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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 either Clarksdale, Mississippi or 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.

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" (1957); re-makes of Roosevelt Sykes' songs, "Sweet Home Chicago" (1958) and "Driving Wheel" (1961); Guitar Slim's "The Things That I Used to Do" (1963); Don Robey's "Mother-in-Law Blues" (1956); and his own "Stand by Me." (1961)

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.


Tributes

On his 1974 album ...Explores Your Mind, Al Green dedicated his original version of the song "Take Me To The River" to Parker, who he describes as "a cousin of mine who's gone on, and we'd kinda like to carry on in his name."

Discography

Singles
"Sittin' at the Window" - Little Junior's Blue Flames - (Sun UNISS 1951)
"Sittin' at the Bar" - Little Junior's Blue Flames - (Sun UNISS 1951)
"You're My Angel" / "Bad Women, Bad Whiskey" (with Ike Turner) - Little Junior Parker & His Blue Flames - (Modern 864 1952)
"Feelin' Bad" - Little Junior's Blue Flames - (Sun UNISS 1952)
"Feelin' Good" / "Fussin' and Fightin' Blues" - Little Junior's Blue Flames - (Sun 187 1953) (R&B # 5)
"Mystery Train" / "Love My Baby" - Little Junior's Blue Flames - (Sun 192 1953)
"Can't Understand" / "Dirty Friend Blues" - Little Junior Parker & Bill Johnson's Blue Flames - (Duke 120 1954)
"Please Baby Blues" / "Sittin' Drinkin' and Thinkin'" - Little Junior Parker & Bill Johnson's Blue Flames - (Duke 127 1954)
"Bachelor's Blues" - Little Junior Parker & His Orchestra - (Duke UNISS 1955)
"Can You Teach Me Baby" - Little Junior Parker & His Orchestra - (Duke UNISS 1955)
"Backtrackin'" / "I Wanna Ramble" - Little Junior Parker & His Orchestra - (Duke 137 1955)
"Driving Me Mad" / "There Better Not Be No Feet (In Them Shoes)" - Little Junior Parker & His Orchestra - (Duke 147 1955)
"Mother-In-Law Blues" / "That's My Baby" - Little Junior Parker and Bill Harvey's Band - (Duke 157 1956)
"Next Time You See Me" / "Dolly Bee" - Little Junior Parker and Bill Harvey's Band - (Duke 164 1957) (pop # 74, R&B # 7)
"Pretty Baby" / "That's Alright" - Little Junior Parker & His Combo - (Duke 168 1957)
"Peaches" / "Pretty Little Doll" - Little Junior Parker & The Al Smith Orchestra - (Duke 177 1957)
"Sittin' And Thinkin'" / "Wondering" - Little Junior Parker & His Band - (Duke 184 1957)
"Barefoot Rock" / "What Did I Do" - Little Junior Parker & His Band - (Duke 193 1957)
"Sweet Home Chicago" / "Sometimes" - Little Junior Parker - (Duke 301 1958) (R&B # 13)
"Five Long Years" / "I'm Holding On" - Little Junior Parker - (Duke 306 1959) (R&B # 13)
"Stranded" / "Blue Letter" - Little Junior Parker - (Duke 309 1959)
"Dangerous Woman" / "Belinda Marie" - Little Junior Parker - (Duke 315 1959)
"Stand By Me" - Little Junior Parker - (Duke 330 1961) (R&B # 11)
"Driving Wheel" - Junior Parker - (Duke 335 1961) (pop # 85, R&B # 5)
"In The Dark" (R&B # 7) / "How Long Can This Go On" - Little Junior Parker (Duke 341 1961) (R&B # 28)
"Annie Get Your Yo-Yo"/"Mary Jo" - Little Junior Parker - (Duke 345 1962) (R&B # 6)
"Someone Somewhere" - Little Junior Parker - (Duke 357 1962)
"Strange Things Happening" - Little Jr. Parker - (Duke 371 1962) (pop # 99)
"The Things I Used to Do" - Junior Parker - (Duke 376 1963)
"Jivin' Woman" - Junior Parker - (Duke 384 1964)
"Crying For My Baby" - Junior Parker - (Duke 389 1965) (R&B # 36)
"Man Or Mouse" - Junior Parker - (Duke 413 1966) (R&B # 27)
"You Can Make it If You Try" - Junior Parker - (Mercury 72651 1967)
"I Can't Put My Finger On It" - Junior Parker - (Mercury 72699 1967) (R&B # 48)
"Ain't Gon' Be No Cutting Loose" - Junior Parker - (Blue Rock 4080 1969) (R&B # 48)
"Worried Life Blues" - Little Jr. Parker - (Minit 32080 1969) (R&B # 34)
"Drownin' On Dry Land" Junior Parker - (Capitol 2997 1971) (pop # 114, R&B # 48)

Albums
Drivin' Wheel Duke vinyl LP 76 (1961)
Track listing: "Driving Wheel"; "I Need Love So Bad"; "Foxy Devil"; "Someone Broke This Heart of Mine"; "How Long Can This Go On"; "Yonders Wall"; "Annie Get Your Yo-Yo"; "Tin Pan Alley"; "Someone Somewhere"; "Seven Days"; "The Tables have Turned"; "Sweet Talking Woman"
Mystery Train
by Little Junior's Blue Flames

Train I ride, sixteen coaches long
Train I ride, sixteen coaches long
Well that long black train got my baby and gone

Train train, comin' 'round, 'round the bend
Train train, comin' 'round the bend
Well it took my baby, but it never will again (no, not again)

Train train, comin' down, down the line
Train train, comin' down the line
Well it's bringin' my baby, 'cause she's mine all, all mine
(She's mine, all, all mine)

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
Written by: HERMAN PARKER JR., SAM PHILLIPS

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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