01. I Wanna Ramble
02. Please Baby Blues
03. Dirty Friend Blues
04. Can't Understand
05. Sittin' Drinkin' And Thinkin'*
06. Driving Me Mad
07. I'm Tender
08. Pretty Baby
01. Sweet Home Chicago
02. 5 Long Years**
03. Can You Tell Me Baby
05. There Better Be No Feet (In Them Shoes)***
06. Mother-In-Law Blues
07. That's Alright
08. Pretty Baby (version 2)
* Track 5 was identified wrongly by Ace. It is NOT "Sittin' Drinkin' And Thinkin'" (A Side of "Please Baby Blues"). This track is "Sitting And Thinking", which was the B Side of "Wondering."
** Track 10 (Side 2 track 2) - the title on the original single release is "Five Long Years".
** Track 13 (Side 2 track 5) was wrongly titled on this LP. The title on the original single release was "There Better Not Be No Feet (In Them Shoes)".
An early Ace (UK) LP from 1982 of 1950s sides recorded by Little Junior Parker for Duke Records, Houston. As you can see from the notes above there were some errors in the compilation. Unfortunately I've tagged the tracks as they were listed on the LP sleeve, so sticklers for accuracy will have to change the tags after downloading. There are are a few clicks and pops on this album but they shouldn't prevent you from enjoying a terrific record.
Download from here:
Facts on the tracks:
All sides recorded in Houston, Texas
01. I Wanna Ramble - Duke 137, recorded 10th June 1954.
02. Please Baby Blues - Duke 127, recorded 2nd December 1953.
03. Dirty Friend Blues - Duke 120, recorded 2nd December 1953.
04. Can't Understand - Duke 120, recorded 2nd December 1953.
05. Sitting And Thinking - Duke 184, recorded in January 1958.
06. Driving Me Mad - Duke 147, recorded February 22nd - 26th 1955.
07. I'm Tender - Unreleased, recorded February 22nd - 26th 1955.
08. Pretty Baby - 1st version, unreleased, recorded February 22nd - 26th 1955.
09. Sweet Home Chicago - Duke 301, recorded in January, 1958.
10. Five Long Years - Duke 306, recorded in January, 1958.
11. Can You Tell Me Baby - Unreleased, recorded 10th June, 1954.
12. Backtracking - Duke 137, recorded 10th June, 1954.
13. There Better Not Be No Feet (In Them Shoes) - Duke 147, recorded February 22nd - 26th 1955.
14. Mother-In-Law Blues - Duke 157, recorded 7th May, 1956.
15. That's Alright - Duke 168, recorded 11th December, 1956.
16. Pretty Baby (version 2) - Duke 168, recorded 11th December, 1956.
Please Baby Blues
Dirty Friend Blues
- recorded on 2nd December, 1953. Personnel: Little Junior Parker (vocal); unknown saxes; Bill Johnson (piano); Pat Hare (guitar); unknown bass and drums
I Wanna Ramble
Can You Tell Me Baby
- recorded on 10th June, 1954. Personnel: Little Junior Parker (vocal); Jimmy Stewart (trumpet); Joe "Papoose" Fritz (alto sax); Jimmy Johnson (tenor sax); Rayfield Devers (baritone sax); Donnie McGowan (piano); Pat Hare (guitar); Hamp Simmons (bass); Sonny Freeman (drums)
Pretty Baby (1st version)
Driving Me Mad
There Better Not Be No Feet (In Them Shoes)
- recorded between the 22nd and 26th February, 1955. Personnel: Little Junior Parker (vocal, harmonica); Joe Scott (trumpet); Pluma Davis (trombone); Bill Harvey (alto sax); Rayfield Devers (baritone sax); Connie Mack Booker (piano); Roy Gaines (guitar); Hamp Simmons (bass); Sonny Freeman (drums)
- recorded on 7th May, 1956. Personnel: Little Junior Parker (vocal, harmonica); Connie Mack Booker (piano); Pat Hare (guitar); Hamp Simmons (bass); Sonny Freeman (drums)
Pretty Baby (2nd version)
- recorded on 11th December, 1956. Personnel: Little Junior Parker (vocal, harmonica); Connie Mack Booker (piano); Pat Hare (guitar); Otis Jackson (bass); Sonny Freeman or John "Jabo" Starks (drums)
Sitting And Thinking
Five Long Years
Sweet Home Chicago
- recorded in January, 1958. Personnel: Little Junior Parker (vocal, harmonica) accompanied by unknown brass, reeds, piano, guitar, bass and drums.
