40 Years Ago: Graham Parker & the Rumour Give Us the ‘Heat Treatment’
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“I’m not affected by the pressure of the business or the record companies expecting each album to be this or that or achieve this or that,” Parker once told Charles Shaar Murray of the New Musical Express, “It’s easy to get stuck.”
Parker was hardly stuck in 1976. Heat Treatment carried the fire from his debut with another batch of great songs full of venom, attitude, and soul. His band, the Rumour, were absolutely one of the finest of the era and served as the perfect partners-in-crime for the songs Parker was writing.
His sophomore effort kicks off with the title track, a bouncing R&B-infused rocker, very much his signature sound at the time. “That’s What They All say” continues the surge with its soulful approach. With the song “Black Honey,” Parker puts forth a sequel of sorts to the song “White Honey” from the first album. The song here, however, is a darker and moodier one from its predecessor as Parker lets out an emotional howlin’ wind of his own.
Like his debut, the album is full of great songs and performances, among them the reggae-tinged “Something You’re Goin’ Through,” the flat-out rocker “Help Me Shake It” and the classic “Hotel Chambermaid (later covered by Rod Stewart). One of Parker’s all time classics, “Fool’s Gold,” closes the album.
“I’m not pissing around, you know? I’m serious. All I want to do is send shivers up people’s spines. If I can do that…I make myself feel good and then I want to make other people feel that way. The other stuff doesn’t affect me,” Parker said. “It’s like when I hear other people’s records that I like, I get shivers and stuff, spasms of whatever you get. When I write songs, when I hit the song and get on top of it, I actually shiver.”
The album charted in the U.K. and received rave reviews across the board. Graham Parker would continue his hot streak with Stick to Me the following year before finally making some waves in America with the Squeezing Out Sparks album in 1979. Though never the commercial force of others like Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson, Parker was there first in the “angry young man” of the ’70s camp, and he did so with his own style, class and a catalog of great songs.
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