Today, a little Christmas music gift for me. I’ve been a fan of Nick Lowe since I found a discount cassette of Rockpile’s “Seconds of Pleasure” on sale at the University of Missouri student union. It’s a magnificent collection of rootsy power pop. From there, I moved to Nick’s 1985 solo album, “The Rose of England” and have followed him every since.
If you don’t know Nick, you might recognize his one Top 40 hit, “Cruel to be Kind,” or Elvis Costello’s cover of “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding.” In 2013, Nick got around to making a Christmas album, “Quality Street.” The name comes from a tin of British chocolate and sweets that’s a popular Christmas treat – a mix of different flavors in one package.
The one “Quality Street” song that has a full video is a Nick Lowe original, “Christmas at the Airport.” Nick says he wrote most of it while waiting for a flight in Zürich. Just like every song on the album – no sleigh bells!
Here’s Nick’s cover of “Children, Go where I Send Thee.” It’s a traditional spiritual that, like “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” builds by one with each verse. Nick does skip a few to get the whole thing done in under 2:40.
I have a lot of Christmas records and I’ll listen to a song or three before getting out something else. “Quality Street” is one of the few that I listen to all the way through. A personal favorite of mine, and one Nick himself didn’t know before starting the project, is Roger Miller’s “Old Toy Trains.”