FC 38589 The Abominable Showman
Produced by Roger Bechirian with Nick Lowe
Released on June 1983
Find it at GEMM
FC 38589 cover
[high resolution photo]

M ore than grizzly bearable, and yeti critics tend to give this one the cold showder. I actually warmed up to The Abominable Showman faster than the Knife, and today it ranks right below Lust as one of my favorite Lowe records. However, I tend to be in the minority on this one, so you may want to take my recommendation with a grain of snow-melting salt. The reason I like this album is that it’s all about Lowe doing what he does best: catchy melodies, clever wordplay and lots of variety. More to my liking, it plays down the country/rockabilly side of Lowe’s muse, instead experimenting with an orchestrated tin pan alley tune (“How Do You Talk To An Angel”), silliness (“Tanque-Rae,” “We Want Action”) and the usual charmers (“Mess Around With Love,” “Man of a Fool,” “Raging Eyes”). There’s even a little light reggae on here (“Cool Reaction”), making the whole thing feel like a cuddly Graham Parker album. I think some of the critical frustration with this album (and in fact the whole post-Lust phase of his career) stemmed from his shrinking away from the alternative vanguard. As with Elvis Costello, no one really wanted to hear Nick Lowe croon so much as spit out twelve new So It Go’ses, forgetting for the moment that even at his peak Lowe was uneven. But for those who believe this is faceless product, I point you to Paul Carrack. That, my friends, is product. The Abominable Showman is a good pop record from a talent that many felt was capable of a great pop record every time he rolled out of bed. If the orange rating seems understated, pity me my timidity. The beginning of the second side drags a little, but otherwise this is top-shelf stuff, which may have you Lowe-land gorillas seeing green.

FC 38589 back cover
FC 38589 back cover


  1. WE WANT ACTION    (Nick Lowe/Carlene Carter)    2:34
  2. RAGING EYES    (Nick Lowe)    2:39
  3. COOL REACTION    (A.Howell/P.Marsh)    2:36
  4. TIME WOUNDS ALL HEELS    (Nick Lowe/Carlene Carter/Simon Climie)    2:43
  5. MAN OF A FOOL    (Nick Lowe)    2:45
  6. TANQUE-RAE    (Nick Lowe)    2:51
  7. WISH YOU WERE HERE    (Nick Lowe)    3:13
  8. CHICKEN AND FEATHERS    (Nick Lowe)    2:14
  9. PAID THE PRICE    (M.Martin)    3:26
  10. MESS AROUND WITH LOVE    (Nick Lowe)    3:04
  11. SAINT BENEATH THE PAINT    (Nick Lowe)    2:48
  12. HOW DO YOU TALK TO AN ANGEL    (Nick Lowe)    3:51


NICK LOWE -- bass, guitar, vocals
PAUL CARRACK -- keyboards, vocals
BOBBY IRWIN -- drums, vocals
Carlene Carter -- harmonies and harmonics (4)
Simon Climie -- harmonies and harmonics (4)
Robert Kirby -- string arrangements
Pete Marsh -- backing vocals (6,9)
Paul Bass -- engineer
Paul Cobbold -- engineer
Keith Morris -- photography

UK June 1983 F-Beat/WEA LP XXLP18  
US 1983 Columbia LP/CS FC 38589  
GER 1983 F-Beat/Riviera LP 240147-1  
JPN 1983 F-Beat LP P-11379 lyric insert
FRA 1990 Demon CD FIEND CD 184  


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