Bobby Parker will headline Cabin Fever Blues Bash
Bobby Parker performed at the 2011 Western Maryland Blues Fest. He thrilled audience members during his set by leaving the stage and mingling with fans. (File photo / February 23, 2012)
Buddy Holly, Sam Cooke, Bo Diddley, The Big Bopper. Parker knew them all.
He was a “guitarist for hire” back in the 1950s, he said, performing with many of the people who gave birth to a new era in music.
He eventually made his own mark in the industry, particularly in 1961 when his rhythm and blues classic “Watch Your Step” became a Billboard hit.
It was a song famous for its creative guitar riffs — the same riffs that John Lennon later admitted The Beatles had borrowed for their song “I Feel Fine.”
But The Beatles weren’t the only musicians influenced by Parker’s talent.
Carlos Santana, Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton are among those who have given credit to the man from Lafayette, La., for inspiring their careers.
Six decades after starting out in the music business, Parker, 74, is still going strong — performing, creating and recording from his home base in Washington, D.C.
Last year, Parker was among the headliners at the Western Maryland Blues Fest.
Parker provided the audience with a glimpse of why he has influenced so many rock icons.
When he strode to the microphone on an outdoor stage in downtown Hagerstown, Parker said he wanted to give the audience a show they wouldn’t forget.
His performance was so popular, he’s been invited to do an encore.
The Bobby Parker Blues Band will perform at Cabin Fever Blues Bash 2012, a prelude to this year’s Western Maryland Blues Fest. The event will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 1, at The Maryland Theatre in downtown Hagerstown.
According to organizers, the bash is a way to raise funds and awareness for this year’s Blues Fest.
In addition to music, the mid-winter blues party will mark the unveiling of this year’s Blues Fest schedule, poster artwork and merchandise.
“It’s a fundraiser,” said Blues Fest founder and chair Carl Disque. “But it’s also a ‘fun’ raiser. Where else can you go downtown, maybe go to a downtown restaurant, then go see a great legend at a historic theater and support an event like the Blues Fest. Cabin Fever is a very energizing event.”
Disque said Cabin Fever was brought to life “in the early years of Blues Fest when we had a very limited budget and needed every dollar we could find. We were really beating a lonely drum at times.”
But by the third year, he said, sponsors began to jump on board and support for the Blues Fest grew.