Graham Parker: Imaginary Television (Bloodshot)

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Graham Parker: Weather Report
Graham Parker: Imaginary Television (Bloodshot)

In Britain’s post-punk era Parker and the Rumour emerged with an urgent, often angry sound that owed as much to pub-rock and venomous Bob Dylan as it did to American soul, r’n’b and rocked-up country.

They were real contenders and their early albums still sound full of bile’n’fire. Parker’s solo career became more measured when he relocate to the US and his singer-songwriter style (still often with stabbing intent) came to the fore.

He’s probably off the radar for most but he’s never gone away and this album bristles with hook-filled songs, and delivers that distinctive voice (sometimes sounding like our own Graham, Mr Brazier -- notably on the dark ballad Broken Skin).

This benefits from his typically memorable way with a lyric which can sound like he’s struggling to escape his own skin: Bring Me a Heart where he confesses as much; on Weather Report he admits he’s a man out of time; the terrific Snowgun and You’re Not Where You Think You Are which find him in vintage form.

His cover of Jimmy Cliff's More Questions Than Answers is pretty good.

The album came from an invitation to write a television sitcom theme (he declined) then Parker writing songs for imagined shows and hauling in his road-tested band.

There are duffers (the laboured It’s My Party based on Leslie Gore’s hit, the make-weights Always Greener and See Things My Way) but when he gets the phlegm going he’s on the money.

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