Monday, April 5, 2010

Little Junior Parker - "Mary Jo" - Duke Records, 1962

I recently picked up a couple of 45's by Mr. Parker, who until a week ago was unknown to me. Turns out I probably should have heard of this guy ages ago.
Junior Parker, AKA Little Junior Parker or "Mr Blues", was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi in 1932. As a blues singer with a great voice, he got to work with such cats as Sonny Boy Williamson, Bobby 'Blue' Bland and B.B. King.
During his career he put out tunes on Modern, Sun and Duke. The 45's I picked up were 2 early 60's Duke joints. Interesting note: Parker's tune "Mystery Train" on Sun was later covered by Elvis Presley. For Presley's version of "Mystery Train", Scotty Moore borrowed the guitar riff from Parker's "Love My Baby".
Parker passed on in '71, but he didn't get the recognition he desevered till being inducted to the Blues Hall of Fame in 2001.
From Wikipedia: Duke Records was a record label started in Memphis, Tennessee in 1952 by David James Mattis (WDIA program director and DJ) and Bill Fitzgerald, owners of Tri-State Recording Company. Their first release was Roscoe Gordon singing "Hey Fat Girl" ... issued on Duke R-1, later amended to R-101.
After forming a partnership with Mattis in the summer of 1952, Don D. Robey (founder of Houston's Peacock Records) took control of Duke. Both labels then headquartered at his Bronze Peacock club at 2809 Erastus Street in Houston, focusing on R&B and gospel music. Robey started a subsidiary called Back Beat Records in 1957 and this later specialised in soul music.
Robey sold his labels to ABC Dunhill Records on 23 May 1973.
Here's a nice collection of Little Junior Parker's music, but you won't find "Mary Jo" on it as that was a B-side. Unfortunately I believe you need to find a 45 for that. Junior's Blues : The Duke Recordings, Vol. 1
"Mary Jo" is about a hot little mama who "went to melt the snow." Dangerously sexy women - how many wonderful songs they have inspired!

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