British rock legend GRAHAM PARKER returns with his first album of new material since 2018. LAST CHANCE TO LEARN THE TWIST finds the veteran singer-songwriter in top form, offering up thirteen new compositions with exquisitely tasteful backing by The Goldtops (bassist Simon Edwards, drummer Jim Russell, guitarist Martin Belmont and keyboard player Geraint Watkins) and frequent contributions from the Easy Access Orchestra horns and backing vocal duo The Lady Bugs. It’s a dazzlingly diverse album: sweet classic soul grooves and roots rock sounds dominate, framing lyrics dripping with Parker‘s vintage “Wicked Wit” (as one song title has it) and his inimitable, impassioned vocal delivery.
Two early singles have hinted at the record’s depth: the devastatingly stark “We Did Nothing” with its heartbreaking examination of the cost of inaction on both the personal and global stages, and the delightfully playful reggae-tinged “Them Bugs.” The beautifully bittersweet ballad “It Mattered To Me” is set to follow, while the folk-informed meditation on mortality “Last Stretch Of The Road” has proven an instant fan favorite at recent solo performances. But there’s much more waiting to be discovered on the full album, which is at once one of Parker‘s most relaxed and boldest statements to date.
“My usual rather conservative arrangements went out the window on this album,” Parker says. “The songs morphed as they grew: ‘Grand Scheme Of Things,’ and particularly ‘Sun Valley,’ became less about ‘parts,’ as in a typical pop song, but more about ‘movements.’ Bridges arrive in unusual places, songs were restrained and held to under three minutes, The Lady Bugs sang like street corner ruffians on ‘The Music Of The Devil,’ then floated like the choir girls that they actually are on the ballads, infused with old soul. The Goldtops gave me everything I wanted. Yes, I’m more than pleased with this one.”
Parker will be supporting the new album with a series of full-band tour dates in the UK this Autumn. Out on CD and all streaming services on September 8th (with a limited-edition colored vinyl edition to follow in October), LAST CHANCE TO LEARN THE TWIST is as warm and inviting a record as Graham Parker has ever issued, but it also delivers all the unflinching honesty, literate nuance and passion his admirers have come to expect from him. September brings their first chance to hear it for themselves.