Okie Duke – Chicken Lickin’ b/w Ain’t No Color to Soul

Example

Listen – Chicken Lickin’ – MP3

Listen - Ain’t No Color To Soul – MP3 

Greetings all.
Here’s hoping that the first few days of the New Year have been relatively free of disaster for you and yours.
Things around here have been – with the marked exception of having to return to work yesterday – leaning toward hunky dory. There are lots of cool tunes in the Funky16Corners on deck circle, and a couple of installments of Funky16Corners Radio in the can, so I don’t have to do any frantic scrambling I the foreseeable future.
Today’s selection(s) is yet another example of a gem from the Funky16Corners crates that carries with it little in the way of background info.
I first encountered the unique name and music of Mr. Okie Duke a couple of years ago when a friendly cat from the EU (who’s identity has been lost in the sands of time) sent me a CD of Hammond grooves, many of which were new to me. Among these tracks was a tune by a certain Okie Duke, entitled ‘Chicken Lickin’’. I had never heard of Duke, but I dug his song, so it was – like so many others – filed away in the dusty recesses of my memory to be referenced while digging (on the internet, or in the real world).
So, a couple of months ago, while strolling the boulevards of E-Bay, doing a variety of searches for Hammond organ funk and soul, I rattled my brain, and the name Okie Duke fell out and I tracked down one of his 45s.
When I got it home and gave it a spin on the ole GP3 I discovered that although the tunes on the 45 were not without their charm, neither side contained the kind of madness that I heard in ‘Chicken Lickin’’.
So – as I often do – I kept looking.
A few weeks later, engaging in the same kind of searches I happened upon a copy of ‘Chicken Lickin’, and, as it was available at a very agreeable price, I bought it.
So – the requisite waiting period passes by and my Okie Duke 45 dropped through the mailslot, and I’m happy to say that ‘Chicken Lickin’’ was every bit as good as I remembered it, and it’s flip, ‘Ain’t No Color To Soul’ was also a cooker.
So (again…) I start rooting around on the interweb, looking for some background information on Okie, and ended up in a wide variety of dead ends. It turns out that – as it is with many funky 45 artists – there is little or no information out there. The few facts that I was able to gather as follows…
Okie Duke – singer and organist – recorded an LP (‘The Songs and Singing of Okie Duke’) and a 45 (the one you’re listening to today) for the Ovation label sometime in the late 60’s or early 70’s. In 1972 he recorded another 45 for his own ODP label, ‘Variety’ b/w ‘The Lehigh Valley’. The title of that b-side, and a few other clues lead me to believe that Okie was (and still may be) operating out of the Bethelehem, Pennsylvania area. Other than that (and one reference to his being a wild performer) there’s not much else I can tell you (except that maybe when you Google his name, you discover that very few people know how to spell “okie doke”).
Aside from the fact that the Ovation 45 is very funky, pretty funny (at least the Chicken side) and has a certain popularity with funk and soul DJs (at least in Europe). ‘Chicken Lickin’’ sounds like an outtake from a party at the insane asylum, with Okie providing a wide range of sound affects and working the Hammond with gusto. It’s definitely the kind of disc that’ll liven up your next ripple and potato chip party.
The flip, ‘Ain’t No Color To Soul’ is just as funky – if a little less manic.
I’m not sure if either of these tunes has been comped, but I suspect if you look hard enough you’d probably be able to grab your own copy off this one at a reasonable price. And of anyone has any more info on Okie Duke, please let us know.
Peace
Larry

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13 Responses to “Okie Duke – Chicken Lickin’ b/w Ain’t No Color to Soul”

  1. dave3283 Says:

    What a couple of fantastic sides. His Hammond sounds amazing and that Leslie sounds like it may fall apart at any moment. Disgusting in the best possible way.

  2. Chris Jay Says:

    The low end on this song is bananas!

  3. Bruce in Durham Says:

    Holy Hammond Bat Man… that B-3 is OUTRAGEOUS ! Have a Funky16 Corners New Year LarryG !

  4. peter tron Says:

    I’ve just discovered your site, and i’m really enjoying it.
    I just want 2 say thanks 4 putting the time into this.

    cheers!

