& We The People Band
Born 26 May 1948, Walton Gardens, Jamaica, West Indies. A renowned singer and bass player, after completing his studies in music, Parks toured the north coast of Jamaica, performing on stage with his uncle. In the late 60s, Parks performed with the Invincibles band, whose personnel at that time also included Ansell Collins (organ), Sly Dunbar (drums) and Bertram ‘Ranchie’ Mclean (guitar).
He then teamed up with Wentworth Vernon as half of the vocal duo the Termites, who recorded one album for Coxsone Dodd’s Studio One and enjoyed a number of hits produced by Dodd, including ‘Do It Right Now’, ‘Have Mercy Mr Percy’, ‘My Last Love’ and the legendary ‘Rub Up Push Up’. After three years, the duo split and Parks was drafted into the Techniques to replace Pat Kelly, joining Dave Barker and producer Winston Riley. Although he was only in the line-up for a brief period, he was reputed to have sung on the classic ‘You Don’t Care’, which he later recorded as a soloist in a medley of his hits. His solo recording ‘Stars’ was a minor hit but it was his version of ‘Slaving’ that won him international acclaim. The song was used by I. Roy for his classic ‘Black Man Time’ and by Big Youth for ‘Honesty’. He recorded ‘Say You Love Me’ for Riley in 1969, and played bass on Dave And Ansell Collins’ international hits ‘Double Barrel’ (1970) and ‘Monkey Spanner’ (1970). By 1970 he was recording for producers Sonia Pottinger (‘We Will Make Love’) and Harry J. (‘A Little Better’).
In addition to his singing, Parks is also regarded as one of Jamaica’s top bass players and his work in the line-up of Skin Flesh And Bones, alongside Sly Dunbar, Errol Nelson and Bertram ‘Ranchie’ Mclean, is legendary. The group’s cover version of Neil Diamond’s ‘Solitary Man’ was a hit in the reggae chart. He also joined the Thoroughbreds house band, playing Kingston’s Tit-for-Tat club. Parks continued making records in an expressive falsetto/tenor voice for a variety of producers including Glen Brown (‘Slaving’) and Prince Tony Robinson, and when Parks launched his own label in 1973 it was initially distributed from Robinson’s shop. Among his Jamaican hits were the huge smashes ‘Officially’ (1974), ‘Mafia’ (1974), ‘Girl In The Morning’ and ‘Baby Hang Up The Phone’ (1975). Parks continued session work on bass with Skin Flesh and Bones, and by 1976 was playing bass in both the Revolutionaries and Professionals studio bands. When Skin Flesh And Bones evolved into Joe Gibbs’ house band, the Professionals, the group performed on classic mid-70s hits backing Culture, Dennis Brown, Prince Far I, Trinity and the UK number 1 hit for Althea And Donna, ‘Up Town Top Ranking’. The sessions also resulted in a series of dub albums that still enjoy healthy sales. In 1978, he formed We The People Band, recording and touring, principally with Dennis Brown. He continued to combine session work and toured with the same band into the early 90s. He also toured with fellow Studio One veterans Freddie McGregor and Marcia Griffiths. On 25 October 1999 Parks was awarded the Order Of Distinction (Office Class) for his contribution to Jamaican music.