GRAHAM PARKER - The Up Escalator

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2003 U K reisse. Digitally remastered and expanded reissue of this album from Graham and the Rumour featuring two bonus tracks: 'Women in Charge' and 'Hey Lord Don't Ask Me Questions'. Originally released in 1980, the Up Escalator features Parker classics like 'No Holding Back', 'Stupefaction' and 'Endless Night', which features Bruce Springsteen on background vocals.

`The Up Escalator' is a woefully underappreciated gem - and would definitely get the nod as my favorite Graham Parker and the Rumour album. While `Squeezing Out Sparks' is lauded left and right - and is probably the only one of Parker's discs a casual fan could name - `The Up Escalator' has languished in obscurity, despite all the makings of a breakthrough album.
Consider: Producer Jimmy Iovine (Tom Petty's `Damn the Torpedoes', Dire Straits' `Making Movies', Bruce Springsteen's `Born to Run') brings his breathtaking panoramic sound to the table, recording the musicians live in the studio - giving the album his telltale larger-than-life stamp. This is an ideal compliment to the Rumour's superb backing, as they were always a top-notch live band. The guitar parts are interlocking like gears, and the rhythm section sounds crisp and clear - sidestepping the muddy production that often afflicted earlier GP+R releases.
Springsteen himself contributes backing vocals to the great (and Sprignsteen-esque) "Endless Night". E Street Band member Danny Federici (organ) and noted session pianist Nicky Hopkins (The Rolling Stones' `Exile on Main Street', The Who's `By Numbers') replace departed Rumour keyboardist Bob Andrews, providing their signature sounds to the proceedings.
The songs are all simultaneously catchy and full of vitriol, ranking them among Parker's best.