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Nick Lowe
"Jesus of Cool"
(USA Title: "Pure Pop for Now People")
Not so much a reissue…more a resurrection!
Irish Release Date February 22, '08
Proper Records - Distributed in Ireland By EMD
Originally released in 1978 JESUS OF COOL remains Nick Lowe's biggest selling album and spawned the Top 10 hit 'I Love The Sound Of Breaking Glass.'
Jesus Of Cool returns with its original 11 tracks and an additional 10 rarities.
Deluxe packaging in a cruciform shape with original sleeve artwork plus much more, using unseen photos from the famous session and rare memorabilia.
The fully illustrated booklet contains notes by acknowledged expert Will Birch with recollections from Nick Lowe and others involved.

He was a washed-up veteran of the beat group wars with an empty diary and a sore back, having kipped on a couch since the 1975 break up of his former group, Brinsley Schwarz. But within two years Nick Lowe had established himself as an artist, songwriter, record producer and celebrated instigator of the ‘New Wave’, via the ingenuity of Stiff Records and his own unique vision. With his debut album ready to ship, Nick was walking on water. In the words of Sounds writer, Tim Lott, he had become ‘a bona fide Jesus Of Cool’!

Manager Jake Riviera was quick to seize on Lott’s phrase for the album title. ‘We thought it was ludicrous but fantastic,’ says Nick, ‘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.’

Tracks: Music For Money / I Love The Sound Of Breaking Glass / Little Hitler / Shake And Pop / Tonight / So It Goes / No Reason / 36 Inches High / Marie Provost / Nutted By Reality / Heart Of The City (live).

Bonus tracks: Shake That Rat / I Love My Label / They Called It Rock / Born A Woman / Endless Sleep / Halfway To Paradise / Rollers Show / Cruel To Be Kind (original version) / Heart Of The City / I Don't Want The Night To End.

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Somewhere in London a musician lives who carries the keys to the musical kingdom. In his Technicolor sonic scope are all kinds of sounds, from rock to country to soul to pop. Nothing is off limits, as long as it has a groove and goodness based in reality. The musician has been performing for 40 years, but is as fresh today as the first time he stepped on stage. There are no tricks or short cuts here. Far from it. His songs are as solid as the earth, yet carry no lingering hype or heaviness. The musician is Nick Lowe, the headmaster of British rock, and his new album, At My Age, is such a cause for certain celebration that fans and neophytes alike should mark its release as a date to remember.

Maybe most interesting of all, At My Age was really an album that almost didn’t happen, or at least like it did. “It’s a record that I never really started,” Lowe says. “What normally happens in recent years when I feel like I want to do a record is I get an idea or feeling, along with about three or four new songs, which is a major body of work for me, because I’m not very prolific. When those two things coincide I call everyone up and we go in and record. And if that goes well, those three or four songs will serve as sort of the engine that will drive the writing and recording of the rest of the record. But that process never happened with this one, due to the dramas that have been served up to me in the last five years.”

For Nick Lowe, it’s always been about quality over quantity. In 2001 he released The Convincer, seen by many as one of the highlights of a long and illustrious recording career. After that, though, all went quiet on the studio front. There were scattered dates, a live album and assorted sightings, but no new studio release. That changed this year. Once he got back with his steady team of band mates Bobby Irwin (drums), Geraint Watkins (keyboards) and Steve Donnelly (guitar), there was no stopping them, even if the actual process was different. “This album has been recorded over such a long period of time in dribs and drabs that I don’t really have any perspective on it at all. This isn’t a bad thing, necessarily, but it’s like a bunch of tracks I’ve recorded to keep my hand in while I wait to start my next album.”

Sometimes the biggest gift of all comes when least expected, because as a collection of songs, At My Age actually has the feel of an all-timer. There are brand new Nick Lowe classics like “A Better Man” and “I Trained Her To Love Me” next to the obscure covers that are a total trademark of the ever-elegant Englishman, like Charlie Feathers’ “The Man In Love” and Faron Young’s “Feel Again.” And, as a special surprise, singer Chrissie Hynde guests on “People Change.” All are done with such supreme style and absolute substance that by album’s end, this is one collection that feels like a long-lost friend, music to bring on the good times and see listeners through the bad.

For Lowe, one of his secret weapons has always been as a songwriter of the highest order. “The last few records I’ve done have been a bit of my diary set to music,” he says. “I was feeling kind of blue and trying to describe some of what happens to everyone. It’s a rite of passage, really, the breaking up of relationships and all. But it’s different on this album, I suppose.”

Nick Lowe has proven one again his pen is mightier than ever, as evidenced by others like soul kings Howard Tate and Solomon Burke both doing earlier renditions of Lowe originals on At My Age. “It’s good when anyone does one of your songs, but I really like it best when they’re not too reverential with it, and they don’t do it like I did.” Another Lowe classic has been recently covered by the Holmes Brothers. “What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace, Love & Understanding?” has been turned into a relentless statement of belief and faith by the Brothers, a fact not lost on Lowe. “When I heard that recently,” he says, “I just stood straight up and thought, ‘My goodness, they’ve really outdone everyone.’ Those are the moments where it’s almost too good to be true.”

One constant quality of Nick Lowe is that he knows what he’s doing, and how he wants to do it. There is no room for equivocation there. “It’s a difficult thing, really, with the music I do,” he says. “I know my thing doesn’t have huge broad appeal, and it’s sort of retro. But I can’t stand that retro thing, at the same time. I try to put something in it so it doesn’t sound like it’s too earnest. And I still love playing with the same guys I’ve been playing with for, well, ages. They’re really great players, and they get me. They can do all kinds of different stuff, and we know what we don’t like. We will work on it a bit, but not labor over it. For me, it’s never like, ‘For the next album I’m going to Peru and find a nose flute.” Never.

With someone like Nick Lowe, who has been such an unending influence on music as a performer, songwriter, producer and all-around proud fan, there is always the question of how he knows when his songs are ready for their public debut. “When I can pick up an acoustic guitar and play the thing through,” he says, “if I can do that and it feels like someone else has written it, or I’m playing a cover song so it doesn’t sound like me anymore, then it’s done. I don’t try to make it anything, because when I try to make it something I can’t stand it. It needs to be as natural as possible, and generally not sound too much like me. It’s an inner gyroscope that lets you know when it’s done.”

Lowe’s gyroscope is spinning just fine these days, and At My Age shows there is no end in sight. Once again, the man who once dubbed himself a Party of One proves that he’s still not only the life of that musical party, but even better, a primary force which makes sure the party won’t be stopping any time soon. Nick Lowe, ever the insightful gentleman, is also aware of the ups and downs of the pop life, and has managed to steer clear of shipwrecks and sharks from the start, knowing it’s all part of a lifetime pursuit. “You can never plan it out,” he rightly reasons. “You just do what’s sent to you.” At My Age is special delivery rock, pop and soul, straight from the heart of one of music’s finest masters.

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