Original release details:
Can't Understand / Dirty Friend Blues - released on Duke 120, March, 1954. "Little Junior" Parker w Bill Johnson's Blue Flames.
Please Baby Blues / Sittin' , Drinkin', And Thinkin' - released on Duke 127, June 1954. Little Junior Parker with Bill Johnson Blue Flames.
I Wanna Ramble / Backtracking - released on Duke 137, July 1955. Little Junior Parker w The Blue Flames.
Driving Me Mad / There Better Not Be No Feet (In Them Shoes) - released on Duke 147, October 1955. Little Junior Parker and His Orchestra.
Mother-In-Law Blues / That's My Baby - released on Duke 157, September 1956. Junior Parker and Bill Harvey's Band.
That's Alright / Pretty Baby - released on Duke 168, December 1957. Little Junior Parker and His Combo.
Wondering / Sitting And Thinking - released on Duke 184, April 1958. Little Junior Parker and His Band.
Sweet Home Chicago / Sometimes - released on Duke 301, November 1958. Little Junior Parker And His Band.
Five Long Years / I'm Holding On - released on Duke 306, April 1959. Little Junior Parker And His Band.
A native of West Memphis, Arkansas, Herman Parker Jr, aka Little Junior Parker was born in 1927. He had a hard upbringing on a farm. His first musical interest was gospel - at a young age he sang with a quartet and was influenced by the Swan Silvertones and the Staples Singers. In his teens he came under the influence of Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller) for whose band he played harmonica. When Sonny Boy moved out of the West Memphis area, Parker started playing with Howlin' Wolf. At the beginning of the 1950's he was associated with the informal Memphis group of young musicians known as the Beale Streeters whose shifting personnel also included Bobby "Blue" Bland, B.B. King, Earl Forrest, Johnny Ace and Rosco Gordon.
Parker's first recordings were for Modern under the supervision of Ike Turner in early 1952. His first hit record came when he started recording for Sam Phillip's Sun label in 1953."Feelin' Good" was a number 5 R&B hit and the follow up "Love My Baby" / "Mystery Train" was a big influence on Elvis Presley whose version of "Mystery Train" incorporated Pat Hare's guitar riff from "Love My Baby."
In 1954 Junior Parker signed with Don Robey's Houston based Duke Records. The label had started out as a Memphis independent before being taken over by Robey. Despite the move to Houston, Duke continued a strong Memphis connection and Parker's label mates included fellow Beale Streeters Bobby Bland, Johnny Ace, Earl Forrest and Rosco Gordon.
Parker had a string of good sellers on Duke including "Mother-In-Law Blues", "Next Time You See Me", "Sweet Home Chicago" and in 1961 his biggest hit "Driving Wheel." Together with Bobby Bland he toured the chitlin' circuit with a dynamite package show called Blues Consolidated. Although his blues roots went back to Sonny Boy and Howlin' Wolf, his own sound developed into a forward looking, horn laden, gospel drenched modern blues with a strong affinity to soul music. This was the music of the clubs where the black audience gathered and it can be heard to good effect on the classic 1962 LP "Driving Wheel" (Duke LP 76).
Above: CD reissue of the 1962 LP "Driving Wheel". Junior poses in front of his Houston home with a 1960 Cadillac Fleetwood. No "folk blues" type broken-down country shack for our man!
Junior left Duke in 1966 and continued to record for Mercury, Blue Rock, Minit, Capitol, United Artists and Groove Merchant. He died in November 1971 while undergoing an operation for a brain tumor.
Next Time You See Me ... And All The Hits (The Complete Singles 1952 - 1962) - Jasmine 2CD set, 50 tracks. Includes the early Modern and Sun sides, plus those great Duke singles.