LA Times Quiet Please review March 2009

The back story: It’s natural that singer-songwriter Lowe would admire ABBA because there is a light, disarming, everyman touch to his own rock approach (admin note: there was a reference to Lowe being an ABBA fan in an ABBA review from the same LA Times column). Lowe also produced some of Costello’s great, early albums and wrote one of his most popular recordings, “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding.”

For all his solid craftsmanship and understated appeal, Lowe had only two Top 100 solo singles, the wry “Cruel to Be Kind” in 1979 and the fun-filled, high energy “I Knew the Bride (When She Used to Rock and Roll).” One reason is because he was overshadowed by Costello, a more provocative writer and performer.

In addition, Lowe was a maverick whose approach to rock ‘n’ roll was much closer to today’s “indie” spirit. He was reluctant to bow to all the compromises that major labels tried to impose on artists in the 1970s and 1980s.

The new two-disc package includes 49 recordings from various phases of Lowe’s career and there are delights at every turn, from way back to his work with the band Brinsley Schwarz to early solo gems “So It Goes” and “(I Love the Sound of) Breaking Glass” and his 1980 Rockpile album. The set also includes four tracks from “At My Age,” his 2007 album on Yep Roc.

A deluxe, limited edition of “Quiet Please” also contains a DVD featuring early Lowe videos and a 2007 concert filmed in Belgium. Whether you’re new to Lowe or need a re-introduction, this set makes a convincing case for his place among rock’s most valuable players.