"(My) songs had an unthematic apocalyptic feel that was tough and hard and somehow developed an extremely aggressive stance which was a reaction against the progressive music scene. It was rebellious youth, how society was controlling us, and the other hippie themes - but rocking hard while doing it."
Graham Parker killed pub rock.
Pub rock was an umbrella term for dozens of mid-70s English groups, each playing their own amalgam country-r&b-rockabilly in gritty pubs rather than stadiums. It's a fascinating era, as the films Oil City Confidential and Sex & Drugs & Rock n' Roll will remind us. However, to those raised after punk, some of those bands can sound timid, as if they feared creating something too new.
Parker, when he broke out with Howlin' Wind in July 1976, was brash as hell and damn sure he was onto something new.
Dave Thompson, in his minutiae-packed memoir London's Burning, records Parker's reaction to hearing one of the former bands of a member of this then-backing band, The Rumour. "I was amazed to find out it was some sort of soft wimpy country rock. I thought, 'What the fuck has this got to do with what I'm doing. I don't get it! People are calling me Pub Rock , what is this?'"
Like the pub rockers, Parker revered the raw vitality of sixties rockers but like the punks to come he wanted to clear the deck and start again.
More on Parker is yet to come, but till then here's part two of That's When You Know, which is actually the legendarily rare Live at Marble Arch recorded with the Rumour. I kept the two parts separate because they are completely different eras and styles and were likely only forced to co-habitate to help sales before it went out of print (though it now fetches $150.00 on Amazon). Its a stunning speed-drenched set of originals (plus a trio of well-chosen R & B covers) perpetrated one sunny afternoon in July of 1976 before an audience of American record executives.
Live at Marble Arch CD
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