    Baz (peter tron)

  5. Frank Kish Says:

    Here’s some bio info I grabbed from promo material of Okie Duke
    aka Farley Parkenfarker. How about that one?
    I have a discography of him somewhere. I’ll try and locate it if you’re interested.

    Whatever happened to Okie Duke?
    And What’s a Farley Parkenfarker?

    Biographical Tidbits

    Okie Duke, a graduate of Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pa is credited with the
    Quote; “Love is the bread of life, but music is the butter”.

    Okie Duke is from the Lehigh Valley (Eastern PA and Northwest New Jersey) and he covered a span 18 years on the road traveling from coast to coast … and several foreign countries. He was represented by several theatrical agents including Lou Reda (Lehigh Valley), Nino Bari(Philadelphia), Max Borde(Chicago) and Lou Alexander (Los Angeles).

    He has written literally thousands of songs and his original music is as diverse as his act. He still gives 110% and plays all kinds of music for all kinds of people.

    He is listed on the BMI music site by artist name as well as published compositions (Streeterville Music, Chicago, Ill). He’s written for such diverse venues as Ovation Records, the late Captain Kangaroo, Casablanca Records & Filmworks, The Wes Farrell Group and The Entertainment Company in Los Angeles.

    He’s appeared in many musical stages including Las Vegas, Reno, Lake Tahoe, Chicago, New York City, Lake George, NY, Miami/Fort Lauderdale, The Pocono resort area, & Wisconsin resort area.

    Okie Duke strangely disappeared sometime in the seventies and resurfaced under the name of Farley Parkenfarker. This crazy dude recorded an album called “Farley Parkenfarker Plays Elvis” performed in a jazz format on a unique modified Hammond B-3 (if you can imagine that). The album was recorded on Janus Records, Santa Barbara, California.

    In the early seventies The Rim Rocks in Palm Springs, CA, a columnist wrote a review saying, “…it’s one heck of an act, but the guy needs a more sophisticated name.

    Okie with his wacky sense of humor immediately announced in the Palm Springs press that he would be re-christened on stage in a coming Friday night performance.

    Okie Duke was re-named “Farley Parkenfarker…..” as a joke. Much to everyone’s surprise, the name stuck when the national press had a field day with it and he quickly moved into the Las Vegas-West Coast circuit as Farley Parkenfarker after having previously performed in Vegas under the name of Okie Duke.
    This guy literally had a duel career going simultaneously. Isn’t that a hoot.

    With a multi-faceted act that involved humor, original music and an elaborate light show with a great deal of custom lighting and visuals, he was the talk of the strip.
    Those who had the good fortune to experience his performances found in Farley Parkenfarker’s zany musical act crazy slant on life expressed through his soulful
    B-3 and his bluesy sounding singing voice. The guy sang with a heck of a set of pipes.

    Farley Meets Roland!
    Farley was musically introduced to Tom Beckman, President of Roland USA by John Damon, a former representative for Korg. It resulted in an endorsement of Roland products and a long and mutually satisfactory association between the two. Farley immediately became an integral part of the “idea bank” for Roland’s many new products for musicians.
    Farley performed for Roland Corporation at NAMM shows in Anaheim, CA and introduced such ground-breaking Roland creations such as the Chorus Effect in San Diego, CA. Many innovative products resulted from Farley’s discussions and exchanges with Ikataroo Kakehashi, President of Roland Japan, when he visited Las Vegas to see Farley Parkenfarker perform. Farley’s unique way of presentation and musical needs spurned ideas that bore fruit in Roland products which have become staples in recording and performing environments.
    Farley Meets Redd Foxx!
    While performing in Los Angeles at the Continental Hyaat House (next to the Comedy Store) Farley was seen by the late Redd Foxx. Foxx liked him from the moment he saw him. When Farley performed his original tune entitled “People Always Take Me Wrong”, Redd immediately signed him to his
    management company with Barry Kaz chose Farley to perform on his prime time ABC T.V. Variety Hour.

    Why Did He Stop Performing on the West Coast?
    Shortly after the Redd Foxx Variety Hour was taped, Farley received a phone call informing him of his father’s illness…Parkinson’s Disease. He packed up everything, left his Los Angeles digs, and headed back to the Lehigh Valley to care for his father. Thus…at the crest of his career he headed home. There are still many who find it hard to believe that Farley aka Okie walked away at that point in his career. He says, “It was a decision that I had to make. My father supported me when everyone else thought I was off my rocker.”

