Listen Up - Junior Parker & Elvis Presley

An alternative title could be, and might even should be the influence of Pat Hare. Ultimately that is what I would like to explore here, but it begins with the story of Junior Parker.

Junior Parker entered Sam Phillips' Studio in the fall of 1953 to record two songs for the Sun Record Company in hopes of finding a followup hit to his chart topper "Feelin' Good". He recorded "Mystery Train" and "Love My Baby" with the help of guitarist Pat Hare. Hare's guitar playing, and Junior's Vocal delivery would both directly influence Elvis Presley & Scotty Moore. Let's take a listen to Junior's tracks from that session:

First, "Mystery Train"


Listen to "Love My Baby", and in particular Pat Hare's guitar work!

Now, let's take a listen to Elvis' 1955 Recording or "Mystery Train", which clearly combines elements of both of these Parker tracks!

Pat Hare had an impressive career working for very influential blues and R&B Frontmen including Howlin' Wolf, James Cotton, and Muddy Waters.

He is credited with being the first guitarist to record with distortion and the cited for early uses of power chords, which can he heard in James Cotton's 1954 recording of "Cotton Crop Blues"

Hare also joined Muddy Waters' band, and was part of the Newport Folk Fest appearance in 1960, which was recorded and deeply influenced Keith Richards, Jimmy Page, and others in the UK who were on the verge of exploding onto the music scene. Fun side bar, the cover of The Newport record shows Muddy holding John Lee Hooker's guitar, not the Fender Telecaster he used during the show.

Pat Hare's story ends in a tragic manor that he foreshadows in one of his only solo records.

In December of 1963, while still playing in Muddy's band, Hare shot and killed his girlfriend along with a police officer who was rumored to be involved with the woman. He spent 16 of the 99 years of his sentence in prison before dying of lung cancer behind bars. 

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