Graham Parker Don't Tell Columbus

The transition from angry young man to angry middle-aged man is not an easy one to pull off smoothly. Credit Parker with that achievement, as shown on songs like "England’s Latest Clown” and "Stick To The Plan.” Musically, he has evolved from the young, soulful Brit pub rocker of the late ’70s to a Woodstock-based troubadour on a noted roots music label (this is his third album on Bloodshot). In fact, the album title and first track both allude to his trans-Atlantic migration. His songs now may be a little simpler and mellower than his early horn-driven work with the Rumour but his passion still burns brightly. Like peers John Hiatt and Elvis Costello, he may not possess a smooth or pure voice but its rough edges add emotional authenticity. There are a few clunkers, such as the melodically banal "Ambiguous,” while some tunes, including the near-six-minute-long "Stick To The Plan,” could have used some editing. Still, even the mediocre numbers are usually partly rescued by a good line or two, as with this from "Ambiguous”: "And the meek shall inherit the Earth, from their friends the scum.” It’s the introspective soul-searching of tunes like "Somebody Saved Me,” "Bullet Of Redemption” and the lovely closing song, "All Being Well,” that show Parker at his best here. (Bloodshot)