I love Nick Lowe, I really do. In my benighted age bracket, my love for him is probably second to none. But Jiminy Christmas, how many tribute albums can one man’s back catalogue support?
First there was Labour of Love in 2001, and that was fine—we didn’t know what was coming. Then that was followed a mere four years later by Lowe Profile , which had two main problems: The covering artists were all nobodies, apart from maybe Ian Gomm; and for some reason, it was allowed to metastasize into a two-disc set . Thirty whole and distinct tracks. That alone should have been plenty, no? Considering that Nick was also well represented on the Stiff Records tribute album Stiff Generation ?
Apparently not, because a third Nick Lowe tribute album is coming out: Lowe Country ( streaming here ). I have no problem with the line-up or their song choices. Truthfully, of all the new songs I’ve heard this month, Caitlin Rose’s “Lately I’ve Let Things Slide” stands out as a great track. But that brings the total number of these tribute albums to three (or three-and-three-quarters, depending on how you count the two-disc set and Stiff Generation ). In eleven years. That’s just excessive. If you traveled back in time to the ’80s and told the Stiffs regulars that in 2012 Nick Lowe would have more tribute albums than the rest of them put together, Elvis Costello would have slapped your face.
Then again, you’d also be forced to say that, out of all of them, the only one to have a movie made about his life would be Ian Dury, so they might just have assumed time travel had addled your brain.