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Picks and Pans Review: The Last Rock'n'roll Tour

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Graham Parker & the Figgs

Graham Parker was a contemporary of the Sex Pistols and Elvis Costello and snarled a lot, so he was labeled a punk. But in truth he’s more like a brainier John Mellencamp, an R&B-loving, hard-rocking pro who has somehow never lucked into a huge audience. But as he sings on “Sharpening Axes,” “I don’t appeal to the masses, and they don’t appeal to me.” On this live CD, recorded at a single show in Albany, N.Y., last November during his tour with the Figgs, Parker artfully kicks out the jams, revivifying and unifying a selection of his work dating from 1976 to last year’s Acid Bubblegum, as well as bridging Chuck Berry (“Around and Around”) and Prince (“Cream”). It’s catchy, smart, sneaky and rough-hewn and puts most of what’s on MTV to shame. (Razor & Tie)