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Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Junior Parker born 27 May 1932

Junior Parker, also known as Little Junior Parker or "Mr Blues" (May 27, 1932 –November 18, 1971) was a successful and influential Memphis blues singer and musician. He is best remembered for his unique voice which has been described as "honeyed," and "velvet-smooth". He was posthumously inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2001.
Junior Parker was born in West Memphis, Arkansas as Herman Parker, Jr. He sang in gospel groups as a child, and played on the various blues circuits beginning in his teenage years. His biggest influence as a harmonica player was Sonny Boy Williamson, with whom he worked before moving on to work for Howlin' Wolf in 1949. Around 1950 he was a member of Memphis's ad hoc group, the Beale Streeters, with Bobby 'Blue' Bland and B.B. King.

Little Jr. Parker, standing (far left), Bobby 'Blue' Bland, kneeling (far left),  Pat Hare, standing (far right). South Carolina, 1952.

In 1951 he formed his own band, the Blue Flames, with guitarist Auburn 'Pat' Hare. Parker was discovered in 1952 by Ike Turner, who signed him to Modern Records. He put out one single on this record label, "You're My Angel." This brought him to the attention of Sam Phillips, and he and his band signed onto Sun Records in 1953. There they produced three successful songs: "Feelin' Good" (which reached # 5 on the Billboard R&B charts), "Love My Baby," and "Mystery Train" ,with Floyd Murphy (Matt "Guitar" Murphy's brother) on guitar, later covered by Elvis Presley.For Presley's version of "Mystery Train", Scotty Moore borrowed the guitar riff from Parker's "Love My Baby".

Later in 1953, Parker toured with Bobby Bland and Johnny Ace, and also joined Duke Records. Parker and Bland headed the highly successful Blues Consolidated Revue, which became a staple part of the southern blues circuit. He continued to have a string of hits on the R&B chart, including the smooth "Next Time You See Me"; re-makes of Roosevelt Sykes' songs, "Sweet Home Chicago" and "Driving Wheel"; Guitar Slim's "The Things That I Used to Do"; Don Robey's "Mother-in-Law Blues"; and his own "Stand by Me."


Little Junior Parker, Elvis Presley, Bobby Blue Bland at the WDIA Goodwill Revue December 7, 1957.

His success was limited after he left the Duke label in 1966. He recorded for various labels, including Mercury, Blue Rock, Minit, and Capitol.

Parker died on November 18, 1971, aged 39, in Blue Island, IL during surgery for a brain tumor. (info Wikipedia)
Before he passed he sailed into the 1970's in promising fashion cutting a pair of terrific albums; You Don't Have To Be Black To Love The Blues circa 1970/1971 for Groove Merchant and I Tell Stories Sad And True for United Artists which was released in 1972. 

1 comment:

boppinbob said...

For Chronological 1952-1955 – Junior Parker go here:
01 You're My Angel
02 Bad Women Bad Whiskey
03 Love Me Baby
04 Feelin' Good
05 Fussin' And Fightin' Blues
06 Love Me Baby
07 Mystery Train
08 Feel So Bad
09 Sittin' At The Bar
10 Sittin' At The Window
11 Sittin' Drinkin' And Thinkin'
12 Please Baby Blues
13 Dirty Friend Blues
14 Can't Understand
15 Sittin' Drinkin' And Thinkin'
16 Can You Tell Me Baby
17 Backtracking
18 I Wanna Ramble
19 Driving Me Mad
20 There Better Be No Feet
21 I'm Tender
22 Pretty Baby