hank Locklin in 1957. The song is a time capsule song and Lowe does it's innocence justice. Beautiful in its own way.
- Wishing Well – Lowe's version of an old school mid tempo country pop tune. Not too bad.
- Big Big Love – (Ray Carroll, Wynn Stewart) – Wynn Stewart's #18 US C&W hit from 1961. More country pop and Lowe does it big and with the chorus it sounds more than a little like The Kinks song "Complicated Life" from their alt-country-ish masterpiece "Muswell Hillbillies" (1971).
Patchy but still good in parts … I'm keeping it.
Nothing no where
(You're My) Wildest Dream
Crying In My Sleep
Love Gets Strange
Cry It Out
Big Big Love
- The was playing on what is here: http://www.discogs.com/Nick-Lowe-Pinker-And-Prouder-Than-Previous/release/655085