Peter Parcek – Mississippi Suitcase
There are many blues guitarists but playing blues is not difficult once you learn the basics. What’s hard is being a visionary who explorers the deeper realms of the blues genre. Few approach those depths. Because it’s at that moment you need to expose your soul through the solo inherent in the strings on the blues guitar. The Devil sells lessons on this.
Those strings begin in the soul, run down the length of the arm & out your wrists onto the arm of the guitar.
It’s that hoodoo that creates originals like B.B. King, John Lee Hooker & Robert Johnson. But there are blues sculptured styles: Roy Buchanan, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Johnny Winter, Eric Clapton, Albert Lee, Elmore James, just to name a few.
“The World Is Upside Down,” from Boston’s award-winning Peter Parcek’s new 11-track Mississippi Suitcase (his 3rd LP/drops Sept 4/Lightnin Records) is redundant. It’s a basic blues. Is it bad? No. Just, — well, it’s been heard before, so why open with something so standard when your talent is beyond that? The playing’s good, (to be expected), the singing fair. It’s the song itself — it lumbers on & on & on.
Start with lightning in a bottle. Peter Parcek is better than this. Now…
Sleepy John Estes’ “Everybody Oughta Make a Change” is filet mignon.
Wow! This song should’ve opened since Parcek’s vocal percolates & it’s intriguing. The guitar snakes around like a Delta serpent in areas of the swamp where only Marie Laveau would go. This has seething guitar, humidity, mood & stings like mosquitoes. Over 5 minutes it has a “don’t let it end groove.” This is what you want for a listener.
Covering a Dylan-Robert Hunter song (“Beyond Here Lies Nothing”) approach with caution. But Peter utilizes a voice that improves on the original. The guitar soars & sizzles creepy as a Blasters song. Reminds me of the late John Campbell who mined superbly the darker blues (“Little Coffins”).
With drums similar to Anita O’Day’s jungle-drum intro at the 1959 Newport Jazz Festival (YouTube), Peter Green’s “The Supernatural,” is interesting. “Life’s a One-Way Ticket” is played well but the vocal’s uninspired. Luther Dickinson (guitar), Mickey Raphael (harmonica), & Dominic John Davis (acoustic & electric bass) sparkle.
Peter’s vocals are redeemed on “Mississippi Suitcase” it smokes & on tracks like this Peter’s voice is wholly his own – like J.J. Cale.
“Eleanor Rigby,” shouldn’t work as a blues, but Peter does indeed perform this effectively & creatively as he does on the Velvet Underground/Lou Reed’s “Waiting For the Man.” It’s stellar & has Muscle Shoals legend, Spooner Oldham (keyboards). Then the original Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Until My Loves Comes Down” has gasoline & Parcek’s had the match.
The band: Tim Carman (drums), Marco Giovino (drums), Tom West (keyboards), Marc Hickok (electric bass), Dennis Crouch (acoustic bass/track 10), & Ted Drozdowski (electric guitar/track 8).
The excellent 54-minute CD produced by Ducky Carlisle & Peter with 2-tracks by Marco Giovino. Available at Discogs & https://www.peterparcekband.com/