Aug 55 (BMI clearance 4th Sept 55)
45-529-A - They Don't Have To Operate (They Just Pull The Zipper)
(Parker) (Starrite BMI)
45-529-B - False Love Affair
(Parker) (Starrite BMI)
NEW STAR RECORDS 529
Box 869, Covington, GA
NEW STAR RECORDS 529
Box 869, Covington, GA
Nothing on Otis Parker. The A side is a fast paced comedy-hillbilly with piano & guitar accomp. B side is a typical country “broken-hearted” song. I found a mention of a record on Holiday 109 by an Otis Parker ("Bugle Call From Heaven" / "Many Times") - rev by Billboard on 29th Sept 1951, but I can't say if it's the same artist.(MC)
23 May 2010 - Update.
Corresponded with Cheryl Parker, the daughter of Otis. Here's her story ....
Before I answer your questions, let me provide you with a little history. My father and mother divorced when I was 12 years old after 25 happy/unhappy years together. There were 8 children, I am next to the youngest (I am 51). My father was the typical country music person......."sacrifice everything for the love of it". He knew everyone who was anybody in the late 40s and early 50s. He worked behind the scenes at the Grand Ole Opry back before the people who sang there made the big bucks they make today. Many of them visited our home after the shows were over to eat and drink. Jim Reeves was a frequent visitor and friend (through their mutual work in radio)........he held my sister on his lap and sang "Roly Poly" to her. Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs were good friends of my father (my other sister remembers having the biggest crush on Scruggs, she said she would sit at his feet and stare at him......she was only about 4 at the time).......as was Tex Ritter. He was at my fathers home in Reno not long before he (Tex) died. My parents went through alot together and loved each other.........they just couldn't live together. My father remarried, my mother never did.
I didn't see my father from the time I was 12 until I turned 25 when I heard he was back in Tennessee and that he was ill. Two of my brothers and I made the trip to see him. we visited with him for a few days and then the next time I saw him was at his funeral. My father was a talented man.........just not good at being a father. Sounds like a country song doesn't it? I don't hold it against him though.......none of us are perfect.
My mother had several of his recordings but in 1972 someone broke into our home and trashed it, shattering all of his records "for fun".........I guess. I have no idea if any of them survive anywhere else. One that he did stands out in my mind because it was so beautiful........it was called "This Is My Life".......I haven't heard it since I was a child, but I still remember the tune and some of the words. It turned out to be the story of his life as it went....it was about being gone and forgotten What a shame that I don't know if a copy exists somewhere.
I do have a couple of 45s that he gave me when I visited him..........he recorded them under the name of Jimmy Parker........the name he went by later in life. His full name was James Otis Parker.
I just wanted to share this info with you so that you would understand why I don't have many photos of him........or know much about his life as a whole.
Just a little trivia...........he spoke fluent Spanish, was self taught on the piano and guitar, taught college courses for a time, and.....he stuttered. Not all the time........just when he got excited or upset....then he stuttered badly.
Even though I didn't get to spend the time I would have liked with my father, I am proud of his talent ............he just had to dream........which isn't entirely bad.
I am glad that something of what he did remains.............I am sure that more of his music is out there somewhere, I just don't know where.........or how to find it. I guess I will have to treasure what I have. I am sure you probably know that the "Zipper" song is on a CD being sold on Amazon. It's on there with other songs by other artists of the era and was released by Jasmine Music out of the UK. I contacted them about it and was informed of the "public domain" law........which I was already aware of. My father didn't protect what he created. It may be the law.........but it doesn't make it right.
Anyway...........on to your questions........................
Where and when was Otis born?
He was born on March 19, 1920 in Brush Creek, TN He was the son of a tobacco farmer. His mother died when he was young but his father outlived him by several years.
Can you remember the bands he played in?
Unfortunately, I do not know of any bands, other than one he lead in the 1970s. My father did mostly solo work.
Was he ever on TV and radio performing in the 50's?
I don't know if he was ever on tv (I know he was later in life in Reno) but he worked for the Grand Ole Opry in the late 40's. And he also co-owned a radio station with Grandpa Jones and worked for several radio stations. It was while working in the radio station field that he made most of his recordings.
Can you remember who was in his band?
No, sorry. Other than the one in later years, I have no info.
Where was the disc recorded and when?
My older sister seems to remember that the "Zipper" song was recorded while they lived in Beaumont, Tx. (before I was born) They lived in several places.....Nashville, Athens, TN, Athens, Ga, Rome Ga,, Atlanta, Ga., Beaumont, Tx. and Mobile, Al (where I was born)
Can you remember how many copies were pressed?
I have no idea how many copies were made of the recording. Nor any of the many others he did. Zipper was not the only song he wrote and recorded.
Who paid for the recording and the record?
I would imagine my father did. He might have had some backing but I believe most of the money would have been his.
What did he do after the record musically? Was he still performing?
My father was what some call "a jack of all trades".... and he was full of "wander lust"...he worked for many years in the music industry and then decided he wanted to see the world so he became a chef and joined the merchant marines and traveled the world for several years before going back into the business in the late 60's/early 70s. His life WAS a country song..........full of drama, pain, sadness. In later years he went by Jimmy.......a nickname for James, his real first name........Otis was his middle name.
When and where did he pass away?
He passed away on November 28, 1984 in Carthage, TN which is about 60 miles east of Nashville. He is buried in a cemetery on a hill with Tennessee hills all around. At his funeral they played one of his songs "Will There Still Be Country Music", it's about dying and wondering if there would be country music in Heaven and would he have a place there. It was a fitting song.
I thank you for your interest in my father...........he would have been impressed that his music was still interesting to someone.
Gee, not often to I get to add more than a few lines on any artist listed here. So it was great to hear from Cheryl. Now I know he recorded other records, I'll try and get a discography going on Otis. Cheryl kindly sent me label shots for two of them which I'll add later on.
Label Shots: Al Turner
Photos: Cheryl Parker
|The Parker Household|