You Can't Be Too Strong - An Introduction to Graham Parker & The Rumour
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He may be a largely forgotten figure in the 21st century, but singer and songwriter Graham Parker was one of the most startlingly original, energetic, creative, and provocative figures to have ever graced a British stage in the 1970s. This collection selects from his ill-fated — but musically brilliant — Mercury period (a tenure he later documented in the song "Mercury Poisoning") and his debut Arista offering. The bottom line is that virtually every single one of these 16 tracks — whether studio or live — is a stone killer. From the retro Brit soul of "White Honey," with its clamoring horn section, to the proto-roots rock of "Heat Treatment," the burning punk rock c*m reggae of "Don't Ask Me Questions" (done live), and the proto-new wave of "Saturday Night Is Dead," each track burns. While Parker may have had a more limited musical scope than his peer Elvis Costello, he was a tighter and far more provocative songwriter during this period — as evinced by the ballad "You Can't Be Too Strong" and "Love Gets You Twisted." The only cut missing from this set is the brilliant "Passion Is No Ordinary Word," but it can be forgiven simply for the intensity of the rest of the set.