Denis Parker was inducted into the Newfoundland Labrador Music Hall of Fame last year to celebrate his 50 years of performing, writing and teaching. It also includes his almost twenty years as Executive Director of its Music Industry Assocation. He is originally from England where he came up with the Panama Limited Jug Band, whose two albums have recently been re-issued on Cherry Red Records. In St. John’s since 1971, he has performed with most everyone and recorded with Roger House & Scott Goudie. A solo album was the well-received Snowman Blues from 1998. In 2014, he released a band album, Denis Parker And The Modern Saints. Been So Long features new, mostly solo, recordings of songs that didn’t make it to those albums, including five from his Panama Limited days, plus some recent compositions. He may have had some of these songs around for a while but they are all very good and with some pre-war country blues favourites mixed in, make for a most welcome acoustic blues CD. One of the favourites opens, a fine version of “Canned Heat Blues”, featuring harmony vocals by daughter Sarah Parker-Charles. Her contribution contrasts nicely with her father’s gruff blues voice. Sarah again helps out on the title song. It and “Rainman Blues”, “Shiver”, “Crystal Ball Blues” and “Worry Worry Blues” are solo highlights. His version of “Trouble In Mind” has a lovely reference to the ‘Newfie Bullet”. Members of the Modern Saints help out too, with John Clark playing slide on several, Mick Davis on bass and Elliot Dicks on percussion. “Kokomo Blues” has all of them playing and rocks along nicely. They also join in on “Movin’ On”, an appropriate conclusion to this generous, nineteen song survey. You should get in touch with Fred’s Records in St. John’s, www.fredsrecords.com, to get his music.

Top Blues - August 2018
August 2018 - Tri-Continental