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Graham Parker and the Fact - 80's Reverb Rules Ok!

  by Carl Bookstein

published: 10 / 11 / 2011

Graham Parker and the Fact - 80's Reverb Rules Ok!
Label: Floating World Records
Format: CD


Superb live album and only recording of Graham Parker and his short-lived then band, which was recorded at the Limfjords Festival in Denmark in 1986

White rhythm and blues crooner? Pre-punk poet? It is hard to categorise British born, US resident singer songwriter Graham Parker, but it is certain that his music carries a lot of bite. Graham Parker and the Fact’s ‘80’s Reverb Rules OK!’ was recorded live in Denmark at the Limfjords Festival on August 2nd, 1986. The archive release witnesses an impassioned Parker exorcising the demons that were troubling his career at this time, including difficulties with his then label Atlantic Records. This concert is the only known recording of the remarkably tight band Graham Parker and the Fact, featuring Brinsley Schwarz on guitar, Andrew Bodnar on bass and Jimmy Copley on drums. Parker’s strong signature vocals carry both emotion and angst as the band opens with ‘Thunder and Rain’. While the sound is at once reminiscent of the 1980s, the recording also captures a high energy inspired performance. ‘Fool’s Gold’ here is one of Parker’s greats from his 1976 ‘Heat Treatment’ album and showcases his sharp songwriting. Parker’s vocals meanwhile possess a true grit: “I’ve been doing my homework for a long long time… I would search the world for that fool’s gold.” The band the Fact is in synch laying down a tight groove. ‘Howlin’ Wind’, the classic title track from Parker’s debut album is soulful and emotionally arresting. The song bears a spiritual quality that carries the power of religious revelation: “Swing time is here children for large and small… Let’s dance before the fever is on us all.” ‘Durban Poison’ has great lead guitar work and a reggae inflected syncopated beat. Two welcome blues tracks covering the artist Bobby Blue Bland feature Parker and his band hitting the note. The concert closes with the always startling number 'You Can’t Be Too Strong' that finds Parker singing about abortion: “Did they tear it out with tongs of steel and give you a shot so that you didn’t feel?…Don’t give it a name…It must be strange to find me inside you”- a song that feels uncomfortable, but is very powerful as well. Graham Parker and The Fact give a crack first rate performance. It is amazing that this is the only recording of the band.

Track Listing:-
1 Thunder And Rain
2 Dead To The World
3 No Holding Back
4 Fool's Gold
5 Durban Poison
6 Howlin' Wind
7 Sinking Low
8 I Wouldn't Treat A Dog
9 Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The City
10 You Hit The Spot
11 Burning On A Higher Flame
12 The Weekend Is Too Short
13 Nobody Hurts You
14 You Can't Be Too Strong

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