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IAN PARKER 'Whilst The Wind' Ruf Records (2005)

Ian Parker

Almost imperceptibly and in spite of media apathy, there has been a slow but certain emergence of a new vanguard of blues artists in the UK. Names such as Innes Sibun, Aynsley Lister, Danny Bryant, John Amor, Ian Siegal, Matt Scofield, Joanne Shaw Taylor, Sean Webster, Scott McKeon etc have been around for varying period of times. And suddenly there is almost a new scene on our hands, but interestingly with artists who use the blues idiom as their base but seek to explore more innovative musical frontiers.

Ian is such an artist but with this live album he takes things a step further eschewing the easy options of 12 bar blues and shuffles to concentrate on some mesmerising songs of his own.

In front of a hushed but totally attentive German crowd Ian delivers a compelling mix of honest lyrics combined with inspired playing and a white boy soul singing and teases out every nuance and last drop of feel from each song. “The Truth Within” is such a song with a beautifully understated feel, and a lovely vocal performance.

The set opens with Ben Harper's acappella “The Power of the Gospel”, and Parker immediately draws you in with a subtle combination of voice, guitar and superb accompanying band. On “The Love I Have” the angst ridden lyrics give way to several superb guitar breaks, and the process is repeated on one of his very best efforts, the emotive and very bluesy “It Hurts A Man”. This song comes close to the younger Peter Green and is full of languid guitar lines, and some soulful vocal phrasing, over a cool organ accompaniment. The song coolly builds up the dynamics before a superb tension breaking guitar break.

If this album proves nothing else it is that Ian Parker is anything but a one dimension guitar hero. “Whilst The Wind” is all about songs, and about real emotions, a subject that too many bluesy practitioners clothe in cliché to hide their inability to deal with real feelings.

By the time of his long term stage favourite Crosby's “Almost Cut My Hair”, which is cleverly segued into Peter Green's “Green Manalishi”, Ian has the crowd in the palm of his hand simply through the ability to communicate real feelings through his songs in conjunction with absolute confidence in his excellent band.

All in all, “Whilst The Wind” is a salutary reminder to all that you should let the blues take you wherever your feelings lead. Ian does that magnificently, uncompromisingly and totally convincingly


Review by Pete Feenstra

The Love I Have
© 2005 Ruf Records. All rights reserved.

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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