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Little Junior Parker Driving Wheel (CD)

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(Soul Jam Records) 28 Tracks - Remastered Edition - Original Duke recordings 1960-1962 plus his... more

Little Junior Parker: Driving Wheel (CD)

(Soul Jam Records) 28 Tracks - Remastered Edition - Original Duke recordings 1960-1962 plus his original Sun Records version of 'Mystery Train'! With 16-page booklet!

Article properties: Little Junior Parker: Driving Wheel (CD)

Parker, Little Junior - Driving Wheel (CD) CD 1
01 Driving Wheel
02 I Need Love So Bad
03 Foxy Devil
04 Someone Broke This Heart Of Mine
05 How Long Can This Go On?
06 Yonder`s Wall
07 Annie Get Your Yo-Yo
08 Tin Pan Alley
09 Someone Somewhere
10 Seven Days
11 The Tables Have Turned
12 Sweet Talking Woman
13 Mystery Train
14 Mary Jo
15 That`s Just Alright
16 I`ll Forget About You
17 Stand By Me
18 Peaches
19 Next Time You See Me
20 Blue Letter
21 Pretty Baby
22 I`m Holding On
23 Sometimes
24 That`s My Baby
25 What Did I Do
26 Wondering
27 Barefoot Rock
28 Sweet Home Chicago
Little Junior Parker As consistently modern a bluesman as he insisted on being—he'd... more
"Little Junior Parker"

Little Junior Parker

As consistently modern a bluesman as he insisted on being—he'd placed his Sonny Boy-influenced harmonica interjections on the back burner to emphasize his smoothly burnished vocals on R&B-styled material—Bobby 'Blue' Bland's Duke labelmate Little Junior Parker wasn't shy about adapting the vintage material of his pre-war blues ancestors to his own considerable strengths.

He'd scored a sizeable R&B hit at the end of 1958 by updating Robert Johnson's Sweet Home Chicago, his arrangement echoing a '55 treatment by rotund pianist Roosevelt Sykes. He returned to Sykes' repertoire in early 1961, bringing the Arkansas-born ivories ace's Driving Wheel back for a new listen. Roosevelt had waxed his original in Chicago for Regal in February of '50, but he didn't have the four-piece horn section that Parker brought to his Houston-cut revival, let alone the gospel-style breakdown Junior breaks into at the two-thirds mark.

"Junior could play just about anything that's to be played," says Duke house musician Texas Johnny Brown, probably the lead guitarist on the date (Wayne Bennett is the other possibility; bassist Vernon Heart and drummer Randolph Odom round out the rhythm section). Brown also toured with Junior as his bandleader.

"Junior was a good person to work with," Johnny says. "He was kind of happy-go-lucky, but he was business. He had more business sense than Bobby, much more. He was more aware of what he was doing. Bobby was the kind of person that just enjoyed what he was doing, and took the stardom part of it." 

Driving Wheel was a #5 R&B smash that spring and made a #85 pop bow. Junior made similar inroads later that year with another delicious blues, In The Dark, though he veered into dance fare the next year with his irresistible hit Annie Get Your Yo-Yo 

Duke's two principal breadwinners Parker and Bland toured for "between eight and 10 years" together, according to Bland. "Junior was a good experience for me," says Bobby. "I was his valet and driver. Then I was opening the show. I did all three of the things." They went back even further than that, recording a duet for Modern in 1952. "We were kinda close," says Bobby. "He was from West Memphis, and I was in Memphis. So we used to go on Eighth Street, and play on weekends sometimes. It was our good chance to sit in, or whatever. And so it went on from there. Junior was on the Duke label when I got there."

As the decade progressed, Parker dropped the 'Little' from his billing. He stayed with Duke into 1966, then recorded for Mercury and its Blue Rock logo (sometimes in a modern soul style), Minit, and Capitol before dying much too soon on November 18, 1971 in Blue Island, Illinois (a southern Chicago suburb) while undergoing surgery for a brain tumor. Herman Parker, Jr. was only 39 years old.

Bill Dahl
Chicago, Illinois 

PLUG IT IN! TURN IT UP!
Electric Blues 1939–2005 – The Definitive Collection!
Volume 3: 1960–1969

Little Junior Parker on Wikipedia

 

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Tracklist
Parker, Little Junior - Driving Wheel (CD) CD 1
01 Driving Wheel
02 I Need Love So Bad
03 Foxy Devil
04 Someone Broke This Heart Of Mine
05 How Long Can This Go On?
06 Yonder`s Wall
07 Annie Get Your Yo-Yo
08 Tin Pan Alley
09 Someone Somewhere
10 Seven Days
11 The Tables Have Turned
12 Sweet Talking Woman
13 Mystery Train
14 Mary Jo
15 That`s Just Alright
16 I`ll Forget About You
17 Stand By Me
18 Peaches
19 Next Time You See Me
20 Blue Letter
21 Pretty Baby
22 I`m Holding On
23 Sometimes
24 That`s My Baby
25 What Did I Do
26 Wondering
27 Barefoot Rock
28 Sweet Home Chicago