CB and I have been talking and when that happens… some cool music is discussed. This is an artist I should have checked out long long ago.
Graham Parker is someone I’ve heard of …but never actually heard. I’ve lived with this album for a week or so. What I’ve heard is some smooth groove music that Parker contrasts with his intense lyrics. I hear a little punk influence in the lyrics and voice. If I had to compare him with someone…it would be Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson but with a touch of Van Morrison and The Band sprinkled in on this album.
A little more about Graham Parker…after that, I’ll get on about the album. This is an extremely condensed beginning for Graham up until the debut album.
Graham Parker was born in East London in 1950 and was the right age to catch The Beatles when they hit. He and his friends had a band that adopted the haircuts, sweaters, and boots but they never really learned how to play their instruments. He did a guitar and started learning it. Later on, when he was around 15 he started to listen to soul music, Motown, ska, and especially Otis Redding.
He started to improve on guitar and played bars and clubs. He even appeared on a television show in Gibraltar and played a few of his own songs. After that, he was asked to join a psychedelic band named Pegasus. He soon tired of that music and started to concentrate on R&B songs like The Midnight Hour. He then met the manager of Brinsley Schwarz. With ex-members of Brinsley Schwarz and ex-member Nick Lowe producing them…they made his debut album Howlin’ Wind. His band had a name at this point…The Rumour.
The Rumour would be Graham’s backing band for years. They also recorded their own albums separately and did three in all. They broke up in 1980 and then reformed and started to back Parker up again in 2011 and remain his backup band to this day.
The album is great. There is not a bad song on it. The second side rocks a little more than the first so it evens it out. I hear rock, reggae, rockabilly, R&B, Soul, rock, and a touch of jazz in spots. His voice is so damn convincing…you automatically take notice as he sneers his way through it. He can get raspy and then stay smooth. There is a variety on this album…he was not stuck on one style…he spread it about and his debut album is balanced and wonderful. It was a perfect marriage between Parker and The Rumour. Also, I have to give Nick Lowe some credit. He keeps it sparse…no studio tricks just straight-ahead music.
I’ve mentioned Van Morrison and I have to say Springsteen also. If you like those artists…you should like this Graham Parker album. Don’t get me wrong…he doesn’t copy them…he has his own original thing going on but it has some of the feel of those artists. I’ve listened to this album at home, in the car, and at work. It kept getting better as I was going through it.
Give this album a shot.
- “White Honey” – 3:33
- “Nothin’s Gonna Pull Us Apart” – 3:21
- “Silly Thing” – 2:51
- “Gypsy Blood” – 4:37
- “Between You and Me” – 2:25
- “Back to Schooldays” – 2:54
- “Soul Shoes” – 3:13
- “Lady Doctor” – 2:5
- “You’ve Got to Be Kidding” – 3:30
- “Howlin’ Wind” – 3:58
- “Not If It Pleases Me” – 3:12
- “Don’t Ask Me Questions” – 5:38
Graham Parker: “When I’m writing, I don’t write angry or think angry, so I appreciate that you noticed this, and thank you, sadly, all critics see or hear is anger. Not me, though. ‘With a little humor, always with a little humor.’”
Graham Parker: “I’ve always tried to be playful, starting with Howlin’ Wind, not dumb, not goofy, but playful. I’m a fan of humor. People have always thought I was pissed off, but really, I was just joking around. They don’t get it or they’re not hearing me. I have always loved to tickle people.”
Originally released in 1976, from the album ‘Howlin’ Wind’. This remix was released as a single in 1978 from the album ‘The Parkerilla’.
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