Wednesday, 12 February 2014

M.J. Parker - Can I Find A Way (1972)

Mike (M.J.) Parker is another of those artists on which I have hit a brick wall trying to find any kind of information. Parker first came to my attention on the excellent Lord Of The Boot Sale blog, which featured his excellent single "Elodie" (also featured on my own Bite It Deep Mix Vol.19). I managed to pick up a copy of my own pretty cheap, a German pressing on the Columbia records label, complete with a picture sleeve with a very close up shot of Parker's mug! I was originally going to write a bit about the Elodie single but after a bit of googling, discovered another 45 for Columbia called "Can I Find A Way" which made it's way into my hands shortly after and to my delight turned out to be a prime cut of melodic McCartney-esque pop, kind of like a piano version of "Mother Nature's Son" (have a listen and you'll see what I mean!).

Both sides of the two singles are written, arranged and produced by the man himself and three of the four songs are fab, the exception being "Everybody Knows What Friends Are For" where he ditches his slinky smooth vocals and instead seems to be doing a bad Paul Rogers impersonation! Why?!?

Without any decent information on M.J. Parker I'm left assuming he was an Ed Welch character, someone who worked for the label and was given the chance to use some studio downtime and put out a couple of single of his own. The 45Cat website credits him on a further five singles for other artists...

Endaf Emlyn - Starshine* / Where Were You* - Parlophone (1972) as *composer/producer/arranger

Desmier - Handbags And Gladrags / Everyone Can Fall In Love* - Pye (1972) *as composer/arranger

Alison Jay - Mrs. President U.S.A. / Home To Oklahoma* - Pye (1972) *as composer/producer/arranger

Jackie Trent And Tony Hatch - Muddy Water / Something That You Do* - Columbia (1972) *as composer/arranger

Strange Fox - Rock And Roll Band / Tamarind Girl* - Parlophone (1973) *as producer

So, what happened to MJ Parker? He certainly had a knack for writing/arranging/producing and it seems odd that he only stuck around the music business for those two years, 1972 and 1973. Maybe someone out there is related to or knows him and can shed some light on the enigmatic songsmith.

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