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Los Straitjackets - What’s So Funny about Peace, Love and Los Straitjackets?

  by Tommy Gunnarsson

published: 12 / 6 / 2017

Los Straitjackets - What’s So Funny about Peace, Love and Los Straitjackets?
Label: Yep Roc
Format: CD


Fabulous latest record from Nashville-based surf/rockabilly/punk rock band Los Straitjackets, who have toured with Nick Lowe as his backing group and have now recorded an album's worth of instrumental covers of his songs

To be honest, I had never heard of Nashville band Los Straitjackets until they started touring as Nick Lowe's backing band on his Holiday Revue tours in the US and Europe, but apparently they have had a devoted fan base ever since their formation more than twenty years ago. And I can see why. I had the pleasure of seeing them perform with Lowe in Stockholm last December, and they were both a brilliant backing band and an endlessly entertaining live act at the same time. Their new album is a covers album, featuring thirteen songs from Nick Lowe's solo career (even though the title track, 'What's So Funny 'Bout Peace, Love and Understanding?' was originally recorded with his former band, Brinsley Schwarz). These expand from the B-side of the debut single, 'Heart of the City', to 'I Read a Lot' and 'Checkout Time', which are taken from his last studio album, 'That Old Magic', which was released in 2011 (not counting the Christmas album, 'Quality Street', in 2013). During the Holiday tours, the Straitjackets had a slot in the middle of the show where they played their own songs, while Lowe took a break backstage, and there they incorporated one of Nick's songs as well. When I saw them last year, they played the old semi-hit single 'I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass', a song that Nick rarely plays live. Oddly that song is not featured on this album, but they have included a couple of other songs that are rarely heard at Lowe shows, like the aforementioned 'Heart of the City', and 'Shake & Pop', taken from his 1978 debut solo album, 'Jesus of Cool' (or 'Pure Pop for Now People', as it's also called). The cover art for the latter is also spoofed by the Straitjackets here, with Nick himself appearing on one of the six pictures. All in all, I really enjoyed this album. The Straitjackets have done a good job ”transferring” the songs from vocally driven songs to instrumentals, and you really notice how good Lowe is as a songwriter, not just as a lyricist. If you have ever wondered how the songs of Nick Lowe would sound if played by The Shadows, now here's the answer! But I would also like to add that this is not just an album for the already converted.

Track Listing:-
1 Shake and Pop
2 All Men Are Liars
3 Lately I've Let Things Slide
4 You Inspire Me
5 Rollers Show
6 Peace, Love and Understanding
7 I Read a Lot
8 Half a Boy and Half a Man
9 Checkout Time
10 I Live on a Battlefield
11 Raging Eyes
12 Cruel to Be Kind
13 Heart of the City

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