10 songs time-46:53
Houston’s Sparky Parker has paid his dues in various bands-Bayou Monster and Mojofromopolis. He currently plays in Diunna Greenleaf’s Blue Mercy Band and Funky Mustard. He now brings his considerable guitar chops and vocal skills to fronting The Sparky Parker Band on this his debut release. This live recording from Dan Electro’s Guitar Bar was a perfect choice for their first time out, as it showcases the bands forceful and cohesive attack. Bass man Larry Evans is an integral part of their sound, not content to stay in the background. He drives the rhythm amazingly as he locks in with the powerful drumming of Kevin Barry. Sparky’s vocals are well suited to this music. His guitar playing is well informed in the blues and blues-rock genres. He can play straight ahead blues or zoom into the stratosphere with soaring beautifully distorted notes flying from the strings.
The band hits the mark full on with their tight rendition of Willie Cobbs’ “You Don’t Love Me” at the onset. There isn’t much in the way of guitar soloing on this one, but hold on tight, things get cooking as the CD progresses. The original “Treat Me Mean” finds Sparky lighting up the proceedings with his smokin’ guitar licks as the rhythm sections interplay is showcased. It’s in the tradition of old traditional blues. The only give away that it is current is the blues meets blues-rock guitar playing. On another self-penned tune “Games”, Sparky’s playing is solid blues. Howlin’ Wolf’s “Killin’ Floor” starts out slow, then switches gears a few times. Sparky plays some classic style blues before kicking in into overdrive. Here as elsewhere his voice is smooth and soulful with just the right touch roughness. Distorted blues-rock guitar fires up Muddy Waters’ ode to testosterone, “I’m Ready”. Their soulful take on Magic Sam’s “That’s All I Need” is a beautiful blues stroll. Willie Dixon’s “She’s Dangerous” finds our hero squeezing out sparks from his axe.
The second tune from Muddy, “Long Distance Call” positions Larry Evans’ walking bass line underneath Sparky’s string bending exhibition. The final original tune “Like You Say You Do” delivers a similar sentiment to the classic “If You Love Me Like You Say, Why Do You Treat Me Like You Do?”. It’s a really nice easy rolling shuffle. Muddy’s “Catfish Blues” is a blues-rock extravaganza replete with Hendrix style distorted gonzo guitar, clocking in at just under nine minutes.
This is definitely a keeper. The line between blues and blues-rock is blurred as Sparky’s playing goes to and fro between genres and it’s all good. With his locked-in rhythm section at his every beck-and-call, we have here one dynamic trio. Can’t wait to see what they come up with next. For now, check out this tasty little bluesy morsel.