Graham Parker and Brinsley Schwarz – Union Chapel

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(Can’t find any video from the night, so here’s the hit single from 1978)

Why this gig?

So I can tick off another entry in my “I-Spy Book of 70s Rock Stars”. Actually two, as Brinsley Schwartz was involved in a lot of music that I enjoyed a lot back in the mid to late 70s.


Support is Tristan Mackay. Bit of solo rhythm and blues with a slightly modern touch – there’s a bit of looping thrown in. Enjoyable stuff.


Graham Parker has been around forever. And he hasn’t stopped recording new songs since his brief moment in the public eye in the late 1970s. And a lot of the audience seem to have followed his career closely since then as every song he plays gets a big cheer of recognition. I only recognise a couple of hit singles.

The music is basic stuff from a completely different age. Some of you might be old enough to remember when R’n’B was what middle-aged men played in smokey rooms at the back of a pub – and not the over-produced saccharine monstrosity it has now become. That’s the era the Graham Parker’s music comes from. And in my opinion there’s still a place for it. Sure it can be a bit basic and repetitive. But sometimes that’s what you want.

But, to be honest, when I want rhythm and blues, I want a rhythm and blues band. Guitar, bass and drums. Perhaps some keyboards. That’s a rhythm and blues band. That’s the combination that gives rhythm and blues its power. If I have one complain about this show, it’s that there wasn’t a band. It was two guitarists and singers. And I don’t think that line-up shows off rhythm and blues to its best advantage.

So I’m glad I went. And I might well go and see Graham Parker and the Rumour if they play again. But I’m unlikely to want to see Graham Parker again without a band backing him.

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