I first got interested in Graham Parker's music because his backing band, the Rumour, included Martin Belmont who had been in Ducks Deluxe. I loved the Ducks and was exploring the world of music by expanding out from act to related act. The first album I bought by Parker was Another Grey Area, which actually didn't involve the Rumour. That wasn't his best work, and I didn't really take to it. I like it better now than I did then. Even though I didn't care for the album, I still bought his earlier ones (which did include the Rumour), since I was a bit of a completist. I guess I still am, but not as obsessively so.
I liked the early albums better (and now I love some of them -- especially Heat Treatment) but he just didn't make it to the top tier in my book. That level was occupied by Nick Lowe, Dave Edmunds and Wreckless Eric. Over the years I picked up tyhe albums he did with the Rumour, and some of the solo albums as well (if I found them cheap). But I never really liked his music as much as I wanted to.
But that changed in the last few years. A few things happened. For one, I have come to better accept the mellowing of his music. I think I owe that to Nick Lowe. When he started his transition to crooner, I didn't like it. At one point, seeing an article that referred to his new style as "Americana" I joked with a friend that that must be another way of saying "Adult Boring." But my brain had hooked itself on Nick's voice, so it was able to make the transition and I slowly started appreciating Nick's new incarnation. That effectively helped my brain to appreciate Parker, who had also mellowed with age. So, when there were solo albums of stripped down versions of his early angry material, I was able to get my head around them. I realize that this may sound nutty, but I believe that's a big part of how the brain reacts.
More recently, Parker recorded an album, Your Country, with a version "Crawling from the Wreckage." Crawling was a song of Paerker's that Dave Edmunds had recorded for his album, Repeat When Necessary, which many people consider to be his best. I had to buy that. And, whicle I was dissapointed in the new version of the song, there was enough good material on the album to get me to notice Parker again. His next album, Songs of No Consequence, was a spectacular tour de force. He saounded angry again, and I loved it.
But what I like even better than his newer material are live recordings from his days with the Rumour. Which gets me to my recent support for a Kickstarter project that involved putting together a six-disc set of concerts. That box set reminded me of Graham at his greatest.
A couple concert videos for your enjoyment: