Paul Parrish — “Flowers in the Park”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — April 10, 2023


791) Paul Parrish — “Flowers in the Park”

’68 folk rock stunner with psychedelic touches . . . from Detroit . . . with a little help from the Funk Brothers and a future Motown producer . . . WTF? Man, it works. Parrish recalls that:

I had a nihilistic friend who saw nothing but doom and gloom everywhere. I was thinking of so many of my contemporaries who were filled with doom and gloom. And I was saying “No, it’s not that way. If you look carefully, the flowers in the park are growing.” It was a song of hope. I love that song.

liner notes to the CD reissue of The Forest of My Mind

“Flowers” is from Parrish’s album The Forest of My Mind, which Phil Cho describes as “a wonderful trip through mellow, psychedelic folk . . . . [with p]astoral imagery . . . featured throughout . . , adding to the magical and somewhat haunting quality to Parrish’s voice.” (

Alex Koump tells us about Parrish and the album:

On a map of the psychedelic landscape, down a ways from the windmills of your mind and not too far from Strawberry Fields, somewhere between Itchycoo and MacArthur Park, you might find the forest of Paul Parrish’s mind. The Michigan native could be best remembered for a couple of singer-songwriter albums on the Reprise and ABC labels in the 1970s, or as one-half of Parrish and Toppano in the 1980s…or perhaps as the lead vocalist of The Brady Bunch theme during the sitcom’s first season! But before all that, Parrish signed with MGM’s short-lived Music Factory label for a 1968 one-off: The Forest of My Mind. . . . [T]he troubadour delivered psychedelia ripe for the flower-power generation, with images of nature, seasons, animals and the elements recurring on almost every track . . . , [a] soft throwback to a time when everything was beautiful – and a little mysterious, too . . . . [I]t may be one of the least Detroit-esque albums to come out of the Motor City as it by and large steered clear of R&B. So it might come as a surprise to some to find that veterans of Motown house band The Funk Brothers, including drummer Uriel Jones and bassist Bob Babbitt, played the exquisite arrangements here. Those charts came courtesy of the team of guitarist Dennis Coffey (a Funk Brother himself) and Mike Theodore . . . . The luscious production on Forest was handled by Clay McMurray . . . [who] tapped into a Donovan-esque delicacy, dappled with sunshine.

John Pruett adds:

Paul Parrish’s debut is a bright, excellently produced LP filled with remarkable sunshine-dipped folk-pop songs along the lines of Donovan. Replete with flute, strings, and slight psychedelic effects, the album gets by on the strength of Parrish’s songs, especially tracks like . . . “Flowers in the Park.” Each track is ripe with rainbow-colored imagery and the requisite amount of forest/meadow scenarios. You’d want to dismiss it as merely kitsch if Parrish’s vocals weren’t so sweet and persuasive — in the end, you’re singing along and holding hands with whoever might be near. . . . a detached yet pleasant, love-struck, and extremely wide-eyed version of psychedelic sunshine pop.

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