Rockpile had finished touring in 1978 and it was time to head into the studio. It’s easy to see why this band, featuring Nick Lowe, became such s sought after opening act, after hearing this reissue originally produced in 1979.

The band consisted of Dave Edmunds (rhythm and solo guitar), Billy Bremner (rhythm and solo guitar), Terry Williams (drums), and Lowe as primary songwriter, bassist and vocalist.

The album immediately begins full-throttle with the pop ballad, which was originally Nick’s songwriting contribution to his previous band, Brinsley-Schwarz. Seasoned Lowe afficionados know this pop soliloquy by heart; its simple, but contagious chord progression and ironic lyrics make ‘Cruel to Be Kind’ an instant crowd pleaser, though it was A & R executive at Columbia Record’s, Greg Geller, who predicted the song’s hit potential.Lowe, at first, had considered the tune a bit “old fashioned”, but anyone who has seen the British producer/performer/writer, as of late, knows that by the first two chords, contemporary audiences are standing and singing along.

'Labour of Lust' is a fine mix of pure, unadulterated romance, witty wordplay and danceable rock/rhythm and blues. Add a dash of blues-harp by Huey Lewis on ‘Born Fighter’ and Elvis Costello singing backing vocals on ‘America Squirm’ and you get the picture. Overall, the honest songwriting floods the most sterile heart with emotion. ‘You Make Me’ is as unpolished a love song as one can imagine, for example, and, theirin lies the subtle beauty. ‘Without Love’ was structurally solid enough to be covered by Lowe’s former father-in-law. Johnny Cash; Lowe had once been married to Carlene Carter.

‘Cracking Up’ comes alive through convincing metaphor. The solitary cover,‘Switchboard Susan’, was written by Mickey Jupp, although the uncanny alliteration and clever rhyme schemes fit in quite comfortably with the other crisp performances.

'Labour of Lust' is a bright, unpretentious collection, a great starting point for any future Lowe fans as well as those mighty nostalgic for the veteran pub rocker.

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