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Baker's Dozen

Three Chords Good: Graham Parker's Favourite Albums
Ben Graham , October 8th, 2015 09:36

As Graham Parker & The Rumour prepare to play their final ever shows later this month, the prolific singer-songwriter talks Ben Graham through the 13 albums that have had the biggest impact on him as a musician

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Photograph courtesy of Laurence Watson

Discovered by DJ Charlie Gillett in 1975, southern English singer-songwriter Graham Parker was one of a handful of artists who offered a way out of the cul-de-sac that rock music - bloated, overblown and complacent - had got wedged into by that time. His tough, soulful songs married working-class anger to a finely-tuned sense of literary and musical craft, and drew heavily on a love of vintage R&B and rock & roll.

Parker never stopped working, but 2012's Three Chords Good found him reunited with The Rumour, his crack band on those seminal 1970s LPs, with impressive, rejuvenating results. Graham Parker & The Rumour returned to the studio for this year's Mystery Glue, a fat-free set of organic rock & soul that fully deserves to be measured against their classic early work.

"We didn't second guess; we just played," Parker says, speaking on the phone from Vermont, though he actually lives now in the Catskill Mountains region of upstate New York. "We don't have a producer stepping in - I know what I'm doing, and then the band picks up on it and off they go into their own brilliant creativity. I know Mystery Glue is as good as any of my stuff. We're all playing a bit looser; we've all fallen into our groove a bit more. I think there are some more experimental things and the songs are pretty good."

As for his listening tastes, while Parker's Baker's Dozen choices are mostly drawn from his youth, he's definitely still a fan and still looking for inspiration and education wherever he can find it.

"Don't stop learning about music, that's the thing," he says. "That's what we're doing, and we're not constrained by anything. Whatever people think; go ahead and think it. We don't need to be constrained. We're free."

Mystery Glue is out on Cadet Concept Records. Graham Parker & The Rumour begin a UK tour, their last ever shows, at Bristol O2 Academy on Sunday, October 11; for full details and tickets, head here. Click on the image below to begin scrolling through Graham's choices, which run in no particular order


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Oct 8, 2015 1:40pm

Good stuff until the last entry. Amy Winehouse? So basically he stopped his deep listening shortly after 1972. You guys should do this in two parts -- after they list the favorites of their youth, pick out another ten albums from the past ten years that you all think they might like and give 'em those to react to! Decibel and The Wire do that of course, but it's more random, and it's just a blind first-response reaction. It would be really fun and different if you found musicians willing to spend some time with your picks, like a week, and then give their response. What I wouldn't give to hear Jack Bruce's response to Hidden Masters' Of This & Other Worlds (Rise Above, 2013), Golden Void - Berkana (Thrill Jockey, 2015), Graveyard, etc.

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Oct 8, 2015 1:42pm

In reply to Fastnbulbous:

Ha, I meant Graham Parker, not Jack Bruce. Just woke up! Though if you can reach beyond the grave, even better!

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Oct 9, 2015 10:35pm

What sort of arsehole doesn't like Amy Winehouse?

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chris lindsay
Oct 12, 2015 3:13pm

great interview.the others read wrong in it. He does

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Oct 13, 2015 7:22am

Great choices and great comments. I was surprised that Dylan & The Clash weren't on the list.

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Janet smith
Oct 13, 2015 9:56am

Brilliant group ,really nice to hear them at Bristol .when he came back out afterwards .

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Oct 18, 2015 8:06pm

fookinj ossum, grate list.

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