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Robert Parker

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Saxman and singer Robert Parker is one of the originals in postwar New Orleans R&B and rock & roll, his career starting out right alongside the likes of Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew. Born in New Orleans in 1930, he took up the saxophone as a teenager and in 1949 was playing behind Professor Longhair, including his hit "Mardi Gras in New Orleans" that year. Over the next decade, he played with Domino, Ernie K-Doe, Irma Thomas, Earl King, Eddie Bo, Frankie Ford, and Huey "Piano" Smith, among many others. He signed as a solo act with Ace in 1958 and cut his debut single, "June Teen" b/w "Lawdy Miss Clawdy," that same year. In 1959, on the Ron label, he had his first hit, an instrumental entitled "All Night Long, Pts. 1 & 2," which charted regionally. He cut sides for Imperial and Booker Records in the early '60s, and in 1965 signed with Nola Records. It was there that he enjoyed his biggest hit, in 1966, with the release of his first Nola single, "Barefootin'" b/w "Let's Go Baby," which soared to number two on the R&B chart and number seven on the pop chart. The company, after some considerable delay, issued ten more singles and an LP from Parker, but he was never able to repeat the success of that first single; oddly enough, although his success was highly intermittent in the United States, Parker did much better with British audiences, and toured England regularly during the second half of the 1960s. By 1969, Parker moved on to Silver Fox Records in 1969, and was later shifted over to SSS International, the principal label of Silver Fox's co-owner, Shelby Singleton. His own recording career had ended by the close of the 1970s, but Parker remained busy as a performer for years afterward, and he capped his recording history in 1984 with a new version of "Barefootin'." ~ Bruce Eder

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14 October 1930 in New Orleans, LA

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