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Graham Parker

Imaginery Television – 2010 (Bloodshot)

Reviewed by Stuart Munro

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CDs by Graham Parker

Graham Parker's latest grew out of a foray into the world of providing television series theme music (hilariously detailed by Parker on his website, if you're interested). According to Parker, the venture didn't yield any immediate placement, but it planted the seed for "Imaginary Television;" the experience led him to dream up his own TV shows, and then the theme songs, collected here, to go with those creations.

The show descriptions, accompanied by critic blurbs the likes of which you'll never see in your daily rag ("'I don't get it,' says the mystified reviewer from the Star-Ledger" about one of them), take the place of lyrics as the disc's liner notes and provide the key to the songs. At least that's the claim; you can decide for yourself after reading them (try this one: See Things My Way, a show that follows a pair of Taiwanese conjoined twins who have been transplanted to a DC suburb where they decide to form a musical duo named - wait for it - "Double Trouble"). Whatever the status of the shtick, the songs are a typical Parker mix, by turns bitingly acerbic and beautifully tender, and they sound like vintage GP, too, with some splashes of reggae (More Questions Than Answers, See Things My Way), supper-club jazz (Bring Me a Heart Again) and even kazoo music (Head On Straight) along the way.