Thursday, June 6, 2013

A Few From the Former Mrs. Nick Lowe

It happens every time. I post something about Nick Lowe and then lose myself in his music for days. I'm digging deep today to bring you songs from his ex-wife, Carlene Carter. Lowe was married to her from 1979 to 1990 (that was her getting hitched to Lowe in the "Cruel to Be Kind" music video), and he had his fingerprints all over her work while they were a couple. Two of those albums, 'Musical Shapes' from 1980 and 'Blue Nun' from 1981, are quite good. Carter surrounded herself with the usual suspects from Lowe's bands... with fantastic results. Dave Edmunds, Billy Bremner, Terry Williams, Bobby Irwin and Paul Carrack are all there. To these ears, 'Musical Shapes' leans a little bit country, and the dial on 'Blue Nun' points a little bit Rockpile. Lowe produced both records and co-wrote some of the songs.

Lowe and his pals seem to have been less involved with 'Two Sides to Every Woman' from 1979 and 'C'Est C Bon' from 1983, and it's reflected in the final product. Still, there are a couple of interesting curiosities, including a Carter/Lowe composition called "Do It in a Heartbeat" and a cover of "Radio Sweetheart." John McFee played guitar on 'Two Sides to Every Woman,' and you may recognize his name from playing pedal steel on Elvis Costello's original version (EC's first professionally recorded song, trivia fans!), as well as popping up all over 'My Aim Is True.' Lowe, of course, produced that gem from 1977.

After 'C'Est C Bon,' Carter didn't release another album for seven years. By then the marriage was over. I haven't bought anything else by her outside of these four albums because, frankly, the Lowe connection wasn't there. You may know some of these picks below from other albums, such as Carrack's version of "Don't Give My Heart a Break" on 'Suburban Voodoo' and Lowe's version of "Too Many Teardrops" on 'Nick the Knife.'

Carlene Carter - Do It in a Heartbeat (mp3) (1979)
Carlene Carter - Radio Sweetheart (mp3) (1979)
Carlene Carter - Baby Ride Easy (mp3) (1980) (duet w/ Edmunds)
Carlene Carter - Oh How Happy (mp3) (1981) (duet w/ Carrack)
Carlene Carter - Too Many Teardrops (mp3) (1981)
Carlene Carter - Don't Give My Heart a Break (mp3) (1983)

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