Labour of Love: The Music of Nick Lowe

It's tough not to skip the first eight cuts on Labour of Love and go straight for Marshall Crenshaw and Christine Ohlman's take on "Cruel to Be Kind." Not only is the song what most of us know the lau

It's tough not to skip the first eight cuts on Labour of Love and go straight for Marshall Crenshaw and Christine Ohlman's take on "Cruel to Be Kind." Not only is the song what most of us know the lauded artist/ producer for—as it was his biggest U.S. hit—but it makes for a wonderful interpretive match, with Crenshaw's voice as smooth as ever and Ohlman's bitter vocals giving the song's second verse even more bite. Tom Petty and his Heartbreakers nearly rival that fun with a wild, gritty version of "Cracking Up." Charlie Musselwhite adds a smoky "Faithless Lover," and Dar Williams gets the 13-track set started with the schools-out fun of "All Men Are Liars." Elvis Costello, for whom Lowe (who just issued his 11th album, The Convincer, on Yep Roc) produced six albums, turns in a take on the reflective "Egypt." Graham Parker, C.J. Chenier, Levon Helm, and G.E. Smith also join the party.—WO
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