The late Thomas Wolfe once wrote that you can’t go home again but apparently Graham Parker wasn’t listening. The English singer-songwriter reunited with his old band The Rumour after 31 years apart and in the process recorded Three Chords Good, a dozen songs that hit on disparate topics ranging from abortion to Afghanistan’s failed foreign policy. Not unlike Elvis Costello’s Attractions, The Rumour are the kind of well-oiled machine that were a hand-in-glove compliment to Parker’s crisp and cutting songwriting and were, not coincidentally, co-conspirators in creating some of his best work. What has become one of this year’s more anticipated reunions initially started out as a joke by Steve Goulding, the band’s drummer, who was brought aboard to work on the new album along with Rumour bassist Andrew Bodnar.
“[I’d mentioned wanting] to do something different and Steve made a joke about [getting together with] the rest of the band,” Parker explained. “I foolishly emailed them and he was just making a joke and that’s all it was. It wasn’t something thought through. There were no mercenary tactics. I didn’t really feel that it was any big deal until I’d done it. Then I realized that it is quite a big deal after 30-plus years actually. So I scrambled and got a studio and got my engineer/co-producer Dave Cook, who I’ve worked with before, and got it all booked because I had to strike while the iron was hot, otherwise I would have started thinking about it and worrying.”
The event was held in the beautiful showroom of North Shore Architectural Stone and featured singer/songwriter Morley and actress Patricia Arquette, who served as the MC. Earlier in the day, Stacy Scarpone, executive director of the Women’s Fund of Long Island, joined Arquette and members of the Visiting Nurses Association to check on patients and make sure they had their medicine and had gotten through the storm okay. A side trip to Home Depot was made and according to Scarpone, “Patricia Arquette bought out the store getting a generator, batteries, mops, brooms, water to be delivered to parts of Long Island and the Rockaways.”
Mayor David Dinkins once referred to New York City and its various ethnicities as being a gorgeous mosaic. It’s a term that can be unerringly applied to singer-songwriter Garland Jeffreys and the modest but no less impressive canon that he’s recorded in the past four plus decades. It’s a description he readily embraces.
“I’m a rocker for sure, but I also have this other kind of jazz vocal style and it probably has something to do with my multiracial nature,” he says with a laugh. “It’s inherent in all my various styles. It’s like I want it all.”
Most of the featured cartoonists are Trudeau contemporaries: Newsday’s Walt Handelsman, the Denver Post’s Mike Keefe, Jimmy Margulies of New Jersey’s The Record, Steve Kelley of New Orleans’ Times-Picayune and the Philadelphia Daily News’ Signe Wilkinson. The work that represents them covers the usual array of contemporary topics—unemployment, the economy and education. In keeping with this tradition of casting a cynical and critical eye at current events, this quintet is following in the footsteps of the final person that rounds out this exhibit—Thomas Nast.
When Elliott Murphy started strumming the first chords of the 1930s Josephine Baker smash “Jai Deux Amours” at the Hotel de Ville, (Paris’s city hall), it may as well have been his own personal anthem. With a main lyric that translates to mean, “I have two loves/my country and Paris,” the song’s theme of an expatriate caught between the City of Light and home is appropriate given the fact that Murphy’s childhood roots have their origins in Garden City.
“I’m totally American but I have found a home here,” he explained on the phone from Europe. “I’ve been here for 22 years. The French have always been very accepting of me and I have a very nice [fan base] here but I always thought I was a little bit below the radar here. This was just great recognition for me.”
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