Rolling Stone (p.71) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "The words may be jagged, yet the music is rarely less than supple."
Personnel: Graham Parker (guitar, kazoo, claves, background vocals); Brinsley Schwarz (guitar, background vocals); Martin Belmont (guitar); Bob Andrews (keyboards, background vocals); Steve Goulding (drums, percussion); The Deep Snaps (hand claps).
Audio Mixers: Dave Cook; Graham Parker.
Recording information: Dreamland Studios, West Hurley, NY.
Photographers: Peter Morris; Ken Mazur.
Arranger: Graham Parker & the Rumour.
It is not as if Graham Parker never found another sympathetic backing band after he parted ways with the Rumour in 1980. Notably, he joined forces with the power pop band the Figgs in the mid-'90s, having them as his supporting group for over a decade, a far longer stretch of time than he played with the Rumour, but there was no shaking the ghost of his original band, the one who supported him on the classics Howlin' Wind and Squeezing Out Sparks. Whatever lingering grievances between bandmates were forgotten and forgiven and Parker reunited with the Rumour for 2012's Three Chords Good, its release coinciding with their pivotal appearance in Judd Apatow's This Is 40. Thirty-two years have passed since Parker & the Rumour recorded together, and the vibe on Three Chords Good is decidedly different than either the semi-stiff attempted 1980 crossover The Up Escalator or its lacerating 1979 predecessor Squeezing Out Sparks. Parker is no longer an angry young man, he's a grizzled old curmudgeon with a sentimental streak, a decidedly warmer persona and one that suits the Rumour's revived pub rock. Often, Three Chords Good hearkens back to the relaxed, almost casual, vibe of Howlin' Wind, where the group slyly spliced the Stones with Van Morrison. Here, the Stones are largely absent, replaced by hints of Dylan ("Arlington's Busy") and an off-hand virtuosity that finds the Rumour slipping into reggae ("Snake Oil Capital of the World") as easily as they do supper-club jazz ("Live in Shadows"). Apart from the first single "Coathangers," there isn't much straight-ahead rock & roll here; the music shuffles along in an unhurried gait, leaving plenty of time for the Rumour to lock into a slow, soulful groove, for Martin Belmont to throw out clean, enticing lead lines and for Parker to play around with his barbed words. Perhaps not surprisingly for a reunion, Parker is in a reflective frame of mind -- he opens the album noting that it's been a "Long Emotional Ride" and closes it with "Last Bookstore in Town, and in between he alternates between reminiscences and resigned shrugs at the state of the world today -- and the expert elastic roots rock of the Rumour gives his songs depth, making Three Chords Good the rare reunion that simultaneously looks back while living in the present ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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- Piss & Vinegar: The Songs of Graham Parker (Various Artists)