GRAHAM PARKER: Last Chance To Learn The Twist (Big Stir)

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British singer/songwriter Graham Parker emerged from the London pub rock scene of the 1970s and fronting The Rumours, enjoyed a big hit with a cover of the Trammps ‘Hold Back The Night’. Since then he’s continued to work and record and he now enjoys an almost cult following with his 1979 album, ‘Squeezing Out  Sparks’ widley acclaimed.

Now working with the Goldtops (bassist Simon Edwards, drummer Jim Russell, guitarist Martin Belmont and keyboard player Geraint Watkins), Parker has just released this new album, and the music contained in the 13 tracker is as idiosyncratic as the  cover art work (above) suggests.

First we need to say that this isn’t a soul album. Don’t expect anything like ‘Hold Back The Night’. Instead you get a snapshot of where the veteran (he’s now 72) is now with occasional nods to where he’s been. Thus ‘Last Chance To Learn The Twist’ is a real mixed bag – a pot pourri of sounds and styles held together by the obvious joy the man find in making music.

From our (SJF’s) point of view the most interesting tracks are ‘Wicked Wit’ and ‘Grand Scheme Of Things’. The former is bright and brassy (the brass coming from the Easy Access Orchestra horns) while the latter owes something to Southern soul.

Elsewhere? Well, all kinds of everything. Let’s have a quick tour – ‘The Music of the Devil’ is rocky and bluesy; ‘Lost Track Of Time’ is rocky too – a Stones’ favour; ‘Last Strech Of Time’ with a lovely harmonica intro might suggest the influence of Neil Young; the semi-spoken ‘Them Bugs’ is full of Caribbean swagger: We could go on – but you should get the picture. ‘Last Chance To Learn The Twist’ is a properly varied with Parker’s  distinctive voice and commitment bringing  the unity . It’s out now.

(BB) 3/5