Los Straitjackets to Release an Album of Nick Lowe Covers
When Nick Lowe began his Quality Holiday Revue in 2014, he tapped the highly respected instrumental band Los Straitjackets as his backing ensemble.
This union was documented on a 2015 live album and now Los Straitjackets have done a full album of Lowe songs. What’s So Funny About Peace, Love and Los Straitjackets, due May 19 on Yep Roc, showcases the band’s instrumental renderings of 13 Lowe numbers.
The CD’s song selection spans Lowe’s long solo career. Several go back to his solo debut, Jesus of Cool, including “Shake and Pop,” a track cut from the U.S. version, Pure Pop for Now People. “Checkout Time” and “I Read A Lot” come from 2011's, The Old Magic. The band also covers some of Lowe’s best known songs, “Heart of the City,” “Cruel to Be Kind” and “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding" (embedded above), which dates from Lowe’s time in the British pub rock band Brinsley Schwarz.
Los Straitjackets, known for their instrumental prowess as well as their Mexican wrestling masks, went all in for this Lowe salute. There’s the album art, which pays homage to the Jesus of Cool album cover. They also utilized Lowe’s perennial piano-man Geraint Watkins, his producer Neil Brockbank and even enlisted Lowe’s son Royston on percussion. Lowe also contributes vocals to one song.
“Recording these songs reminded me what a great melodist Nick is,” Los Straitjackets’ guitarist and co-founder Eddie Angel remarked in their press release. “Everybody knows that he writes great lyrics, but he doesn’t always get credit for his amazing melodies. The fact that the songs stand up as instrumentals is proof of that. And I think that we managed to bring something new to the songs.”
The band, which also features guitarist Eddie Angel, bassist Pete Curry and drummer Chris Sprague, do put their signature stamp of twang, surf and roots exotica on these songs. Helping to achieve this sound was the return of co-founding guitarist Danny Amis, who has had to sit out the past few years due to health reasons.
In June, Los Straitjackets hit the road with Marshall Crenshaw to co-headline a tour where they will do an instrumental set along with collaborations. Crenshaw coincidentally is no stranger to Nick Lowe’s music too, having contributing two tracks to the 2001 Nick Lowe tribute, Labour of Love. Full tour details can be found on their website.
Los Straitjackets, 'What’s So Funny About Peace, Love and Los Straitjackets' Track Listing
1. "Shake and Pop"
2. "All Men Are Liars"
3. "Lately I’ve Let Things Slide"
4. "You Inspire Me"
5. "Rollers Show"
6. "(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding"
7. "I Read a Lot"
8. "Half a Boy and Half a Man"
9. "Checkout Time"
10. "I Live on a Battlefield"
11. "Raging Eyes"
12. "Cruel to Be Kind"
13. "Heart of the City"
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