    And..Where Is He Now?
    Farley presently performs with a drummer and a sax player primarily on the East Coast. He operates a recording studio and is a very prolific songwriter who can write practically any musical style. His lyrics are topical, poignant and descriptive …and his hooks are strong. His melodies are singable and catchy.

    Farley Parkenfarker aka Okie Duke performs on a custom developed Hammond B-3 that was modified by the late Bill Beer of Keyboard Products, Los Angeles, CA. Bill also customized organs for Santana, The Beach Boys and many others. Okie’s modification, however, is one of a kind with hybrid features of several instruments combined in one, as well as, the ability to key up to 15 synthesizers and keyboards via a custom reed system that was developed by Bill Beer before Midi was universally used and even accepted. Okie was using that multiple keyboard set up long before MIDI was even on the market.
    His modified B-3 was studied very closely by the technicians at Roland Corp and resulted in many unique instruments and musical influences that he never got credit for.

    His son Jake performs on the East Coast in a group called “Naked Jake”.
    Guess crazy names run in the family. His youngest daughter, Annie Duke, is an outstanding vocalist who occasionally performs with her dad and her brother. She is a college student in North Jersey.

  6. funky16corners Says:

    Wow! Thanks Frank!

  7. Georgette Murray Says:

    Duke’s the best! I have seen him perform many times and I still can remember the words to many of his songs. Being a great musician is one thing, but Duke is a GREAT human being!! I’m proud to know him.

  8. Shorty Vesters Says:

    Heard this guy in Vegas at the Fabulous Flamingo some years ago performing with Fats Domino, Wayne Cochran and the C.C. Riders, and The Phil Flowers Show.

    It was interesting, though he fronted a kickin’ rhythm section, he played
    B-3 using both feet on the foot pedals surrounded by 7 or 8 other keyboards playing those keyboards, with a guitar strapped around his neck and surrounded by a bunch of horns, vibes etc. ‘Saw him play two horns while playing funky patterns on the foot pedals and moving back and forth between the guitar and keyboards.
    Very, very funky.

    The kicker was that 95% of what he played was all original tunes he wrote. The guy wrote over 4,000 songs from pretty ballads to downright funky soul stuff. He was afiliated with Casablanca Records and Filmworks and the Wes Farrell Organization.

    On top of all that, he controlled a kicker of a light show on a diorama behind him that employed 28 projectors. He was way ahead of his time.

    Truly one of the few artists who could do a one man schtick and make it come off very smooth and listenable. He played everything from rock to jazz to ballads to you name it. Actually, I heard that he recorded a sharp Hammond B-3 oriented album…get this…based on the tunes of Elvis?
    He did it under his other stage name.

    The album is called “Farley Parkenfarker Plays Elvis” and was released on Janus Records out of Santa Barbara, I think.
    The guy had two different careers happening at the same time!

    I had to laugh, he referred to himself on stage as “..the world’s most prolific writer of non-hits.” But, I’ll tell you this was truly a passed over writing talent. The guy was great.
    Hope he’s still performing somewhere.

  9. Mack McCoy Says:

    Having run across the Ovation album tonight, one
    clue as to it’s “funkiness” is in the musicians involved,
    including the one Phil Upchurch on guitar.

  10. Annie Says:

    Hello – I happen to be the lucky daughter of Okie Duke. It thrills me to find these sites and comments about him and I am happy to tell you all that even after all these years he’s still got it. He is certainly a musical mastermind and I am proud to call him my Dad. Glad you can all appreciate his brilliance through these funk tunes!

  11. Dynamic Eric Says:

    Hello, does anybody know the exact year of release of this 45?
    Best wishes, Eric.

  12. Mike Davin Says:

    Farley,
    Is this the Farley Parkenfarker that played Harrahs in the mid seventies and stayed at the Black Jack Motel which I owned. I took you skiing at Heavenly. It was snowing and I am sure that you thought you would never return. I did a google search and was amazed that I might have located you. You are doing great and I wish you the best.

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