Paul Kelly had disbanded the Messengers by the time of his fifth U.S. release, and as a solo performer his musical approach was more diverse. He led the album off with a string chart on the stately "Summer Rain," cruised to Bakersfield for "Maybe This Time" (attention Buck Owens), to Memphis for "Ball and Chain" (attention Carl Perkins), and to Jamaica for "We've Started a Fire," while "Lately" sounded like an intended theme for a film noir of the 1940s. But for the most part, this still was familiar folk-rock, with Kelly singing romantic lyrics over acoustic and electric guitars and a rhythm section. Wanted Man was less ambitious lyrically than some of Kelly's earlier albums, but it served to distinguish him musically and suggested a transition from his band days to a broader stylistic base.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann