Passion Is No Ordinary Word

Find myself surfing YouTube one full evening a week or fortnight these days, finding music video of acts I’d long forgotten were important to me (*), often prompted by a link from Rivets, who has his own musical agenda, but the lateral connections are infinite. I blogged about Rory Gallagher some weeks ago, and spent last night absorbing all things Mothersbaugh (Mark, Bob1 and Jim) and Casales (Jerry and Bob2) – after a sneak listen to Rory’s Montreux Jazz version of Shadow Play – more Akron-Spud-madness later … but a few evenings ago I stumbled upon The Thoughts of Chairman Parker. Where to start ?

Graham Parker was responsible for the best gig I ever experienced at London’s Roundhouse in 1978, supported by the then little-known-in-the-UK Blondie and Devo, on the evening of the day of the Anti-Nazi league rally from Trafalgar Square to Victoria Park Hackney – featuring The Clash and Tom Robinson amongst others – what a day. Some weeks / months later we saw GP & The Rumour again on the two opening night(s) of Richard Branson’s Virgin Venue in Victoria, where I took some pics, including my favourite of GP (Passion is no Ordinary Word).

Anyway Chairman Parker was waxing philosophical about the Harris / Dawkins / Hitchens debate – on the atheistic side of it – and drawing some flak in comments from US fans – which is coincidental to my agenda here. What I picked-up on is how active GP has been and still is, in the US since the late 70’s. Official web-site, most of the backlog available CD and MP3 formats … and a link to this 5 hour radio marathon … which I’m about 3.5 hours through. A 9 hour (!) Elvis Costello marathon there too, I’m yet to dip into.

Anyway Devo … all their early “art school” experimentation too … and they’ve been perfoming as recently as last month, Manchester, Vegas … official site.

(*) Important 70’s music that I have on vinyl, but never replaced with CD or Mp3, having gone through the 90’s and 00’s with my experiencing both my sons’ rock tastes. Small world though – Elder son did unplugged arrangements of Whole Lotta Love & Black Dog the week before Led Zep’s re-union gig acclaimed by critics and fans alike at the London O2 Arena. Saw Zep at Earl’s Court in 76 was it ?

Can’t decide whether I need to do a more methodical search, subscription or otherwise re-connect with the old vinyl collection … or continue the random trip of rediscovery.

8 thoughts on “Passion Is No Ordinary Word”

  1. This brought back a flood of memories of the music that blossomed in that 1978-1980 era. Great stuff. Enjoyed your photos of Graham Parker. I don’t think I ever saw him live, but he was a favorite of mine. Squeezing Out Sparks is one of those unheralded masterpieces.

  2. Didn’t imagine you were old enough to have 1978 musical memories Glenn ?

    Don’t know if you listened to that 5 hour radio programme, but GP still considers it his best too.

    “Black Honey” off Howlin Wind remains my favourite track ever, shed a tear every time, that and “That’s All That’s Left Between You and Me”. Although Stick to Me is ligher weight lyrically as an album, the tight dancability of the Rumour’s soulful RnB sound, complete with horns, keeps that my personal favourite album – can’t sit still to that. Squeezing Out Sparks is probably the best / most complete, though as GP himself says, some of the songs on there are a bit “literal”, which probably explains why it was also his most succesful.

    (There are four ticket stubbs on the linked page from 77/79, but I probably saw him 8 or 10 times in all.)

  3. Jesus, Ian, do I now have to defend the authenticity of my experiences? Post pictures of ticket stubs for your approval? What’s the score, 8-0 or 10-0? 🙂 I love almost everything that came out of the new-wave era. ’78-’80 was in my experience the best three year run in Rock music history.

    Yeah, I know what you mean about SOS being too literal. Waiting for the UFOs is the perfect example.

  4. Ha, no, not defend. I was expressing genuine surprise about your age 🙂 I was asking you how old you are.

    … and joining up the dots with my (already published) on-line London pub-rock years. I guess I was expressing surprise that you’ve never metioned this connection before … given that all that stuff of mine has been up for years, since before I started blogging.

    Looking for positive connections is the name of my game, remember 😉

    (PS I actually used – wasted you could say – almost all my on-line time on Sunday surfing YouTube content for GP …. addictive stuff.)

  5. What?! Tell you how old I am? I might end up on one of your timelines. Can’t have that! Still, you could probably make a very good guess.

    I’ve seen some of your entries on music before but the ones you mention in this post are the first that I can readily identify with – and really like. There’s probably a lot of your site I haven’t seen. I just got through the first part of the radio interview with GP. Love his candor.

  6. Candour … good word. I like the mix of being self-effacing and arrogant about others at the same time … A man who is comfortable with his position in the scheme of things. Endearing.

  7. Awwww, thanks Ian, that’s the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me. Oh wait a minute. You mean GP, don’t you.

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