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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


Four Tops - Four Tops
It's often that first record by an artist which you discover, which is weird with this one particularly, because this is filled with lush, romantic strings. It doesn't have that 'Reach Out I'll Be There' thing where they got into the strange Eastern melodic structure. That and some of those other songs were really stonking hard songs, like 'Bernadette' - the way Levi [Stubbs] sings that is just rough and raw, and very influential on my vocals later on. But this particular album just seems sort of in a world of its own. 'Ask The Lonely', 'Baby I Need Your Loving' - there are so many swooping strings, very romantic again and for kids coming into puberty the romance of it was very effective, and of course their voices are so soulful. These people were singers who just put their heart on the table in front of you, it seemed. It was so teenage; of course it's written by adults, but it just seems like the yearning teenage thing again. And to top it all off, the melodies are superb. The writing, the arrangements, and the musicality of it: that doesn't go away. But it does have to be said; it's so different, really, to what they were doing later with that string of hits. They became more of a household name in that sense. So yeah, Levi Stubbs' voice - it's still there. Who wouldn't like to be that good, you know?