Graham Parker – Imaginary Television

January 01, 1970


For the better part of the last 35 years, Graham Parker’s
been known as an irascible agitator, an artist whose considerable talents have
always found him toiling in the shadow of contemporaries like Elvis Costello
and Tom Petty. Despite an enviable career and a prodigious output, he never
quite achieved the wider acclaim he so clearly deserved.  To his credit, however, he’s never faltered;
every Parker album has maintained quality control, and happily, Imaginary Television (Bloodshot) is no


If there is any change in Parker’s MO, it owes to the fact
that these days there’s a little less grit, owing to a realization, perhaps,
that he can gracefully age without appearing to retreat. “We’re all downsizing
what we’re doing with our lives,” he concedes on “Broken Skin,” a song that
sounds soothing when compared to his once walloping delivery.  Yet, he can still cajole, as “See My Way”
clearly suggests, although he emulates more a friendly folkie than the upstart
insurgent.  “It’s my party and I won’t
cry/It’s my funeral but I won’t die,” he asserts on “It’s My Party (But I Won’t
Cry),” a song that makes a stab for defiance but delivers it with irony rather
than arrogance.


A mellow Parker seems a stunning reversal, especially
considering the fact that there’s little here that rocks more furiously than a
shuffle or a sway. And yet, if Parker’s not exactly squeezing out sparks, he’s
still smoldering quite credibly.


“Weather Report,” “It’s My Party (But I Won’t Cry),” “See




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