Forgive me if I've talked about Junior Parker and his Beatles covers before, but I just picked up a copy of his 1970 classic, "The Outside Man," reissued and retitled as "Love Ain't Nothing But A Business Goin' On" one year later, and every time I play it, I feel like I need to talk about it.
The entire album feels like a psychedelic dream. A trip around the grooviest and funkiest parts of the soul. But it's those Beatles covers that really knock me out.
The groove and arrangement on "Taxman" is truly badass and I still can't decide if Parker's delivery makes me want to laugh or cry. Produced by Sonny Lester who has worked with people from greaser Jack Scott to Nelson Riddle, and arranged by Horace Ott who has worked woth The Shirelles, Nina Simone and Houston Person for starters, this take on George Harrison's "Taxman" is the work of evil genius.
There are two more Beatles covers on "The Outside Man," a fairly straight reading of "Lady Madonna" and "Tomorrow Never Knows," which is another soulful and trippy gem.
This record is not just about the Beatles covers. The whole thing is one of the best of its kind, but what kind is it really? It's not a blues record, like the early "Little" Junior Parker records. And it's not straight funk. It's too trippy to be R&B. It's pretty damn unique.
Parker's follow-up was a collaboration with soul-jazz organist Jimmy McGriff. "The Dudes Doin' Business" is more of the same, including getting a reissue one year later as "Good Things Don't Happen Every Day, " and including two more Beatles covers, "Oh Darling" and my favorite of all, another genius reinvention in Harrison's "The Inner Light."
And that's your Wednesday.