Chris Eaton interviews Ian Parker, asks questions about Ian's new album "Politik Blues"


Politik Blues - review by Andy Snipper on Music-News.com

It has been a while since we heard from Ian but this album suggests he has lost none of his skills in either the vocal or guitar department while his songwriting is a strong and deep as ever.

He is back with old friends Chris Finn *drums) and Dave Jenkins (bass) (as well as Morg Morgan on keyboards) and the two create a powerful rhythm that somehow frees Parker to be as expressive as can be and gives a solid and reliable backing to one of Britain's finest guitarists.

It takes a lot of balls to open the album with a cover of Richie Havens 'Freedom' (the song that opened the Woodstock festival) but he gives it a hell of a going at with poundimg rhythms and Parker's soft and heartfelt vocal. The guitar lines are kept simple but the solo is sharp and sits perfectly under the rhythm – Morg Morgan's Hammond swells and ebbs, always there but never overshadowing the rhythm at the core of the number. All told a stunning version and remarkably true to the original.

Of his own songs 'Long Done and Gone' definitely sees Parker back in the Blues with a vengeance; a dark and atmospheric sound with some fine slide from Parker and a heavy bass and drums creating a dense miasma.
On 'Kampuchea' Parker gives one of the best solos I've heard from him. He is one of those guitarists that don't feel the need to show off their technique and the result is loaded with space and emotion but doesn't overpower the song.
I definitely get the feeling that Ian Parker has been saving his juices for this album – his first since 2008 – and the breathy vocals and Blues soul that were so much a part of his music when I first heard him back in 2003 are back. He has never been a shouty singer or fretboard terrorist, always had something to say with his songs and that is fully realised here.
'Truth' is so dark and emotive with Parker at his most whispery but the track draws you in and makes it impossible to ignore his words as he pours his heart out in the song. The solo is absolutely of his trademark – slightly Gilmore like but spare and harrowing.
He covers Cream's 'Politician', managing to put over the duality of the lyrics perfectly but the closer 'Left To Lose' takes us back into the heartbreaking and emotional Ian Parker that has been a feature of his music for years.

Ian makes a big statement here about returning to the Blues but the truth is that his is a very personal and very British interpretation of the Blues and I prefer to see it as returning to his own sound – something tells me that this one will be a live staple in years to come.

There aren't many singer/songwriters around who can write as well as Ian Parker and fewer guitarists who have their own voice. Welcome back Ian Parker, it's been too long.

Here's an article and interview with Ian by Bev Holder from the Dudley News on 27th March 2015:

STOURBRIDGE singer songwriter star Ian Parker is set to return to his blues roots with the release of a new album which will feature a tribute to late Cream bassman Jack Bruce.

Parker, whose last blues album was released back in 2008, will be launching his latest work Politik Blues - which features a song dedicated to Bruce who died in October - on Monday April 13.

The cover of Cream's Politician and a re-working of Woodstock Festival star Richie Haven's Freedom, which also features on Politik Blues, marks the first time Ian has recorded covers in the studio.

Ian said: "Blues has always been the bedrock of what I do and I am excited to return to my roots with Politik Blues. In many ways the three-piece sound, which dominates the album, rekindles some of the raw spirit of Cream and I'd like to think the cover of Politician is a fitting tribute to the great Jack Bruce who had a huge impact on my early artistic development.
"My big influences as a young artist were Cream and Hendrix, together with the song writing genius of The Beatles and Bob Dylan. After exploring the latter in more recent years I now want to let the music do the talking with this return to the electric blues that helped establish me on the circuit over a decade ago. At the same time, the album has a musical freshness and is lyrically far more outward looking than all of my previous work."

Featuring eight original tracks also, the recording which is being launched on Parker's own EyePea record label sees the 38-year-old singer and guitarist joined by long-term friends and experienced performers - Chris Finn (drums) and Dave Jenkins (bass) with whom he formed his first gigging band Strange Brew in the early 1990s. Ian, who has supported Eric Clapton, has played with Finn and Jenkins on and off for more than 20 years but this is the first time they have recorded together.

He said: "The album results from a series of chance reunions between three friends and musicians who know each other well. Over the last year, we have had great fun jamming together and things then snowballed into forming the band which naturally evolved into the creation of Politik Blues."
The album, which was recorded in Oxford and which promises to take fans back to Ian's early days as a blues frontman in Parker's Alibi, also features his regular sidekick Morg Morgan on keys on the three of the tracks.

