Man, it’s good to hear Graham Parker, and to know that age hasn’t dulled his pen – his lyrics challenge anything and everything that bothers him. That can be personal, or it can be public. And he’s by turns extraordinarily funny and downright mean.
His latest release also gets a kick in the rear from his backup band, The Figgs. They last recorded with Parker on the live LP, The Last Rock and Roll Tour. Their bar-room rock and roll fits these songs perfectly, and guitarist Mike Gent darts wonderfully in and out of the biting lyrics. Want a killer hook? Look no further than “Bad Chardonnay.” It’s probably obvious why “There’s Nothing On the Radio” doesn’t show up on the radio. Talk about biting the hand that should feed you. That one, by the way, contains one of my favorite lyrics of the year so far: “Has rock and roll died, or does it just smell bad?” “Suck ‘n’ Blow” has a hook big enough to drive a truck through, and is backed by some very Stonesy rock and roll. How can that one lose? “Did Everybody Just Get Old” should get a nod of recognition from all of us babyboomers. A hysterical lyric backed by fine rock.
Parker’s catalog is one of the most pleasing in rock and roll. It’s hard to play one of his records and not like it a lot, and this makes a fine addition.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Sept. ’05 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.