Graham Parker - That’s What They All Say
One of many excellent songs from one of my favorite albums from the 1970s, “Heat Treatment” by Graham Parker.
Listen to the backing band, led by the guitar of Brinsley Schwarz, who just riffs all over the place here, along with the keyboards - check out the solos in the middle with these two.
G.P. married the feel of old-fashioned R&B music with clever, sardonic, worldly-wise lyrics, and it just worked. Unfortunately, his record company didn’t know how to market him or his musical product — how many times have we heard that story? — and so he got lumped in with punk/new wave, but wasn’t really, and he wasn’t outrageous or crazy like the Sex Pistols or The Clash, so he missed out on that mania too. Which in some ways might be just as well, because he is not only still alive today, unlike some of those fellows, but continues to tour. Still, his great music and career floundered a bit compared to Elvis Costello’s, for example.
His best material — and I think nearly every fan would agree here — is from his first two albums, this one and “Howlin’ Wind”, plus his fourth record, “Squeezing Out Sparks”, mainly because of the excellent backing from the Brinsley Schwarz Band on all of those records, a clear differentiator compared to his other work.
I suggest turning it up kinda loud. While his voice isn’t great, and might be an acquired taste for some, he knows how to use it, and his lyrics are always worth hearing. And the band sounds pretty good too. ;-)