Graham Parker

Graham Parker

Ultimate Collection

Hip-O

Parker•s popularity unfortunately occupied a vicious and cluttered window of time, starting sometime before Elvis Costello and peaking in the days of early MTV, where it was common to catch him smashing an ice sculpture to the tune of “Temporary Beauty.” The unfortunate part is that while Parker•s talents and contributions are significant, these days he seems to be relegated to some sort of footnote amidst pub rock and “Angry Young Man” references.

Moving on, though, we find that Parker•s career has been surprisingly consistent, featuring an acrid attitude which comes through clearly on songs. The vitriol is often righteous, and you can•t help but grin at songs like “Mercury Poisoning,” “Local Girls,” and the aforementioned “Temporary Beauty,” where Parker seems to think of the meanest thing to say and then say it kindly.

Fans of guitar songwriters — from Costello to Prine — would do well to become familiar with this body of work, and the Ultimate Collection is a good place to start.

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