Three Chords Good, out
next week on the Primary Wave label, could be the lads in 1976 – but it’s also
absolutely now. Listen to a track
from it, below, and click the link for the band’s North American tour dates,
starting Nov. 19.
By Steve Pick
A blast of groaning guitars and keyboards massaging an
opening chord, and then a reggae groove as slinky as any rock band has ever
snuck out of Jamaica.
Of course, that’s “Don’t Ask Me Questions,” by Graham Parker & the Rumour,
from their debut album Howlin’ Wind back in 1976. It’s also “Snake Oil Capitol of the World” by the same band on
their first album together in 31 years.
Parker has made plenty of solid to terrific albums in the
intervening years, but it is clear that the Rumour are his perfect
collaborating musicians. After all, three of their first four albums were among
the greatest in rock music history. Three
Chords Good won’t match those, but it’s awfully nice hearing Martin Belmont
& Brinsley Schwarz trade guitar licks, Andrew Bodnar & Stephen Goulding
propel the bass & drum lines, and secret weapon Bob Andrews play wondrous
Parker’s new songs are sharp, especially a made-for-Rumour
gem, “Live in Shadows” and a powerful pro-choice rocker, “Coathangers” (listen to it, above). But it’s the sound
of songwriter matched to band that makes this record so deliriously good.
Parker & the Rumour begin a North American tour on Nov. 19 in Poughkeepsie,
running through Dec. 19 in Saint Paul.