Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Graham Parker and the Rumour - Stick to Me

I had never realized until a few years ago (when my wife told me this) that some people consider Graham Parker to be “new wave”. My introduction to GP&R is this r’n’b/pub band (that genre was very r’n’b based, of course – and pub legend Brinsley Schwarz plays guitar with the Rumour) smash, which is about as far from “new wave” as possible – other than the fact that at the time it was a great blast of fresh air!

Opening with the intense title cut, the Rumour shows that they are white-boy r’n’b at its finest! Parker has a snotty edge to his voice, which is a perfect fit to the material. The song-writing is super all the way through – this is definitely the most consistent album Parker has done (at least, that I have heard!). Fun, up-tempo tunes like “Clear Head” and “The New York Shuffle” are the closest to new wave, but then they shift gears to soulful, slow songs like “Watch the Moon Come Down”, “Thunder and Rain” and the superb “The Heat in Harlem”. This starts as almost a jump-jive number before cutting to half time and painting a vivid picture of this English white boy’s take on Harlem and of “dreaming of Broadway, around the corner, a million miles from home”.

This 1977 release is an excellent portrait of the British r’n’b scene at the time. Highly recommended!

And, just as an odd side point, the original album came with a sheet of stickers (get it? “stick to me”) of the front cover!


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