Kenny Parker review…March 21, 2019….

KENNY PARKER

HELLFIRE

ROCK-A-WHILE RECORDS

I’VE GOT MY EYE ON YOU–BABY COME BACK TO ME–BLIND AND PARALYZED–BYE BYE BABY–HELLFIRE–GOIN IN CIRCLES–DANCE WITH ME–I’M MISSING YOU–BUT THEN WE DANCED–HALF CRAZY–BACK UP PLAN–HARD TIMES IN THE LAND OF PLENTY

Kenny Parker is a firestorm of a guitar player who hails from Don’s town of birth, Detroit.  On his latest set for Rock-A-While Records, he joins forces with another powerhouse fretburner, Jim McCarty, who honed his chops with, among others, Mitch Ryder And The Detroit Wheels and The Buddy Miles Experience.  They wanted another A-lister on vocals so they could concentrate on six-stringin’, and made a wise choice in Dan Devins, who doubles down on harp.  With three of the five pieces firmly in place, the fivesome is completed by Mike Marshall on bass, and Dave Marcaccio on drums.  These guys crank out blues the same way Kenny cranked out Caddys on that Cadillac assembly line back in the day, playing in the clubs at night.

Bustin’ outta the gate and hittin’ on all 8,  Bill Heid’s piano embellishes Dan’s vocal on the ode to that one special lover, “I’ve Got My Eye On You.,” full of the fellows trading one solo after another!  Memories of the classic sound of Sam Moore and Dave Prater come to mind in “Baby Come Back To Me,” and that soulful stride carries on with the plaintive feel of “I’m Missing You.”

Good times are the order of the day, tho, and those comprised our favorites.  Firstly, a cool slow-blueser, “Blind And Paralyzed,” finds our hero callin’ out a cheatin’ lover who “took advantage of my pleasant disposition!”  The title cut is the spicy tale of “Red-head Ruby,” who’s “like a jolt from a lightning bolt–that girl is Hellfire.” The set closes with a barnburner—a live cut, from the Gem Theater in St. Louis, Michigan, and is one of the best versions of Omar Dykes’ “Hard Times In The Land Of Plenty” that we’ve ever heard!  This 1987 classic lamented even back then that “some got a little, some got a lot,”  which rings even more true today.

If you live down South for very long, you’ll know what “Hellfire” is.  Kenny Parker, tho, has made it a good thing–a rockin’ set of blues everyone can enjoy!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

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