Graham Parker & The Goldtops | Last Chance To Learn The Twist – New Studio Release

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Last Chance To Learn The Twist is Graham Parker’s first album of new material in four years. Backed by The Goldtops — bassist Simon Edwards, drummer Jim Russell, guitarist Martin Belmont, and keyboardist Geraint Watkins — with contributions from the Easy Access Orchestra and the vocal duo The Lady Bugs, the 13 songs here represent a solid songwriter, who, as always, is not afraid to get more than slightly sardonic with his lyrics injected into lots of different song styles. 

Loud organ and guitar smacks open us into the stomping groove musical history lesson of “The Music Of The Devil.” But it’s songs like “Cannabis,” “Shorthand,” and the low bass growl of “Wicked Wit” where we encounter the more than slightly jaundiced view that Parker has always been known for. I’m always on the lookout for a specific songwriter’s strengths, and here Parker shows no lessening of his gifts.  

He can get sweet though, as he does around Watkins’ piano droplets on “It Mattered To Me,” a lovely song about a love gone astray. The snap of “Lost Track Of Time” makes for the perfect placement of this losing-love story song with its shunky cool beat from Russell and what might be the most singable chorus on all of Last Chance To Learn The Twist. And the itchy island-beat funk of “Them Bugs” sees what would otherwise have been a silly lyric, working perfectly when spun through Graham Parker’s prism. This is where we hear The Lady Bugs best as well.

There’s no ignoring the simple, perfect playing of The Goldtops throughout. From straight-ahead rockers to countryfied ditties to some sly funk, one can hear why Last Chance To Learn The Twist is as much credited to Graham Parker as it is The Goldtops. It’s good to have them where they belong.

~ Ralph Greco, Jr.

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