JOHN PARKER"JOHN PARKER - SELF TITLED" SWING SUIT RECORDSRUNNING MONKEY MUSIC BY PETER "BLEWZZMAN" LAURO
© DECEMBER 2008
JOHN PARKER has always written songs that are funny and true to his personal life. Suffering from liver cancer, his music became his medicine - it gave him his happiness and kept him going for several years. The finishing touches were put on this "Self-Titled" CD just days before he passed away. None of the music he ever wrote was more personal than the songs that appear on this disc. As I listened to them, it became quite clear to me that I was listening to a man who knew his fate, accepted it and actually used it in a positive way. On one of the tracks, JOHN says that if he ever had a chance to live his life over again, the only thing he'd change was that he'd "Find a cure for the blues". If you ask me, I believe he already had.
JOHN PARKER may be known as the "The Rockin' Bluesman", but make no mistake about it - his music is not Blues Rock, it is the Blues. I guess the association with "Rockin" comes from the claim that his music will "make you leave your seat and get up on your dancin' feet." So let's start dancin'.
On his second release - a self titled CD - JOHN PARKER, on Lead Guitar & Vocals, was joined by JEFF JENSEN on Rhythm Guitar, BILL RUFFINO on Bass and Backup Vocals, STEVE HALTER on Keyboards, Organ & Piano, CHRIS COLLIER on Drums and Backup Vocals, RALPH MUEGGLER on Drums, NATE LA POINTE on Guitar, Slide Guitar & Pedal Steel, SHERRY PRUITT on Backup Vocals and KYLE CULKIN on Guitar.
It sounds like some of the lyrics on the opening track may have come to JOHN while watching a TV commercial. "No money down, easy pay, divorce / bankrupt / bad credit OK - same day financing - drive it away". All of that obviously made it easy for him to say "I GOT ME A NEW CAR". This one featured great guitar work from John and exceptional rhythm from Bill & Chris on the bass and drums.
"I AIN'T GONNA GIVE UP" was obviously more than the title of this song - it was JOHN'S belief. This track pretty much tells his story and in doing so offers some pretty encouraging advice as well. Musically it's one of the discs best. JOHN'S smokin' it on guitar, NATE'S great on the Pedal Steel and the rest of the band's jammin' out. Real good stuff.
JOHN'S realism makes it easy for him to say he's going to "FORGET ALL HIS FEARS". This, one of the few slower tracks, features more amazing real life lyrics, great lead and backup vocals, soft piano and organ work from STEVE and great blues guitar licks from JOHN.
"I'VE GOT THE BLUES" is a smoker. C'mon, would you expect anything less with a title like that? This one features some of JOHN'S best guitar work and some real hot piano blues from Steve. As on most tracks, the rhythm sections at it's peak. More good stuff right here.
With the rest of the band in a real soft groove behind him, "HOPELESS ROMANCE" is all about the man, his vocals, his guitar, his thoughts and his emotions. This is JOHN PARKER at his best. I dare you to not hit replay at the end of this one.
There's nothing worse than having the blues "EARLY IN THE MORNING", as this track will attest. On the other hand, if ya gotta get up early in the morning, this one will have you doin' a calypso before you even have your coffee. Great percussion and backup vocals highlight this Island sounding tune.
"I'LL NEVER BE FREE" is definitely one of the songs they were talking about when they said JOHN PARKER'S music will make you leave your seat and get up on your dancin' feet. However, to this one, you'll be doin' a lot more swaying than rockin'. What an absolutely beautiful and relaxing song. JOHN'S vocals and STEVE'S keyboards will surely sweep you away. Although there is more, this appears to be the most fitting song to close with.
Other tracks on this remarkable disc include: "THE PRICE OF FAME", "LOVE'S GONNA FIND YOU", "MY VALENTINE", "QUEEN OF THE DAMNED" and 'WAITIN' FOR THE WATER TO RISE".
I know I close out all of my reviews stating how much I loved what I just listened to and wrote about, and I always recommend you grab a copy for your collection, and that's because I choose my reviews. Having said that, if you've never listened to that advice before, do yourself a real favor and take heed....even if it's the first and last time you do. This may very well be the most interesting CD I've heard all year.
Please check out JOHN PARKER'S web site by going to his website at
www.JohnParkerBlues.com- and you won't have to tell him the Blewzzman sent ya..... I have a feeling he already knows that.
Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro
Contributing writer for BLUESWAX
Blues Editor at www.Mary4Music.com
Santa Clarita Valley
23642 Lyons Ave.
PO Box 220575
Newhall, Ca 91321