Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Funky Invitation

Junior Parker - River's Invitation

Percy Mayfield's "River's Invitation" is one of many of his blues classics that has been recorded by a wide range of artists in several styles. Mayfield himself recorded the song originally on Specialty in the '50s but then hit the R&B charts with a jauntier version of the song on Tangerine in 1962. Several blues and soul acts would revisit the tune throughout the '60s and the early '70s, including Aretha Franklin, Freddie Robinson and Junior Parker. All three of their versions of the song added a degree of funk to the tune's instantly-recognizable instrumental riff, from the Southern soul edge of Aretha's version to the fatback funk of Freddie Robinson's version.

By the time Junior Parker recorded his version of the tune on Capitol, the blues man had begun a period of experimentation that resulted in a lot of great soul and funk-oriented recordings for several labels. His take on "River's Invitation" is a jazzy, funky ramble which somewhat de-emphasizes the darkness of Mayfield's lyrics and focuses more on the good time generated by the groove.

1 comment:

Craig Belcher said...

This is one of Junior Parker's finest moments. The album this comes from is almost perfect. Great selection.