The “Golden Hits Of The 60s” 

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Robert Parker



Nola 721

No. 7   June 18, 1966




Robert Parker (b. Oct. 14, 1930, Crescent City, LA) is remembered for one disk, one dance, one slim slice of

time. But in addition to his mid-’60s hoofer hit, Parker packed more than 20 years with other musical



In the ’40s and ’50s, Parker and his sax ran the house band at the Tijuana Club in New Orleans, back­ing

performers like Ray Charles, Guitar Slim, CHRIS KENNER, and Little Richard. For several years, Parker

was a member of Professor Longhair’s Blue Scholars, and appeared on their celebrated “Mardi Gras in New

Orleans” single. As a session saxophonist, he appeared on disks by New Orleans artists like Jimmy Clanton,


Parker was also a member of the back-up band for Huey Smith’s Clowns for a number of years.


In the ’60s, Robert was touring with Eddie Bo and Percy Stovall. “We worked a show in Tuskeegee, Alaba-­

ma, where all the kids piled their shoes in the corner to dance,” Parker told Goldmine’s Almost Slim. “We

joked about it in the band and thought it might be a good gimmick for a tune.” Once he had sketched out the

tune, Parker brought the ditty to Wardell Quezergue, an arranger for Nola Records. When the foot-floppin’

45 took flight, Robert left his job as an orderly at Charity Hospital.


At one Apollo Theatre appearance, Parker, prodded by the MC, pulled off his shoes for his performance. “I

went on stage and the crowd went nuts,” Parker recalled.  “I started doing that every night and it worked



Nola Records released an album of attractive New Orleans numbers. Follow-up singles were crafted to zero

in on the barefoot theme–there was “Happy Feet,” then “Tip Toe” (#83, 1967)–but it was all over quickly.

Nola filed for bankruptcy. Parker later record­ed unsuccessfully for the Island and Silver Fox labels.


In the ’80s, the folks at Spic ‘n Span made use of “Barefootin”‘ in one of their TV ad campaigns; Pete

Townsend included a cover version of the tune on a live album in 1986. Robert Parker still works as a

session sax man and still continues to make occasional appear­ances at festivals and oldies shows.