Ahead of the official launch, Ian took to the stage at his spiritual home - the Robin 2 at Bilston - on Thursday April 9.
He said: "The Robin has always been a special venue in my career and I was honoured to be asked to play the last-ever gig at the original Robin before it closed."Since the mid-90s I've gigged at the Robin every year but I didn't play there during 2014."That makes it my longest spell without a performance there so I really can't wait to get out on the Robin 2 stage in April."


Greg Lewis chatting with Ian about The Bare Bones on his 'Rock-it Science' programme on WNTI in New Jersey, USA on Thu 07 Apr 2011 (about 12 minutes)

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Many thanks to Greg for permission to use the interview on this website.
Please listen to Rock-it Science on WNTI
The previous 4 weeks' shows are available at wnti.org/RS/index.asp

Ian Parker, Crosby Civic Hall. Gig Review. Sept 2nd 2010

When somebody of Ian Parker’s ability and stature comes to town, it would be foolish to miss whatever event he has planned. Whether it’s the full band experience or just him and a couple of friendly musicians in tow, you are guaranteed a night of sheer bliss, a definite moment of aural exquisiteness.

With a range of styles to his arsenal, including blues, Ian kicked off the hour and half set with Gates of Hell and the sensual Winding River to an audience that adored his effortless playing and general put upon Midlands humour and self deprecating appreciation.

It’s a rare treat for the Civic Hall in Crosby to get musicians of note but when they do come it’s always a grand night for the audience. Ian Parker’s short stop in Merseyside was no different as he continued to play songs from his back catalogue including a fantastic medley, which as Ian remarked is the modern musical faux pas and not done anymore, but as it included a version of Peter Green’s Green Manalishi in between his own creation of Told My Girl To Go Away everybody was more than willing to forgive him for thinking it would be wrong thing to do.

Ian was joined on stage by two fine musicians from his full electric band, the wonderful Chris Eaton on slide guitars and double bass player Steve Amedeo. These two men complemented Ian’s style and matched his desire to get the very best out of the instruments perfectly.

Other songs played by the guys on a top night were Humanity Blues, the uplifting Your Basket Has Never Been So Full and the lament People Come, People Go.

Ian and his band finished a fantastic night of entertainment with a U2 favourite but with his own personal twist and take to it. For those that were there the sight of Ian performing One in a style that harked back to the Man in Black himself, the late and dearly missed Johnny Cash, will be one that will live forever within them.

An astonishing and yet terrific night of music and hopefully it won’t be too long before he is back in the Liverpool area again.

Ian D. Hall

This review appears on the Liverpool Student Media website

Review and Interview by Greg Lewis on his 'Rock-it Science' programme on WNTI in New Jersey, USA on Thu 19 Nov 2009 (about 21 minutes)

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Many thanks to Greg for permission to use the interview on this website.
Please listen to Rock-it Science on WNTI

Demons & Doubters EP
Reviewer: Andy Snipper

To those of us who have been long term fans of Ian Parker this EP does not come as a massive departure from his usual style but rather it is where he has been heading for some time – and it really is quite superb too.

On paper Parker is a Blues guitarist, one of the new breed alongside Danny Bryant and Jay Tamkin and insofar as he was mentored in part by Walter Trout and Tomas Ruf that isn’t a big surprise; however, he was always a soulful performer and often looking deep inside himself his best numbers were more catharsis and explorations of the soul than simple rock n roll. This EP has all of the new Ian Parker and even though we don’t get the gut-wrenching guitar work what we gain is the untrammelled songwriting and easy presentation of a man who has found the sound he wants.

His voice has a pleading quality to it and he opens with ’Winding River’, a string-laden elegy to relationships with a delightfully gentle feel and some fine guitar playing.
'Grow’ is a piece of songwriting mastery that seems to describe the travails of being one thing while you are trying to be something else – one of the songs of the year as far as this writer is concerned and almost anthemic in its swelling and ebbing delivery.
'Lovers and Friends’ features his guitar at its best and 'Lost’ has a haunting Americana feel to it while 'Keep Me Walking’ is a jaunty love song in a country vein.

Ian Parker is beginning to emerge from the British Blues Guitarist role that he has been fulfilling for a while and as a first step this EP is evidence that there is a real star in the making. I can’t wait for the album!

Rating: 4 out of 5 by Andy Snipper

Review published on music-news.com and used with permission.