Junior Parker

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1950-71) 

- Herman "Junior" Parker (aka Little Junior Parker) (RIP 1971)  --

  vocals, harmonica




- Little Junior Parker





Genre: soul

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Love Ain't Nothin' But a Business Goin' On

Company: Groove Merchant

Catalog:  GM 513

Country/State: Coahoma County, Mississippi

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: --

Price: $50.00

Goodness knows what the business entanglements were.  Released by Sonny Lester's small New York based Groove Merchant label, 1971's "Love Ain't Nothin' But a Business Goin' On" was a repackaging of Capitol's previously released "The Outside Man."  Lester produced the original Capitol album, so I guess it made sense for him to acquire rights to the collection.  Asides from different, hipper cover art and a slightly different running order, the two albums featured identical material.  


After signing him, Capitol management apparently had no idea what to do with Parker.  They teamed him with producer Lester, resulting in an album that was diverse, if not ill-focused.  The good news was Parker remained a consummate singer.  His silky smooth delivery was unparalleled, but on this set the results were diluted across a broad array of musical styles.  Versatility was certainly not a bad thing, but the throw-everything-against-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks marketing approach reeked of corporate desperation.  Big band ballads, funk, soul, pop, and even psychedelia were all to be found here.  In these circumstances Parker's performance were frequently impressive.  Check out the three Beatles covers to see how flexible the man was.  His soul reinterpretation of 'Lady Madonna' was impressive.  His remake of ''Tomorrow Never Knows' may deserve to be in the top-10 of Beatles covers.  That said, Parker was at his best on more conventional soul material such as the funky title track, the big band powered ballad 'I Wonder Where Our Love Has Gone' and 'Rivers Invitation.'  Far from Parker's best album, but this one served as a nice introduction to the man's considerable talents.


"Love Ain't Nothin' But a Business Goin' On" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Love Ain't Nothin' But a Business Goin' On   (Bobby Adams) - 3:20  rating: **** stars

One of Parker's all-time performances.  You might not have expected it, but Parker's smooth, easy-going delivery could be super funky.  And when he was teamed with the right song and a tight band ...  wow!  I always wondered why Capitol didn't tap this one as a single. 



Capitol had previously released the song as a single, but that didn't stop Groove Merchant from reissuing it:


- 1971's 'Love Ain't Nothin' But a Business Goin' On' b/w 'A Losing Battle' (Groove Merchant catalog number GM 1010)






2.) The Outside Man   (Van Leer - Moore - Junior Parker) - 3:12  rating: **** stars

Kicked along by am awesome bass line, 'The Outside Man' was classic "backdoor" man tale.  Slinky and radio ready, the moral wasn't particularly subtle.  Funny, but the more I listen to the song, the more the vocal remind me of early Robert Cray.

3.) Darling Depend On Me   (Don Robey - Ferdinand Washington) - 3:43  rating: *** stars

A big, bluesy-ballad, 'Darling Depend On Me' opened up with some Philadelphia International styled horns.  I'm not sure the word luxurious applies to a voice, but Parker's performance comes close.  Yeah, it would have been even better without the heavy strings.

4.) Taxman   (George Harrison) - 3:42  rating: **** stars

Parker's re-imaging of The Beatles' 'Taxman' was impressive.  Harrison's melody remained intact, but Parker slowed it down to a glacial pace, speaking about half of the lyrics over a stunning bass line.  Wish I knew who the bassist was.

5.) River's Invitation   (Percy Mayfield) - 2:45  rating: **** stars

If anyone doubted Parker's vocal chops, I suggest checking out the slinky remake of Percy Mayfield's 'River's Invitation.'  Ditching Mayfield's big band-soul arrangement, it was easy to see why Al Green name checked Parker on 'Take Me To the River.'  Speaking of Green, the horn charts on this one sounded like they were lifted from a Hi recording session.  Another track that reminds me of  Robert Cray.


(side 2)

1.)  I Wonder Where Our Love Has Gone   (Buddy Johnson) - 3:38   rating: *** stars

Wrapped in a smooth mixture of big band, blues and jazz, Parker's cover showcases his amazing voice.  Perhaps a tad to supper club for some folks, but that voice is stunning.

2.) Just To Hold My Hand   (Don Robey) - 3:51    rating: *** stars

I think Paul Perryman enjoyed the original hit version of Just To Hold My Hand.'  Kicked along by a rollicking, high melodic bass line, Parker's version slowed the tempo down a touch and was better for it.  

3.) You Know I Love You   (R. King - J. Taub)  - 3:33   rating: ** stars

Great voice; sappy, forgettable supper club ballad.

4.)  Lady Madonna   (John Lennon - Paul McCartney) - 2:12  rating: *** stars

Probably one of the last songs I would ever expect to get a soul-styled reworking.  I'm not quite sure how Parker pulled it off, but he somehow made it work.  Won't replace the original, but definitely a contender.  This one was also released as a single by Capitol.

5.) Tomorrow Never Knows    (John Lennon - Paul McCartney)- 3:25  rating: **** stars

Yeah, you'd think three Beatles covers would be pushing the limit.  Funny thing is Parker's cover of 'Tomorrow Never Knows' stands as the best of the three.  Parker's performance was simply haunting; different than Lennon's original, but equally impressive.  Never in a million years would I have expected something as impressive.  Perhaps deserved of being in the top10 of Beatles' cover.