Silky-voiced Ken Parker is one of the great unknown reggae singers. The Best of Groovin' in Style 1967-1973 is a 25-song compilation that seeks to redress this criminal situation. Parker's intimate, sweet style is perfectly married to percolating lovers rock, resulting in quite a few classic tracks, chief among them being the track the disc is named for: the slinky "Groovin' in Style (aka Groovin' Out on Life)." Parker recorded for some of the best producers in Jamaica at the time, including Bunny Lee, Duke Reid, Joe Gibbs, and Lloyd Charmers, and all the tracks on the disc are prime examples of the raw and ready reggae of the day. Parker's original songs, like the jumping "True, True, True" and the sentimental "Somebody to Love," are memorable and melodic, but where he really shines is on his interpretations of popular songs. His take on Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come" almost tops the soul master at his own game; Parker's voice bleeds with loss and hope. He also does wondrous things with Fats Waller's "Ain't Misbehavin'," Kris Kristofferson's "Help Me Make It Through the Night," and the Everly Brothers' chestnut "Take a Message to Mary." When his voice takes off in a falsetto croon on the chorus, you'll be wondering why no one rates Parker as one of the greats. He ranks right up there with Gregory Isaacs, Dennis Brown, and Bunny Wailer. One listen to this excellent collection will be all the proof you need.
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AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra