R.I.P. "S.O.S." singer Winfield Parker at 78

(January 18, 2021) We are sad to inform SoulTrackers that legendary singer and musician Winfield Parker has died of COVID-related illness. The Baltimore-based Winfield was a staple on the soul and gospel circuit for six decades. He was 78.

Parker hit the R&B charts big time in 1971 with his version of “S.O.S. (Stop Her On Sight).” But by then he had already paid his dues for more than a decade, recording on the B’more Ru-Jac label, and scoring a number of regional hits, many of which were lovingly reissued by Omnivore Records a half decade ago. “Mr. Clean,” “My Love For You,” and “Shake That Thing,” were among his songs that became collectors’ items over the years.

(January 18, 2021) We are sad to inform SoulTrackers that legendary singer and musician Winfield Parker has died of COVID-related illness. The Baltimore-based Winfield was a staple on the soul and gospel circuit for six decades. He was 78.

Parker hit the R&B charts big time in 1971 with his version of “S.O.S. (Stop Her On Sight).” But by then he had already paid his dues for more than a decade, recording on the B’more Ru-Jac label, and scoring a number of regional hits, many of which were lovingly reissued by Omnivore Records a half decade ago. “Mr. Clean,” “My Love For You,” and “Shake That Thing,” were among his songs that became collectors’ items over the years.

Parker began performing as a teen as a backing musician, playing saxophone or guitar for such greats as Little Richard and Ike and Tina Turner. Parker also worked closely with Otis Redding, who, after hearing Parker’s voice, agreed to produce him. The song intended for Parker, “Sweet Soul Music,” ended up becoming an across the board smash for Arthur Conley --- reportedly due to Parker getting lost on the way to the studio.

After Parker’s hitmaking days were over, he ran into a tough period, and served a prison term after being convicted of a drug-related crime. But in the he came out a new man and became a Baptist minister and by the mid-80s began recording Gospel music. He continued to record into the 2000s, and he sounded just wonderful. Even a bout with throat cancer in 2013 didn’t sideline him. He continued spreading joy through his preaching and singing through the first two decades of this century.

Winfield Parker was an immense talent who found his way in music and in life, and he will be missed. Rest in peace.

 

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