JC writes……..

Jonny has come back with another batch of Charged Particles, and as I cut’n’paste from his e-mail I also want to share with you some other exciting news from him:-

“Happy Summer, JC! Things are rocking along over here. I am excited to say I will be recording with the Aces in a few weeks’ time. I only ever recorded once and that was back in 1987! Very psyched to get into a proper studio (first time out was just two takes per song in a converted brownstone in Brooklyn — we recorded live in the living room with the mixing board in the kitchen.) This will also be the first time I get to record backing vocals. I’ll email again when it happens – hoping it’s as fun as I anticipate.”

As I said before when news came that JTFL was, in his early-50s, getting a chance to be part of a touring and recording country band…..WOW!!!!

Here’s his latest very fine contribution to this little corner of the internet.


Charged Particles #2 featured a pair of tracks by Elvis Costello, who I described as “everyone’s favorite wordy old uncle.”   Today’s set features a couple from his cantankerous older brother, Graham Parker.

Protection.  From Parker’s best LP, 1979’s  ‘Squeezing Out Sparks’.  Featuring the classic Rumour lineup:  Schwarz, Belmont, Bodnar, Andrews and Goulding.

Stupefaction.  From ‘Sparks’ follow up 1980’s ‘The Up Escalator’.  All of the Rumour save Andrews featured again.  This time out keyboard duties were handled by ivory legend Nicky Hopkins and The E Street Band’s Danny Federici.  (The Boss himself turned up for background vocals on ‘Endless Night’.)

It’s a toss up between ‘Local Girls’ and ‘Stupefaction’ as my favorite GP song.  What’s amazing to me is how the thoroughly English Parker managed to capture the mood of Los Angeles in the latter song.  Or at least I always understood him to mean LA.  Surely the lines about driving on Sunset (Blvd.), “the bodies so revealing,” and the “cameras without action” are all references to Hollywood?  In any event, while Parker was arguably operating near the level of Costello at the time (EC’s ’79 and ’80 releases were the spectacular ‘Armed Forces’ and ‘Get Happy’) I think he peaked with ‘Escalator’.  His subsequent albums without the Rumour never really did it for me.


8 thoughts on “CHARGED PARTICLES (12)

  1. How Graham Parker was not massive I will never know.
    A great voice and a true talent

  2. EC and GP = two of my favorite cranky relatives. Cousin Joe Jackson… what a Christmas morning that would be! Such gifts.

  3. It’s funny. In 1978 I was all about Elvis Costello, and ignored Graham Parker. Today, I have more Parker albums than Costello records, and I’ve never heard a duff one, unlike Elvis “Mercurial” Costello, who had released what I would call two great albums after 1986. These are vastly outnumbered by some seriously awful ones that make my head hurt. Meanwhile, Parker may not be as eclectic as E.C. but he sure comes much closer to the target, and every time out! I don’t rate his albums with The Rumour particularly better than the solo albums, for what it’s worth. Though he reformed The Rumour a few years back, I still don’t have those albums yet.

    The latest one I have is “Your Country,” the better-than-Almost-Blue “country music” album that GP released in 2004… where he also duetted with Lucinda Williams the same year as E.C. did on his one great album of the last 31 years, “The Deliveryman.” Of the “Angry Young Men Of New Wave®” I rate GP as the top talent trailed by highly variable Elvis Costello, and with runt of the litter Joe Jackson bringing up the rear. Both E.C. and J.J. are prone to make stiff, pretentious albums that are work to listen to. I am always entertained by Parker!

  4. Love the EC, JJ, GP trifecta… particularly around ’79 and ’80. In more recent years, GP has made the more interesting music.

  5. Hmm…guess I’ll have to revisit Parker’s later stuff if it resonates so much with the crowd. Still, while I won’t defend Costello’s self-indulgent genre exercises and occasionally awful records, I rate his early biz so highly that I don’t think I could narrow down a 10 song ICA from just his recordings with the Attractions.

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