Nick Lowe

The New York Times, in a rare display of accuracy, once noted that “his songs are better known than he is!” Despite the fact that he is most revered as a composer and producer (Elvis Costello, Graham Parker, The Damned, his ex-wife Carlene Carter, and Dave Edmunds, among many others) Nicholas Drain Lowe is an extraordinary bassist as evidenced by his stellar work in the pub rock super-groups Brinsley Schwarz, Rockpile, and Little Village, and on his brilliant cannon of solo releases.

Akin to Sir Paul, Lowe’s bass artistry stems from the fact that every note he plays serves the song. All of his dozen or so releases under his own name are worth exploring, yet Nick’s 1978 debut masterpiece – which arrived under the title of Jesus of Cool in the U.K. and Pure Pop for Now People for us provincial god-fearing Yanks in the USA – is the one I keep returning to. Armed with a four strings, a plectrum, and no track surpassing 3:45, Lowe is masterful in: hard rock mode (“Music for Money”), shuffle/swing (“And So It Goes”), unabashed disco (Nutted By Reality), Brit-reggae (“No Reason”), new wave “(Shake and Pop”), bar band bravura (“They Call It Rock”) and the album’s undeniable centerpiece featuring one of the great pop rock bass grooves of all time “I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass.”