Nick Lowe - Quality Street: A Seasonal Selection For All The Family (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
CASTING aside the fact that it feels strange to be listening to and reviewing a Christmas album in October, Nick Lowe’s Quality Street at least offers something a little bit different from the usual selection of festive hits gearing up to bombard us this time of year.
And, to be fair, Lowe himself apparently took some convincing over the merits of recording such an album.
“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?‘” he says. “But that feeling lasted about 36 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.”
He subsequently set about selecting a collection of 12 songs that would be “a sleigh bell-free zone” and has delivered a blend of traditional hymns, forgotten gems and Lowe originals that attempt to conjure up all the nostalgia, good cheer and warmth of the season.
The best moments include a beatnik bop version of Hooves on the Roof (written especially for the project by Ron Sexsmith), a swinging take on Just To Be With You (This Christmas), rockin’ versions of Children Go Where I Send Thee and Rise Up Shepherd (which has a deep south flavour akin to O’ Brother Where Aret Thou) and a New Orleans-style Silent Night that succeeds in putting a different, chirpier spin on the classic.
He also rounds it off with a breezy version of I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day that warms the cockles of your heart without overdosing on the schmaltz.
Overall, it’s a decent – and alternative – Christmas listen; family friendly and reassuring.
Download picks: Children Go Where I Send Thee, Old Toy Trains, Rise Up Shepherd, Silent Night, I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day