Nick Lowe and his somewhat short-lived Cowboy Outfit was together only a few months before heading off in another direction. That was the thing about Nick Lowe; he was always in the middle of trying something new out. The Cowboy Outfit was an homage to Roots Rock of the 1950s. One album came out of it which was critically acclaimed, but not a commercial success. And then it was on to other things, including a studio-only collaboration, Little Village with John Hiatt, Ry Cooder and Jim Keltner.
My first recollection of Nick Lowe was via Brinsley Schwarz, a band that formed right after the demise of Kippington Lodge. The Brinsley’s were heavily promoted by United Artists (their label in the U.S. as well as UK) and they were probably one of the most underrated bands of the 70s, at least as far as the U.S. market was concerned. In the UK they established themselves at the forefront of the Pubrock revival in the early 1970s. A revival that branched off into many successful careers and became a popular genre because the Pub atmosphere was a lot different than the Arena, which bands were leaning towards in the early 70s – it was a backlash to the increasing difficulty of getting close to the music.
A New York Daily News article once quoted Lowe as saying his greatest fear in recent years was “sticking with what you did when you were famous.” “I didn’t want to become one of those thinning-haired, jowly old geezers who still does the same shtick they did when they were young, slim and beautiful,” he said. “That’s revolting and rather tragic.” Rock critic Jim Farber observed, “Lowe’s recent albums, epitomized by the new At My Age, moved him out of the realms of ironic pop and animated rock and into the role of a worldly balladeer, specialiing in grave vocals and graceful tunes. Lowe’s four most recent solo albums mine the wealth of American roots music, drawing on vintage country, soul and R&B to create an elegant mix of his own.”
If you missed Nick Lowe’s Cowboy Outfit the first time around, here’s a chance to catch them again, as they were in 1984 at the Paris Theatre in London for the BBC‘s In Concert series.