Junior Parker / May 27, 1932 - Nov 18, 1971

A smoothed-voice blues singer with a ton of soul, Little Junior Parker was also a deft harmonica-player, tutored by Sonny Boy Williamson. From that fertile blues bastion of Clarksdale, Mississippi, Parker sang gospel as a kid and went on to play with Howlin' Wolf in the late '40s.

He was part of Memphis' infamous "Beale Streeters" (with BB King & Bobby "Blue" Bland) before starting his own band, The Blue Flames, in '51 with legendary guitarist Pat Hare. Ike Turner took him to the Modern label (with Ike on piano) but it was with Sun that he broke out. His tune "Mystery Train" was covered by Elvis Presley and "Feelin' Good" is a boogie-style classic.

Parker is considered an influence on both R&B and rockabilly. He recorded for several labels throughout his career (including a notable session as a sideman on a 1966 LP by modern jazz pianist Jaki Byard) but his '50s sides are his biggest legacy.

Tagged: blues, Celebrate Icons, Junior Parker, rock, soul!

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