Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Graham Parker: Howlin' Wind [Mercury, 1976]
Parker builds his white r&b of such familiar materials that it takes awhile for the songs to sort themselves out, but their fury is unmistakable--in the time-honored English manner, bass and drums play the house-rocking rhythms of Chicago and Detroit for righteous anger rather than good-time escape. Then songs come clear, marred at times by the white bluesman's chronic romanticism of the blood--"Gypsy Blood," to be precise--but so passionate that every personal animus takes dead aim at the great world. Parker's "strange religion/Without any God" may well be himself. But when he instructs the Lord not to ask him questions, he doesn't extend the prohibition to Graham Parker. A