Mel began singing his singing career in the 7th Grade talent show at Robert E. Lee Junior High with his rendition of “This Old House”. He promptly forgot the words and the “MC” kicked him in the butt and the words returned, as if by magic. This creative moment was the beginning of Mel’s songwriting endeavors, as he has been known to make up words for a cover song, if the original lyrics were not available!
As a Junior at E.C. Glass High School, Mel sang “Over the Mountain” with Richard Hawkins and his band The Chasers; composed of Harvey Hamilton, Jimmy Roberson, Tommy Evans, Wayne Blondino, and Ray Barbour . The Chasers Rock & Roll Band, with Mel and Richard as lead singers, was formed and played the Virginia College Circuit and honky tonks in the early 60‘s. Mel later sang with The Dukes and The Hometowners.
Mel’s first songwriting venture produced “Valdosta Woman” in 1979. This was Mel’s first national release on MRC records and it received considerable airplay in the South and provided Mel with the opportunity to appear and perform with country legends Ernest Tubb, John Anderson, and Don Reno. Mel’s lifetime music buddy, Dale Thompson, has performed on all of Mel’s CDs and he provides the music for most of the guitars. Mel also received support from session greats like Gary Green on harmonica, Linwood Campbell, Jeff Duffield, Joel Key and Stan Smith on piano. Buddy Charlton provided steel guitar licks on “Then, Now…Forever”. On Mel’s rendition of “Over the Mountain”, the late sax player, K.E. Fitzgerald is ever-present with his fantastic and memorable sounds.
Mel was honored to be in several articles in 2007. Humana Active Outlook Magazine, a proud sponsor of the Grand Ole Opry, featured Mel in the article,” Turn Your Radio On, the Grand Ole Opry is Playing”, opening with the lyrics of one of Mel’s latest tunes that is included on Ballads, Boogie and Blues, “The Ole Music Circle”. In this song, Mel announces to the world that he wants to sing on the Opry! This dream persists! Ballads, Boogie & Blues is a classic in the making. Listen and enjoy.
2014-The Best Times – This is my 5th Cd and it was recorded about a mile from my Timberlake home at Robbie Hiner’s Hambone Studio , who also arranged the background vocals in addition to singing and playing the keyboard on Song #4. “Anti-Freeze Annie”. The sound engineering was masterfully done by Jacob Clayton. I also had several other folks of Central Virginia residence or origin that help to make this venture possible…Vanessa Norman, Pam Nance and Melinda Brown, joined Robbie on the background vocals. Harvey Hamilton, A.K.A, “the Ole Guitar Picker” formerly of the local groups; the Chaser’s, Lancer’s, Dazzlers before his Nashville experience and his Valtim Entrepreneurship and then ably joining Dale Thompson on “Anti-Freeze Annie”. Dale has been the predominate musician on all of my CDs starting in the late 80’s, Dale is originally from Lynchburg and is well known for his former band Southern Comfort and latter playing with Cimarron before moving to Tennessee, where he has played at Dollywood and Gatlinburg gigs and Sound Choice Studios for many years and he also produced the graphic art work on the CD jacket. Joel Key is another virtuoso musician who has been a major contributor on my last two CD’s Joel also has Virginia ties but he too, lives in Tennessee and a special thanks to “Norman Neumann”. I have had the good fortune of recording in first class studios such as Prairie Sun in California, Bill Walker’s in Nashville , Tennessee and in Virginia at Major’s Studio in Waynesboro and Rob Meadows Productions in Harrisonburg, my hometown experience at Hambone Studio, I believe will speak for itself, but that is up to you public to decide and I hope you will also voice your opinion by word of mouth, email, Facebook, twitter of some other form of communication what you think of my CD, the songs, the music. The Best Times by Mel Parker will be available at Melparker.com, CDbaby.com, Itunes.com, http://www.amazon.com/melparker and many other internet locations.
A Quick review of the songs The Best Times, I have include five of my favorite classic songs to cover they are #1.Crazy written by Willie Nelson, 2. I Never will Marry a traditional folk song, 6. I Know That Someday written by Jimmie Hodges, 9. Your Cheatin Heart written by Hank Williams and 11. Blue written by Bill Mack
I will list my original songs and their numerical order: # 2. Longtime Coming is a up-tempo tune about a quick trip to San Francisco where my heart also resides with two of my girls, my daughter Ellyn and granddaughter Alia.
4. Anti-Freeze Annie is a relatively true song who’s idea was first given to me by Harvey Hamilton a few years back after he had invited me to a meet and greet occasion at E.C. Glass High School for the 50th anniversary celebration of the undefeated, unofficial state champion High School football team. During the process of saying hi and taking pictures and speaking to a former high school girl friend, Harvey approaches and yell’s out his version of a how I once had a date with another high school girl of that time…my embarrassment followed and this song resulted as a memento of the occasion.
5. Timberlake Child is a spirited tempo tune of absolutely true events that occurred at my home on Timberlake. This is song is especially for my girls Ellyn, Wisty and our Timberlake Friends.
7. Memories Turn To Gold could also be called move the wind and touch the soul as it is a not so subtle two step melody that keeps time to timely suggestion I have chosen to give with love to my children and theirs.
8. All Hell Brakes Loose is as close to shagging I will probably ever come as conditions of recent years are remembered.
10. Honk Tonk Woman is a local name dropping memory invoking waltz that will take you back to the dance floors of the Park Way Inn and Cattle Annie’s of Lynchburg History.….
12. Wreck On Memory Lane recollects in folk/blue grass fashion a journey off the beaten path of time “ somewhere south of misery” and features the picking of the Big Island Lumber Jack Robert Overstreet on banjo, dobro and mandolin as your toe keeps time a tapping.
13. The Best Times the Title track is a light joy filled song about a beautiful relationship with your special love one.
14. Merry, Merry Christmas…a simple song for every moment… everyday…thanks
15. You’re my Everything and everyday song about a special person in your life.
16. Of the People, uses the people of our land of all genders and color, coupled with the words of Jefferson, Lincoln and of you and me to join together in song to encourage civility and cooperative resolution of concerns for US. Harry Dillard a former football and track star for at Linkhorne Jr. High for Coach Parker, who also later became a coach reads the pre amble to the Constitution along with LC Spanish teacher Carlos Gorstiagia and Campbell County Citizen at large Kaywood Davis. Dawson “Sweet Cake” Smith” one of the founders and original band member of “ The Jiver’s” complements the song with his resounding trumpet contributions.