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Nick Lowe - Quality Street: A Seasonal Selection For All The Family 180g Vinyl LP - direct audio

Nick Lowe - Quality Street: A Seasonal Selection For All The Family 180g Vinyl LP

Yep Roc Records

  • $ 2698

Nick Lowe Quality Street: A Seasonal Selection For All The Family 180g Vinyl LP

When Nick Lowe was approached by his record label about making a Christmas album, his reaction wasn't exactly one of comfort and joy. “It was more disquiet and alarm, accompanied by feelings of 'Do they really think I would wish to sully my good name on this tawdry and vulgar commercialism?'” Lowe says with a laugh. “But that feeling lasted about thirty-six and a half seconds, before I came to and thought, 'Vulgar, tawdry commercialism? Yes, please, when do we start?' Seriously, I thought, 'Wait a minute, this could be really good fun.'”

Though Lowe admits the holiday season was for many years something he “suffered through a bit,” that changed when he became a father for the first time in 2005. “There's no doubt that since I had a little boy, I've sort of rediscovered some of the joys of Christmas,” Lowe says. And the joys of Christmas infuse the dozen songs on Quality Street: A Seasonal Selection For All The Family (the title is a nod to a famous UK manufacturer of holiday sweets, while the Wes Anderson-ish cover image was conceived by Lowe's wife, designer Peta Waddington).

As Lowe assembled his band and began thinking about how to add a new twist to the seasonal songbook, he made one rule. “We tried to make it a sleigh bell-free zone,” he says. “Really, what we wanted to do first was find songs either which people hadn't heard millions of times before, but which were really good songs that we could get our teeth into and change them around.”

Lowe continues, “Or if we were going to cover songs that were well-known, we wanted to do ones that we could put a brand new suit of clothes on. The third option, of course, was to write some of our own, which is a bit of a taller order. You can knock out some jingle bell thing, but that's not what we were trying to do. We were aiming for something which had a bit of quality to it. It all sounds straightforward and easy, but it was a lot harder to get the material together than you might think.”

Though Lowe had planned to start recording in the weeks leading up to Christmas, a spell of ill health pushed the project into the new year, a time when most of us are relieved to be free of stockings and Santa for another eleven months. “When we started, I was really convinced that we needed to use the energy of the Christmas we were about to have to fling ourselves out into the new year, and into spring,” Lowe says. “We thought we might have to festoon the studio with holly and Christmas cards, and put up a tree. But not at all. It was just a good time and a laugh throughout. And when we finished, it was almost like somebody had woken us up from a dream.”

While Lowe's own childhood holiday memories are full of gifts of plastic guitars and Davy Crockett hats (“All kids in Britain got the same four toys,” he laughs), along with big family gatherings, he says that the genre of Christmas music “doesn't really exist in this country. The Brits are just too uptight about the whole thing. We've got a few good Christmas songs. But the Brits just do not enter into that whole-hearted spirit of embracing the schmaltz and corniness of it like the Americans do.”

Nick Lowe Quality Street A Seasonal Selection For All The Family Track Listing:

1. Children Go Where I Send Thee - traditional
2. Christmas Can't Be Far Away - by Boudleaux Bryant
3. Christmas at the Airport - by Nick Lowe
4. Old Toy Trains - by Roger Miller
5. The North Pole Express
6. Hooves on the Roof - by Ron Sexsmith
7. I Was Born in Bethlehem - by Nick Lowe
8. Just To Be With You (This Christmas) - by Ross Bon
9. Rise Up Shepherd - traditional
10. Silent Night - traditional
11. A Dollar Short of Happy - by Nick Lowe + Ry Cooder
12. I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day - by Wizzard

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