4/01/2007

Squeezing Out Sparks

I almost didn’t make it to a post today. A very late night last night led to most of today laying on the couch, watching Comedy Central. Fortunately, after a long nap, I was able to pull it together, do some things I needed to do, and find some music to post.

Every once in awhile, I like to dig out Graham Parker’s Squeezing Out Sparks album. Twenty-five or so years down the road, a couple of the songs have a dated feel (those early 80s keyboards...), but most of it holds up very well. In fact, the majority of this album is classic, and when I put it on, it has the comfortable feel of an old friend.

I was introduced to Graham Parker and the Rumour through the tune “Local Girls.” At one time LA radio station KLOS kept music like this in heavy rotation. It’s hard to imagine government radio playing this now.

Graham Parker and the Rumour (Parker, with Brinsley Schwarz and Martin Belmont on guitars, Bob Andrews on keyboards, Andrew Bodnar on bass, and Steve Goulding on drums) formed in the summer of 1975 and began doing the rounds of the British pub rock scene. Early in his career, Parker's work was often compared favorably to Joe Jackson's and Elvis Costello's. Journalists would often categorize them together, labeling them with some variation of "Angry Young Men", even long after the artists' work had diverged. Characteristically, Parker would not hesitate to criticize this habit with caustic wit.

Squeezing Out Sparks was the Rumour’s sixth album, and undoubtedly its best. Parker had just left Mercury Records and joined forces with legendary producer Jack Nitzsche. Together they made what Trouser Press called “his toughest, leanest and most lyrically sophisticated LP.”

The songs I’m posting are, of course, my favorite - “Local Girls,” “Nobody Hurts You,” and the powerful, anti-abortion “You Can’t Be Too Strong.” “Sung with force and accompanied acoustically, it's a (perhaps too obviously) stark, personal statement,” Greil Marcus wrote in a 1979 Rolling Stone review of Squeezing Out Sparks.

Local Girls.mp3
Nobody Hurts You.mp3
You Can’t Be Too Strong.mp3

Graham Parker.net is Parker’s official site. There, you can buy his music and get tour information. There are also links to streaming audio live performances.

3 Comments:

At 10:38 AM , Blogger Nazz Nomad said...

"You can't be too strong" still breaks my heart every time i listen to it.

 
At 4:00 PM , Blogger Silent 3 said...

Thanks for keeping Parker's music alive. I have "Live Sparks" (the live version of "Squeezing out Sparks". Also "Mercury Poisoning." Geez, I even have "The Pink Parker." (Yes, I'm old.)

 
At 11:55 PM , Blogger Throttleback said...

I have been loving your blog for a time now and especially some of the classic stuff you have been posting. The Queen piut me over the edge, though, since I haven't busted out Live Killers in ages.
But reading about your Graham Parker got me thinking: Have you ever heard of Martin Briley? I'm sure you know his hit single, "Salt in my Tears" but his previous album, "fear of the unknown" is an unheralded early 80'sclassic. A real gem. I recommend. I can email you a track or two if you are not familiar. Look him up, it's great stuff.

 

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