Genre: Soul
Size: 12"
Format: 33RPM,


Nick Waterhouse The Fooler LP

Nick Waterhouse

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Sixth Album on Vinyl LP!
R&B, Garage Rock, Radio Soul & Wee-Small-Hours Balladry Reconfigured & Made New!

The title of the sixth album from Californian singer-songwriter Nick Waterhouse is more than just the name of one of its tracks. The Fooler is both a clue and a red herring. The Fooler is the observed and the observer, narrator and subject, truth and lie. The Fooler is the shadow and reflection of a city the artist knows sufficiently well to wander with his eyes closed, and a place which very possibly never even existed. The Fooler is not so much an unreliable narrator as a constantly shifting perspective. The Fooler is the 2023 album by Nick Waterhouse, and it's a lot.

Recorded by Mark Neill (Black Keys; Los Straightjackets; Dave Cobb) in Valdosta, Georgia, the album is a song-cycle of sorts, the arc of the album telling a tale of a city and its denizens.

Discussing the stellar title track, Waterhouse says: "It's about how your own heart and your memories can betray you in really nice ways. The rest of the songs were all orbiting around that. It was like, Wow, I'm writing my city record. It's a parting shot, but to a place that was already gone. And now it's this record. I find that to be deeply moving and satisfying."

The beautiful black and white image on the album cover captures the mise-en-scène. It's a previously unpublished photograph by the late, great photojournalist Jim Marshall of the legendary City Lights bookstore in San Francisco's North Beach. Waterhouse used to live around the corner. "My local bars, Tosca and Specs, were directly across from City Lights. All of this life that I had was on that corner of Broadway and Columbus. There's a lot of time slip, because that could have been me and my friends in that photo." A pause. "Maybe I'm in there. I don't know."

The sound of The Fooler is the sound of this city haunted by song. A place filled with 45s produced by people like Bert Berns or released on Scepter, Wand, Atlantic and Verve and heard on the jukeboxes in Tosca, Specs and Trieste in North Beach. "The sound was the speaker over the record shop door in Lower Haight, or the sound systems of Mission and downtown and Tenderloin bars," says Waterhouse. "Or the sound of the laptop playing the Velvet Underground bootleg, the one where the guy keeps ordering the Pernod, or Roy Orbison, in concert, with the lover pretending she wasn't crying as she vacuumed the apartment; or crying as she locked herself in the bathroom of a matchbox-sized Chinatown apartment. It's about how time slips between the times when these influences were recorded and my own life was lived in the moment."

The result is a record that offers up new riches and fresh perspectives with every spin. From the hidden corners of "Hide & Seek" and the roadhouse soul of "Play to Win" to the primitive, attitudinal, chugging two-chord thrill of "Late in the Garden," it builds inexorably to the drama of the title track and pulsing roll-and-rock of the final payoff, "Unreal, Immaterial." Play it once and it sounds immediately like a collection of great songs. Play it again – and you will – and it feels like a novel or film slowly unveiling its secrets, kaleidoscopic in its narrative complexity.


  • Vinyl LP
  • Mastered by Jeff Powell at Phillips International, Memphis, Tennessee
  • Tip-On Jacket
  • Limited Time Download Card


Side 1:

  1. Looking for a Place
  2. Hide and Seek
  3. (No) Commitment
  4. Play to Win
  5. Was It You?
  6. Late in the Garden

Side 2:

  1. The Problem with A Street
  2. Plan for Leavin'
  3. (Are You) Hurting
  4. It Was the Style
  5. The Fooler
  6. Unreal, Immaterial

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