Five awesome but underrated albums from 1980s

Here are five albums you might have missed, been unaware of or just forgotten from the 1980s.

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Graham Parker And The Rumour - The Up Escalator

Graham Parker and The Rumour are very much on my favourite artists' list. From the early bootleg albums in the seventies onwards, they had power, soul, R&B, and a bit of anger in Parker’s voice all spilling out in their songs. This album came later and was the end of the pairing between Parker and The Rumour, for a long while anyway. 

Released in May 1980, The Up Escalator followed the highly successful Squeezing Out A Spark a year earlier. That earlier album had seen changes with The Rumour horns section having left, which continued on The Up Escalator. The rest of them separated from Parker just after the new album was released. 

As with that Crenshaw album above those pesky critics weren’t kind to the Up Escalator either and quibbled about its production too. Again denting sales and limiting success, the album only reached number 40 in the US. That’s a real shame as it had lots going for it. 

Parker was in great form. For the album he still had established musicians like Brinsley Schwarz and Martin Taylor in The Rumour and their superb guitar playing. Bruce Springsteen once referred to Parker as the only singer he’d pay to see. And he continued his support by adding his background vocals on “Endless Night”. 

“Stupefaction” is a classic Parker song, “No Holding Back” likewise, with a hint of early Elvis Costello too. Throughout the album Parker sneers, sounds soulful, and has fun with the lyrics. This is another superb album deserving more love and appreciation.