Parker and Pals

I suppose I am a Graham Parker fan. I have as mp3s or stand-alones: Howlin’ Wind(1976), Heat Treatment (1976), Stick to Me (1977), Squeezing Out Sparks (1979), Up Escalator (1980), Mona Lisa’s Sister (1980), Steady Nerves (1985), Live! Alone in America (1989) Human Soul (1989), Live 02/91, Your Country (2004). I had some, at one time, as vinyl or cassette & replaced them with the versions I now have.

I was totally into his British r’n’b, soul rock mix. His band was hot & the horn section was excellent. He was one in a wave of British musicians along with Joe Jackson & Elvis Costello who energized the music scene with dynamic, fun work. I was instantly a fan of his British  r’n’b soul sound.

His lyrics were sexy with a film-noir sensibility  ‘Hotel Chamber Maid’ ‘Got A Lady Doctor’ if a bit sexist & very heteronormative. Clever, political & sardonic about love. I love those first couple of lps. The Up Escalator tried to give him more of a Costello sound which didn’t work. He stepped away from his horn sound to something more stripped down. In fact ‘Alive! Alone in America’ is him & his guitar. He’s still around & even more of a curmudgeon.

Also on the mp3 collection is Them: Best Of (1966-67) – Parker owes a lot to Them – solid Irish pub rock band that introduced the classic Gloria. Them influenced hundred of bands besides establishing Van Morrison. 

Out of the USA is Television: Marquee Moon (1977) (expanded) includes, Little Johnny Jewel – part of the CBGBs sound, this was a stunning, moody guitar based lp that inspired the many shoe-gazer bands that followed. Iron City Houserockers: Love’s So Tough (1979) – a fun Springsteen tough-guy rock.

Back to Britain with a fun lp by Wreckless Eric: Donovan of Trash (1991). Eric was a part of the Costello/Jackson wave but his sound was more music-hall with more humour as well. More about Eric when I get to ‘w’. Another gem are 

A friend of mine had an lp by The Housemartins that he had picked up on a visit to London & I love it. It was a year or so before it was released in NorthAmerica. I made a cassette dupe of it but eventually replaced it with mp3s of London 0 Hull4 (1986) (expanded), The People Who Grinned Themselves To Death (1987); – radio friendly, sweet, solid pop with surreal lyrics & great vocals – well worth discovering them if you are unfamiliar. 

The ever changing Peter Gabriel relaunched his career with So (1986) thanks to smart production & dynamic videos that dominated MTV for the rest of the decade. Security remains my fave but this is a great set too. Finally – another band that dominated MTV for decades is Culture Club: 2005 Singles & Remixes. I remember hearing a track of theirs – White Boys – at the Rivoli before they hit big & loving it. Who knew they would ride the wave of image, queers & great music for decades. 

Proof

some people demand

this solid confirmation

a set irrefutable facts data

that prove conclusively 

there either is or isn’t

something to believe in

they want incontestable truth

of the unseeable

of the unmeasurable

when that isn’t presented

to their satisfaction 

you are delusion 

intellectually weak

they want a tidy formula

that makes sense 

of what they don’t understand

of what they see as unfair 

cruel pointless merciless

that if there is a God 

an entity

a creative impulse 

behind our being

it may be responsible for 

the flowers and the torture

but human will 

isn’t part of the equation

unless it become robotic obedience 

to what can’t be defined 

confined refined controlled

why bother 

with the whole unqualifiable mess

better to be stoic 

self-sufficient

defense

or even self-destructive blundered

aimless enslaved to creature comfort

where indifference 

is all the proof we need

and damn the consequences

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