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Three Chords Good

4.2 out of 5 stars 64 customer reviews

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Audio CD, November 19, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

2012 album from the British singer/songwriter, who has reunited his original band the Rumour for their first album together in 31 years. Produced by Dave Cook and Graham Parker, the collection's 12 original tracks of driving and confessional rock and roll were recorded in upstate New York and feature the classic Rumour line-up of Brinsley Schwarz and Martin Belmont on guitars, Steve Goulding on drums, Andrew Bodnar on bass and Bob Andrews on keyboards. ''After a hiatus of over 30 years, it was extraordinary to hear the Rumour backing my material again,'' says Parker. ''We've finally made an album of true musical collaboration that we're all very proud of."

Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 19, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Primary Graham
  • ASIN: B00917IQFY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #99,606 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Graham Parker is both one of the most under-appreciated artists of the past 35 + years as well as one of the most consistently great over that span of time. His new album "Three Chords Good" is backed by the Rumour for the first time in over 30 years. Up until they parted ways after 1980, the Rumour backing Graham Parker was the one backing band that could have given Springsteen's E Street Band a run for its money. Graham Parker went on to make one very good - fantastic album after another in the 30 years since he parted ways with the Rumour. That said, as great as many of those non Rumour Graham Parker albums were, they probably all would have been even better had the Rumour still been backing him. Which brings us to the new album "Three Chords Good". This is a typically great Graham Parker album that's made even greater due to the Rumour being back on board. Hopefully Graham Parker's being featured in the upcoming movie "This is 40" will give this new album the much needed exposure to actually sell a non-trivial amount of copies. "Three Chords Good" is among the best albums that's been released this year. Each of its 12 songs is fantastic. The album features great singing, great lyrics, a great backing band and great melodic tunes with infectious hooks that you can't get out of your head. It's a near perfect album.
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Format: Audio CD
"Three Chords Good", the reunion album by Graham Parker and the Rumour, is not a throwback to the classic Graham Parker & The Rumour albums of the late 1970s thru 1980. Anyone looking for a redo of that explosiveness will probably be disappointed. But they shouldn't be.

While "Three Chords Good" is less aggressive than those early GP & Rumour albums, it is arguably still just as good. They are not trying to sound like they are still in their 20s and early 30s. The sound captured on "Three Chords Good" is of a band in their 60s. That means it's a more reflective and less juiced up sound. But the songs are still extraordinary and the album rocks as much as it needs to. The playing of The Rumour is more subtle than on the early GP albums, but still top notch. These are exceptionally talented musicians and it shows.

The Rumour were one of the great backing bands and what a shame that Graham Parker chose to disengage from them after 1980. While that didn't stop Graham Parker from releasing many great albums in the 3 decades since, it was still a tragic mistake to disassociate from The Rumour. Since The Rumour were arguably one of the great backing bands ever, what came after from Graham Parker could only compare negatively since no matter how good the playing might have been and no matter how great the songs and strong the albums were, the end result could never be quite as brilliantly realized as would have been the case, both live and on record. That's perceptive reality, whether it's justified or not.

Regardless of what might have or could have been, the bottom line is that "Three Chords Good" is a classic Graham Parker and The Rumour album.
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These guys are 30+ years older, more seasoned, more mature. The album didn't bowl me over at first (I received my copy during the first week of release), but it grew on me quickly. Now, I'm listening to it constantly. The musicianship is so very fine, the lyrics sharp, tempered with wisdom, leavened with wit and humor. I've been following GP from his first days with the Rumour, all throughout his solo career, up to today, and this album is a new high mark for him and the band. Songs that I particularly like include "Snake Oil Capitol of the World" (with its hint of reggae), "Three Chords Good," "Old Soul," and "Live in Shadow." It's wonderful listening to such wonderful musicians playing so well together.
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They might not be as young as they used to be, but Graham Parker and the Rumour are as spry as ever and still play beautiful music. With this album, Parker shows he's one of the few rockers whose later work is as good or better than his early work. It's a spirited album with unusual chord progressions and melodies, adult lyrics that don't insult your intelligence, often with uncommon rhymes, and hooky guitar licks. There are one or two songs of dubious quality, but compare that to other seasoned rockers too numerous to mention whose whole albums are of that caliber. I'd actually rate this a 4 1/2.
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Format: Audio CD
This is an excellent album with quality songs and songwriting. My only complaint about this collection of songs is that Graham Parker needs a human resources department in his brain so he can properly utilize the immense talents of guitarist Brinsley Schwarz and the other members of The Rumour. Although the songs on this album are very high energy, full band electric songs will always overpower acoustic tunes. Not to mention, GP & The Rumour are best known for their full band electric albums and live performances.

In recent years, Graham has gravitated toward a more acoustic roots rock sound and this works very well in defining the sound of his solo career. The problem is that Three Chords Good is not a Graham Parker solo album, but rather a reunion album of Graham Parker & The Rumour. The best known member of The Rumour is lead guitarist Brinsley Schwarz, who emerged from what we can only assume was retirement or hiding to be part of this magical reunion. Was Brinsley's talent properly utlized? Give this album a listen and decide for yourself.
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