Henry Parker and His Magical World – Fire Burns My Soul

Henry Parker and His Magical World Fire Burns My Soul

It’s clear from the artwork what you’re in for with Henry Parker, retro sounding pop-rock, and sure enough All You Really Gotta Do has a syncopated beat, The Beatles-esque backing vocals and a generally summery The Kinks-vibe. Whilst it’s a decent upbeat pop song it swims so close to comparison with undoubtedly legendary artists that it can’t help but feel like a second cousin rather than a close relative, so clearly in thrall to a bygone sound Parker, at least on this opener, forgets to add his own stamp to the mix.

Whilst Run Away With You edges closer to the American music scene of the same era, it has a certain Creedance Clearwater Revival-vibe, though its chorus which seems to aim for uplifting falls at little limp, ascending towards titular sing-a-longs with Parker’s nasal voice singing ‘It’s not a question if it don’t need an answer.’ It draws to a close with guitar solos and a fade out before the balladry of Long May You Hide pipes up, slow guitar chords that sound like the theme tune to David Lynch‘s Twin Peaks, though overall it feels more like John Lennon‘s Watching The Wheels. It has some nice builds with Parker’s vocal joined by a sombre choir of voices, slipping from that into laidback guitar noodling.

Jangly moody Americana, closer to Bon Jovi than his usual sixties influences, on Summerlong that drifts into twirly whirly psychadelia a la Fairport Convention for a sudden jubilant chant of ‘Sha la la la!’ When it slumps back into the MOR verses it’s a shame, the more blatant hippie wig-outs a far better fit for Parker’s vocal.

Title track Fire Burns My Soul is a straight-ahead Steppenwolf apeing rocker, meaty riffs, strident drums and Parker sneering, but it shuffles in the same gear towards a disappointing fade out never managing to step out of the shadows of its forebears. It’s followed by the lightweight pop-ballad On The River offering up mawkish couplets such as; ‘I know for certain now I’ve found you/That my lonely days and nights are through.’

After lightweight pop tune What Did You Think I’d Say? comes the folk-tinged Skin, a traditional sounding tune with a slow, deep bass drum and intermittent tambourine slaps whilst Parker’s guitar twangs energetically in the foreground, his vocal a tad flat on this track that might work well as an audience huddles for warmth at a low-key festival, it’s definitely got that fireside feeling and the instrumentation edges towards a lively stomp, but, frustratingly it never dives over the edge it happily tip-toes along.

Try and Catch a Wind gives Parker a chance to holler a little, his voice more suited to these barked moments that his usual sombre delivery, the track is a sleepy-eyed refrain, organs drifting along the choruses whilst Kevin Hickman’s supper club shuffle drums yearn to step out of second gear. Closing track Long Time Coming Round is a lackadaisical rocker with ample space for Parker – an undoubtedly talented guitarist – to exhibit some Dire Straits-style guitar soloing inbetween the rather dry verses.

Unfortunately for the large part this record sounds like a collection of sound-alikes rather than particularly original songs, there’s nothing particularly wrong about being indebted and influenced by popular music of the sixties, but it’s a shame that Parker doesn’t bring his own flavours to the mix, instead sounding like a covers band who couldn’t get the rights to record the originals.


God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.