John(ny) Barker, in 2006 celebrated 43 years in the music business. His professional career began in 1964 with the hottest band in the Carolinas, The Catalinas from Charlotte, still managed and owned by his brother Gary Barker. John joined Raleigh's Embers in 1980 and along with bassist and music director Gerald Davis, co-produced all of The Embers albums of the 1980s, including "Colours", "This One's For You", "Christmas Memories" and others. Then he joined former Catalina band mate Earl Dawkins in 1991, where he co-owned and served as music director of The Enterainers from Charlotte for the next 14 years. The Entertainers are still one of the most popular bands ever to come out of the Southeast. On May 1, 2005, John rejoined the Embers. While there he produced 8 of the songs on the new Christmas album that were used in the Ember's Christmas Show in 2005. On April 29, 2006, the time had finally come for life on the road with the Embers to end. A decision he made for personal (family) and professional reasons.
Any fan of the Carolina's favorite, "Beach Music", knows John's song that he penned and produced in 1975, the trend setting "Summertime's Callin Me" on Sugarbush records, recorded by The Catalinas. According to BMI, it is still played thousands of times per year on radio staions throughout the country and was listed in Rolling Stone magazine as the number 6 most popular beach music song at the time. It is a song that was unlike any other at the time and is credited for being responsible for a new style of "Carolina Beach Music" that followed.
Complete production credits are far too many to mention, but a few include J.D. Cash's 2001 Cammy award winning album of the year "Summerplace",(#1 single for 19 weeks) "The Bad Boys of Beach Music" volumes 1 and 2,and Gary Brown's 2002 Cammy award winning album of the year "Brownie". In 2003 John's had another solo album winner with Paul Craver's "Let the Music Play" at the Carolina Beach Music Awards. John also produced Paul Craver's CD, "Wherever Love is Found", which was winner of the 2004 "Solo Album of the Year" at the Carolina Beach Music Awards. His production of Gary Brown's "Is the Majic Still There" was the Carolina Beach Music Award's song of the year. Still to come is the response from Gary's new release, "Halfway to Paradise". Oh and one more, JB's arrangement and production was chosen as the winner of the SC State Lottery jingle contest performed by Sea Cruz.
John has played piano/keyboards on countless sessions over the years with the likes of Aaron Neville, Shirley Ceasar, Maurice Williams, The Catalinas, The Embers, Jackie Gore, Bill Deal & The Rhondels, Donnie & Susan Trexler, Paul Craver, Craig Woolard and The Entertainers. In addition John has performed on national commercials for companies such as Budweiser, etc., all with his own signature sound that is easily recognized by the industry and fans alike. Now with more time to spend with family and music, the future is waiting to be discovered. Plans are for his own new record label featuring himself and some of his favorite artists. Truly, THE BEST IS YET TO COME!