Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents Graham Parker
Genres: Alternative Rock, Folk, Pop, Rock
Nice Live Parker
Scott Burford | Benicia, CA USA | 11/09/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Although just released, this is actually a live performance from 1983 in which Parker is working with one of his post-Rumour bands. Those of you familiar with his early-mid 80's work know that his studio albums suffered from the trendy techno sound of the times, but this performance is much more reminiscent of the Squeezing Out Sparks sound that most of his fans long for. The songs on this album are played fairly true to their original arrangements, but in the case of the 6 songs from The Real Macaw, the super smooth studio tech effects are missing, and the result is that these songs kick nicely, especially Passive Resistance and Sounds Like Chains. Overall, there's an added intensity that makes this a real pleasure to listen to. Parker chimes in a few times between songs and twice refers to King Biscuit as King Chestnut, so if there's anyone dissatisfied with this performacne, it's probably the sponsor. If you enjoy the first 7 years of GP's career, get this album."
**** for effort
running_man | Chesterfield Twp., MI | 09/20/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The King Biscuit Flower Hour has historically featured some heavy hitting bands, such as The Rolling Stones, Canned Heat, and Deep Purple, but most often the syndicated radio program attracts new talent looking for a publicity kick (Bruce Sprinsteen was featured as a warm-up band for the Mahavishnu Orchestra on the premier broadcast in 1973), or established artists on the comeback trail (David Crosby recorded for the Biscuit in 1991 after a stint in jail and drug rehab). Graham Parker, like Crosby, was looking to gain traction in a career that had peaked four years earlier and was dissolving in a din of synthesizers and electronic drum kits as the 1980's began pulling away, putting New Wave rock in its rear view mirror. This 1983 Poughkeepsie, New York show was recorded in the intimate confines of The Chance Theatre, with a seating capacity somewhere around 1,000 people, a venue constructed early in the 20th century, and transformed into a concert venue only three years previous to Parker's arrival. Parker was not new to the Biscuit, however. This was Graham's third outing with KBFH, and I was fortunate at one time to possess a taped broadcast of an earlier performance with The Rumour that featured a 'Chain Of Fools' encore. This performance in Poughkeepsie finds Parker with a less talented, and unnamed, backing band, and an audience that is, of all things, too enthusiastic.
I've never heard a fan out-shout the mega-watt amplification of a power punk rock band before, but there's a guy in this show who possesses either an uncommon set of lungs, or a seat five feet away from Parker's own mic. It's a remarkable, thoroughly annoying performance. The seats surrounding this idiot were easily the worst seats in the house that evening, and I truly feel for anyone within earshot of him, which may have included the entire venue. Unfortunately for us, his hooting adds a distracting dimension to a powerful performance by Parker and his band.
In 1983 Parker was touring in support of his 'The Real Macaw' album, and predictably six of the first ten tracks are drawn from that release. Most are in Parker's traditional pulsing, hard-driving punk style, especially the opener, 'Just Like a Man', and the best track from that grouping, 'Life Gets Better', which sets the stage for a five song closing set from Parker's standard bearer, 1979's 'Squeezing Out Sparks'. 'Love Gets You Twisted' is also featured from that disc earlier in the performance, and at track six is the first slow-tempo number of the night. Other tracks of interest from 'The Real Macaw' include 'Sounds Like Chains', featuring an unusual beat, and 'Passive Resistance', where Parker takes a swipe at the shortcomings of commercial radio in the early 1980's, territory visited by performers such as Joni Mitchell and Pink Floyd in previous era's. The most melodic number in the set is also from 'The Real Macaw', the centerpiece and longest track on the disc at 5:08, the engaging 'You Can't Take Love For Granted'.
While Parker may be justly criticized for a lack of instrumental prowess in his recordings, he will never be criticized for lacking lyrical incision. Consider his exploration of abortion in 'You Can't Be Too Strong', which delivers the jaw-dropping lyric, "Did they tear it out, with talons of steel? And give you a shot, so that you wouldn't feel. And wash it away, as if it wasn't real. It's just a mistake, I won't have to face ...". In 'Discovering Japan' we get talk about "nuclear shadows", and in 'Love Gets You Twisted', we are the receipients of one of Parker's finest lines, "Love gets you twisted, screw yourself up, screw yourself up, screw yourself, screw yourself, screw yourself up".
Although Parker and his band make a mighty effort to invest this Poughkeepsie concert with as much passion as they can muster, overall the band cannot replicate well enough the sound of The Rumour, and the material from 'The Real Macaw' doesn't rise to the level of much of Parker's better work. A much more enjoyable live disc was recorded by Graham in 1995, touring in support of his '12 Haunted Episodes' release with The Episodes. While it's more laid back than Parker ever dreamed of being back in 1983, Parker lets his compositions stand on their own rather than bowl you over. The packaging for this King Biscuit release is decent, offering several pages of commentary from Parker himself and Steve Shinder, and cover artwork by Parker, but also not rising to the exceptional quality of packaging I've come to expect from KBFH productions. This one is worth a listen, but I'm afraid other Graham Parker recordings are more deserving of encores."