3013-4-R Struck By Lightning
Produced by Graham Parker
Released on February 1991
US CHART POSITION #131
Find it at GEMM
3013-4-R cover  

A nother unflinchingly intelligent album from Parker. His venomous tongue is as sharp as ever, but the music this time is warm and rich, which makes Struck By Lightning more ingratiating than the lyric sheet would indicate. Without Brinsley Schwarz, Parker peppers the music with acoustic guitar, organ and harmonica, organic instruments that invite closest comparison to Elvis Costello’s King of America experiment. But where Costello’s stripped-down akustika smacked of Billy Bragg polemics, Parker seems to have arrived here by natural circumstances. The violin and organ accompaniment on “The Kid With The Butterfly Net,” for example, is both pungent and authentic. At fifteen tracks, Struck By Lightning is shockingly generous; that I wouldn’t cut one song from here is something of an after-shock. Personal favorites include the upbeat “Ten Girls Ago,” the obligatory reggae number (“When I Was King”), the downright nasty “They Murdered The Clown” and moving ballads like “Wrapping Paper” and “The Sun Is Gonna Shine Again.” Although very similar to The Mona Lisa’s Sister, the infusion of organ and other folk rock instruments (steel guitar, autoharp, etc.) make Parker more cuddly and less prickly. Mind you, a lot of rock artists originally grouped into new wave were gravitating toward stripped-down roots rock, perhaps in response to the success of bands like REM and a general backlash against synthesizers. Parker and his backing players have always preferred to play their instruments anyway, so the setting seems natural. The subject matter supports the more subdued setting by musing on mature matters: adult relationships, kids, immigration. It’s a funny thing that as we grow older we become more invested in the world around us. Parker wears his heart (and his mind) on his sleeve with Struck By Lightning, not to mention his enormous talent. He’s clearly still a figure worth watching.

3013-4-R back sleeve
3013-4-R back sleeve

TRACK LISTING

  1. SHE WANTS SO MANY THINGS    6:08
  2. THEY MURDERED THE CLOWN    3:54
  3. STRONG WINDS    3:52
  4. THE KID WITH THE BUTTERFLY NET    3:53
  5. AND IT SHOOK ME    3:42
  6. WRAPPING PAPER    3:38
  7. THAT'S WHERE SHE ENDS UP    3:10
  8. A BRAND NEW BOOK    3:28
  9. WEEPING STATUES    3:21
  10. GUARDIAN ANGELS    3:24
  11. CHILDREN AND DOGS    3:50
  12. OVER THE BORDER (TO AMERICA)    3:08
  13. WHEN I WAS KING    4:18
  14. TEN GIRLS AGO    3:28
  15. THE SUN IS GONNA SHINE AGAIN    3:55

    CD reissue bonus track
  16. I'M INTO SOMETHING GOOD

    Tracks 1-15 written by Graham Parker, arranged by Graham Parker, Andrew Bodnar and Pete Thomas.

CREDITS

GRAHAM PARKER -- vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, harmonica, toy piano, backing vocals
ANDREW BODNAR -- bass
PETE THOMAS -- drums and percussion
The Buxom Babes of Dreamland -- handclaps (8)
Baikida Carroll -- cornet (6)
Cyndi Cashdollar -- dobro, lap steel
Baird Hersey -- backing vocals
Larry Hoppen -- Hammond organ, synthesizer, backing vocals
Garth Hudson -- accordion, Hammond organ, synthesizer
David Keen -- French horn (6)
Vinnie Martucci -- piano, synthesizer
Natalie Parker, Bernadette Quinn, Claudia Parker, Mimi Paturel & Amber Funk -- kids (11)
John Sebastian -- autoharp, harmonica, backing vocals
Jay Ungar -- violin (4)
David Cook -- engineer, mixing
Chris Andersen -- overdub engineer
Jolie Parker -- photography
Wynn Dan -- cover design

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK 1991 Demon LP/CS FIEND 201 lyric sleeve
US February 1991 RCA CD/CS 3013 lyric sleeve
US March 23, 2004 Cherry Red CDX CDLEM026 w. bonus track

 

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