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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


Otis Redding - Otis Blue
I must have been 14, listening to it in the front room of my parents' place where we had the stereo, on my own, almost crying listening to this guy. The thing about England is, compared to America, we had a lot more of this soul music and blues: the appreciation of it was always very high, in an underground kind of way. I was just getting old enough to feel a part of that, and then I became a mod, with the short, proto-skinhead hair, and I would go out to places where they played Motown, and they played Otis, and they played all that stuff, soul and ska. So that's an amazing thing: to be in the suburbs of England, the provinces, and you've got this thriving scene of people who appreciate this pretty hardcore soul music. And the ska was raw, you know; Prince Buster and all that. But the Otis record: what an unbelievable singer. The searing emotion of his performances was just right for somebody prepubescent or just coming into puberty. It just seemed to work. It fills you with yearning. It's all about romance and love and sex and everything. It was just such a powerful experience, and again this record, I didn't realise because I wasn't a great studier of credits and history and all that stuff, but a cursory look would be - Sam Cooke, who's he? Smokey Robinson, there's even B. B. King, there's a William Bell tune, and wonder of wonders - there's a Mick and Keith song on it! So it's already starting to turn round in circles here. You can see the power of music; there are no barriers. There shouldn't be. And this was all happening way back then. And all of these names, like Jerry Butler, these writers who'd been around before we knew about this stuff were really hot, right then and there, in that period in the '60s. It makes me shiver just thinking about some of these songs and performances by Otis; it's another very important record to me.