Sunday, 27 January 2013

Albums for Life: 60: Graham Parker: Heat Treatment

Much as I love the songs, sound and sensibilities of the later, more introspective 'Struck By Lightning', this album was my first exposure to Parker and his phenomenal backing band The Rumour; led by Brinsley Schwarz (see previous blog) who, in the late 70s were Britains' equivalent to The East Street Band. There's an energy and rawness to the performances that grabs you (very gently) by the throat. The sound of this album reminds me of the quicksilver mercury sound of Dylan's 'Highway 61 Revisited' with its reedy organ sound and spiky guitars. In order to survive those media defined post punk years the older 'musicians' effected a stroppy 'f*ck you' belligerence, chewed imaginary gum and wore the uniform of the day: skinny Oxfam suits, blue collars and age covering shades. Parker looked like a man who hated his day job and had the sharpest elbows in the pub; and he was at his most vitriolic here, pissing and moaning like Costello's grumpier older brother.
Here's two songs from the album performed live on BBC's 'Sight and Sound' followed by a couple of songs from the later (and highly recommended) 'Struck By Lightning'.


  1. I've never really listened to the last 2 artists at all although I knew more about Nick Lowe. I like the Graham Parker stuff

  2. Great choice Trev! I've always been a big fan of Graham's who, without wishing to lapse into cliche, falls into the criminally overlooked category, especially when compared to contemporaries like Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson.
    Squeezing Out Sparks is another of my favorites, possibly the most vitriolic album I own!! And he's still making great music. I was originally suspicious when I heard he'd made another album with the Rumour after 30 years but the album in question "Three Chords Good" is a fine piece of work, especially the songs "Long Emotional Ride" and "Stop crying about the rain"

    1. I can still remember the thrill of them live Marshman; guitar playing to die for; no wanky solos, just 'parts'. Great sounds and GP barking at us like a punchy barman.
      Squeezing Out Sparks just missed the list (as did The Girl WithThe Butterfly Net).
      Good to hear that he endures, I'll check out Three Chords Good..
      Ian Hunter occupies a similar place for me.
      You're never too old...

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