When Was The Last Time You Played This Album?

Power Pop

Nick Lowe “Labour of Lust”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#153 in the Series) is Nick Lowe, Labour of Lust.

When you’re in a crappy mood there is nothing better than popping on a good ol’ Nick Lowe disc!

We already did Rockpile about four months ago.  Rockpile was, of course, the joint effort of Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds.  This was Nick on his own.  Well supposedly it was.  However, even though it’s a Nick Lowe album, the band lineup is the same as the Rockpile album. Nick on bass, Dave Edmunds on guitar, Billy Bremmer on guitar and Terry Williams on drums.  Elvis Costello added harp to American Squirm.

There are 11 tracks totaling 33 minutes of music here.  Or as one of my friends says, Get to the point, get it done and get onto the next song!’

The first song was probably the song that Nick Lowe was most identified by. Cruel to be Kind.  A great ditty as we would say.  It was written by Nick and here’s a name you might have forgotten, Ian Gomm!

You may have also heard such songs as Cracking Up, Big Kick, Plain Scrap, Born Fighter and of course, Switchboard Susan.

Labour of Lust was released in 1979 and produced by Nick Lowe.

The album did not chart in the USA even though Cruel to be Kind hit number 12 on the Billboard Singles Chart.

Fun Stuff!

Here’s Cruel to be Kind from Live at Daryl’s Place. I followed it with the original promotional video.  Look for ‘then wife’ the lovely Carlene Carter! I’ve never done two versions of a song before.  I’ll make an exception for a pop masterpiece.


Sex Pistols “Never Mind the Bullocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#147 in the Series) is the Sex Pistols, Never Mind the Bullocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols.

This album was a huge deal when it came out in 1976. Punk Rock is Here. CBGBs!!! Malcolm McLaren!!! Johnny Rotten!! Sid Vicious!! ….and on and on and on.

What I remember about this album at the time was that I liked the songs.  I think many of them were pretty darn catchy and poppy myself, thank you.  Sure they were played with a much harder edge. But there was quite a bit of commercial pop in those tracks.  Don’t fool yourself.  For a movement that was so ‘anti-establishment’ there sure was a sound and a plan to sell records and make a pile of cash.

But that’s OK. I really liked a ton of songs on this record.

God Save the Queen, Anarchy in the UK, Pretty Vacant are all great tracks.

For those who don’t remember, the Sex Pistols were Johnny Rotten, Steve Jones, Sid Vicious, Glen Matlock and Paul Cook.

Never Mind the Bullocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols reached #106 on the Billboard Album Charts.

It was produced by Chris Thomas and Bill Price

Here’s Pretty Vacant performed on Letterman’s Show in 1996! It’s followed by the original studio version of God Save the Queen.


Material Issue “International Pop Overthrow”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#146 in the Series) is Material Issue, International Pop Overthrow.

One of the finest rock and roll albums to come out of the Chicago area in 1990s, Material Issue, International Pop Overthrow.

Material Issue was a three piece power pop band that wasn’t around very long.  They did put out some wonderful music while they did.

They were led by Jim Ellison. He was Material Issue.  He wrote most of the songs, sang the songs, played guitar on the songs and found a record label to release the songs, etc.

When Jim Elison died in 1996 so did Material Issue.

Ted Asani and Mike Zelenko made up the rest of the trio.

International Pop Overthrow was released in 1991.  It contained three well known songs that were the highlights of their career.  They were, Diane, Renee Remains the Same and Valerie Loves Me.

The early to mid nineties was a hot time for Chicago bands.  Smashing Pumpkins, Urge Overkill and Liz Phair led the way.

I’d rather listen to Material Issue myself.

Here’s the video for Valerie Loves Me followed by Diane performed live on the Dennis Miller Show. Last up is Renee Remains the Same


Cheap Trick “Cheap Trick”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#123 in the Series ) is the debut album by “Cheap Trick.”

Yeah, I know Cheap Trick’s “In Color” was a spectacular grouping of music, but I don’t want to hear how it’s better than they’re debut simply titled “Cheap Trick.”

“In Color” had some wonderful tracks, memorable ones indeed.  But it didn’t have the edge and rawness that the first album had.

They were released just a short time apart.  Seven months apart to be more precise.

Highlights from “Cheap Trick” include ‘Hot Love, He’s a Whore, Oh, Candy, Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Piece.’ A great ballad in ‘Mandocello’ plus ‘ELO Kiddies’ and my favorite ‘Taxman, Mr.Thief.’

I’ve long said that Robin Zander is one of the best pure rock singers I’ve ever heard.  If you want to hear a great example of that, listen to ‘Taxman.’

Guitarist Rick Nielson was the main songwriter here. Drums were handled by the great Bun E. Carlos, bass, Tom Petersson.

“Cheap Trick” was recorded at the Record Plant in NY and was produced by Jack Douglas.

On May 1st 1998 Cheap Trick performed this album in it’s entirety at Metro in Chicago. Yup, Ahhhhh, I was there!