Saturday, 26 January 2013

Albums for Life: 61: Nick Lowe: Jesus of Cool

After the break up of Brinsley Schwarz in 1975, within two years Nick Lowe had reestablished himself as an artist, songwriter, record producer and celebrated instigator of the 'New Wave'. With a debut album ready for release he was the 'it' boy. Sounds writer, Tim Lott, noted that he had become 'a bona fide Jesus Of Cool'! His manager Jake Riviera jumped on the line. Lowe remembers, 'We thought it was ludicrous but fantastic, an outrageous thing to say. It seems like nothing now, but at the time it fitted perfectly. The Americans wouldn't go with it, of course. They wanted a different title, thus 'Pure Pop For Now People'. Jake loved it – "Two album titles? Yes Please!" - it was right up his street."

The album was released on Rivera's new label Radar in March 1978, after his and Lowe's departure from Stiff Records. It was a Top 30 hit. This was vibrant music made by rejuvenated journeymen; who'd been previously rejected by the big labels as past it. With so many musical references this could have been an unfocussed pot pouri, but there was an urgency to the musical motifs that made the whole thing irresistible. Lowe trod the ground down for other musical magpies like Squeeze and 10cc. There are two songs of the new wave that I vividly remember giddily dancing around my parents lounge to, one was Costello's 'Red Shoes', the other was the infectious pop of 'So it Goes'. I've read Lowe described as 'a sceptic with a good heart' and that perfectly describes the joyful hook ridden nose thumbing nature of the album.
I love his newer stuff too, 'Basher' relaxing into old age by skillfully reconstructing the R'n'B that he obviously loves, but with 'Jesus of Cool' you hear the sound of a man breaking glass and sense a collective middle digit leveled in the direction of 'the suits'.


  1. Nice choice Mr Jones. Remember So it Goes and Heart of the City. I've always meant to buy this since it was rereleased. Must do.

  2. Heart of the City features some stellar guitar playing from Dave Edmunds and/or Billy Bremner.
    It's a great reissue Seamus; for once the extra tracks don't spoil the flow because... there is no real flow; just pop moment after pop moment; like... erm... a box of chocolates (sorry) with no repeated fillings. The remastering makes it all doubly sweet.

  3. This is a great album and a classic reissue. Remember seeing him live wuth Rockpile (remember them). Such a gent too.

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