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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


The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Electric Ladyland
I left home and went to Guernsey in the Channel Islands, and I was into 12-bar blues still. The most progressive record I had was the Free album with the naked girl leaping over the camera. That was a progression, but it still had a bluesy feel. It wasn't psychedelic. I hadn't opened my mind to Pink Floyd. Obviously you knew Hendrix and you respected him; you knew he was great, everybody did. But it wasn't something that was close to my heart. But in Guernsey I started to meet people who were into all this stuff, and who were smoking dope and taking acid. I didn't really understand the music they were listening to; a lot of it was incomprehensible until you dropped acid. I was so into a straight 4/4 beat that the spacier music didn't make sense at all. But then I became part of this community of freaks and heads, as we called ourselves - not hippies, that was an American word - and all the doors were opened to me. You lay around listening to music in a quadrophonic sense; not because anyone had a quadrophonic system, but because that's what happened to your head when you were tripping. There was suddenly a huge vista of sound, and closing your eyes and following the cartoons as Hendrix was playing, and going into some very creepy, nasty places as well as some stunning, beautiful places - that was it.

There are some definitely dated things with the production, but at the same time you think how great it must have been to be totally free; to not have any restrictions on taste. Nobody thought twice about whether it was cool to do these crazy things with the guitars, and because Hendrix is the talent, it ain't gonna go wrong. It's going to be good. Just that '1983' track is ridiculous, it's outrageous. It just sums up being on an acid trip and following that thing through, you were really going somewhere with that, you know. And of course, 'Rainy Day, Dream Away'; oh my goodness, forget about it. It's got everything. It's got blues, it's got it all. An important record that I would say is a very central point to me. There was also Captain Beefheart, there was Santana, there was the Steve Miller Band; one of his albums had a cover where you could only read the title when you were high! It was written in this lettering that didn't make sense, until you went okay, look at it now: oh, I get it! It was just a fantastic period, whatever anyone says now. It was great.