Yesteryears Recaptured
Ken Parker
Pisces Records
CD / Digital Release
August 1, 2013

Track list
  1. Jimmy Brown
  2. I Should Have Known
  3. True True
  4. I Can't Hide
  5. Help Me Make It Through The Night
  6. Need To Belong To Someone
  7. Will The Circle Be Unbroken
  8. A Change Is Gonna Come
  9. My Whole World Is Falling Down
  10. Chocking Kind
  11. Forbidden Love
  12. Only Yesterday
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 4/5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4
Like so many other Jamaican singers of the era, Ken Parker began singing in church where his father was a preacher. In 1961 he left home and went to the Youth Corps where he joined the choir. At the Youth Corps he was taught diction, pronunciation and voice training. In the mid-1960s he went to Kingston and formed a vocal group called The Blues Benders. They arranged to audition for Coxsone Dodd, but due to a misunderstanding, Ken Parker was the only member to turn up. Thus he decided to audition as a soloist and was selected by Lee Perry to record for Studio One. This was where the full potential of his unique voice surfaced. He stayed with Studio One for approximately two years, then left and recorded tracks for Bunny Lee, Joe Gibbs, Rupie Edwards, Federal Music, Dynamic Sounds, and Treasure Isle.

In 1973 Ken Parker relocated from Jamaica to the U.K., where he recorded for Work House Production, producers for A&M Records. Things did not work out well for him so he decided to be his own producer. He produced and recorded his first two gospel albums, "I Shall Not Be Moved" and "Jesus On The Main Line" for his own Pisces label. He later moved to Florida, where he continued to sing and record. He is active in the community and is the host of The Gospel Hour on on WAVS-AM 1170.

Now this veteran reggae and gospel singer has released a brand new album, which he recorded with Willie Lindo in Miami FL. Backed by the Fab 5 band, Ken Parker treats the listener to new versions of some of his all-time classics including No.1 hits he scored for Studio One, and some of the most noted singles he recorded for Duke Reid's Treasure Isle. Speaking of the latter, it's nice to hear that they have used some samples of old Treasure Isle horns. The album opener, "Jimmy Brown", was produced by Duke Reid after Ken Parker's return to Jamaica in 1971 (he had moved to the U.S. in 1969), and topped the reggae charts in the U.K. for 6 weeks. Other remakes of hits from that particular period at Treasure Isle featured here are the great "I Can't Hide", the rendition of Kris Kristofferson's country ballad "Help Me Make It Through The Night", and "True True", the latter at the time being covered by U-Roy. Also present are new versions of his two No.1 hits for Studio One; "My Whole World Is Falling Down" and "Choking Kind".

Especially Ken Parker's effortless falsetto shines bright throughout the entire album, which makes it a joy to listen to this collection. And although we prefer to listen to the originals, it's good to hear all those classic tunes done in great style by both singer and backing band.