Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Graham Parker: Live on the Test

Graham Parker showed Britain's punks you could be angry without being ignorant. However, as the punks got angrier Parker felt the need to match them hate for hate, while continuing to school them on how to focus that anger. Once again, Dave Thompson's London's Burning provides the money quotes:
"Our attitude to punk was, we were kind of jolted." We were in a field of one, doing things like : "You Can't Hurry Love" really aggrressively, doing reggae with this angry attitude; we had it all together and suddenly we were not the only ballgame. There was this thing called [Punk Rock]....and it was a bit scary for us. So we thought we'd better crank it up another level and came back really nasty."
And Parker's records did grow more vitriolic throughout the seventies. So to follow up the live show from '76, here's the ever-more belligerent Parker's Live on the Test. This set is made up of BBC TV performances on The Old Grey Whistle Test from 17 March 1977 and 20 March 1978. It's further proof of Parker and The Rumour's live fire-power. If, like Parker himself, you believe Mutt Lange's production of his second album, Heat Treatment, is sterile, then you'll find these versions raw and bloody enough to be a bio-hazard.

MRML readers, leave us a comment about your favourite era(s) of GP's work.

Live on the Test CD

Support the man:


And don't forget Parker's current home Bloodshot Records,where you can order this new old live album or some of his blood-stirring recent work.

Also Wolfgang's Vault has some vintage Parker/Rumour material for streaming or purchasing.


  1. Many thanks for all the GP material, especially for Live at Marble Arch, which I'd been looking for under its original name, not realizing it had been reissued as part of a package under another name. Hadn't heard it since I'd owned an original back in the day, and it was every bit as good as I remembered. The Live on the Test disc is fine, too. Hope you have some more GP surprises up your sleeve.

    I prefer early-ish Parker, up to about Another Grey Area, though albums like Mona Lisa's Sister, Your Country and especially Acid Bubblegum are also favourites. Really liked the last one as well and am looking forward to the release of his next album, Imaginary Television, next month.

    Thanks again.

  2. Hi Jeffen

    I second Anonymous above.

    Anything from Parker's long career would be great.



  3. Much thanks for all these Graham Parker shows! I love the '70's Rumours stuff, particularly Stick To Me and Squeezing Out Sparks, less thrilled with most of the '80's stuff (still good, though), but I actually think his overall best album was Struck by Lightning. The songwriting and musical performances on that one are my favorite. I really liked the whole 'angry rocker' stuff, but as you get older, you appreciate more of the songwriting and melodies of some of his later, more sophisticated stuff. It's all good, though. And would love to hear anything else you have by him. Thanks again.

  4. Anon
    Parker never seems to have had a wicked slump, he always writes at a certain quality level.

    hope you guys enjoyed the series, we'll come back to Parker again; we're like that here at MRML.

    You're right about how we begin with being attracted by Parker's venom but we learn to appreciate his other facets as we go along.


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