Kenny Parker Band: In the mid-’90s, Detroit blues guitarist and songwriter Kenny Parker released his debut album for the London-based JSP Records, Raise the Dead.
Parker’s blues education began with the Beatles in the early 1960s, but it wasn’t long before he discovered the roots of their music. Parker grew up in Albion, Michigan and began playing in his first band, the Esquires, at 14. He begin listening to Albert King and B.B. King in high school via the local record store, and he took his inspiration from them. He graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 1976 and took a job in a Cadillac factory while looking around for the right opportunities to play blues at night. He began working with a paragon of the Detroit scene, Mr. Bo (Louis Bo Collins), and later joined the Butler Twins.
While Parker toured Europe with the Butler Twins, JSP founder John Stedman heard him and decided to sign him up for his own recording. the Butler Twins accompany Parker on his debut recording, and he’s also backed by harp master Darrell Nulisch, best known for his work with Anson Funderburgh and the Rockets. the Butler Twins and Nulisch contribute vocals on Parker’s Raise the Dead, and since Parker doesn’t consider himself a singer, his guitar playing takes center stage.
Jimmy McCarty: James William McCarty (born June 1, 1945) is an American blues rock guitarist from Detroit, Michigan. He has performed with Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels, the Buddy Miles Express, Cactus, the popular Detroit rock band The Rockets, the Detroit Blues Band, and more recently, Mystery Train. He also recorded with Jimi Hendrix and Bob Seger. He plays in a heavy blues-rock style that has inspired fledgling guitar players for more than 40 years.
In 2006, he participated in a Cactus reunion, performing in New York City, Sweden, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. It coincided with the release of a new Cactus album, Cactus V. In 2007, Cactus played a Detroit date, a McCarty homecoming, to a sold-out, standing room only house.
In an August 2006 interview on VH1 Classic, Ted Nugent remarked “I’m the only guy in rock’n’roll that plays that hollow body jazz guitar and it’s because in 1960 I saw Jimmy McCarty creating those big fat full chords like I do on “Stranglehold”; I learned that from Jimmy McCarty. Remember the name Jimmy McCarty. He is as important as Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry and Les Paul…a god on guitar.” Guitar-maker Paul Reed Smith is among McCarty’s admirers.
In 2005, Les Paul recorded Les Paul and Friends: American Made, World Played, with an all-star band. He covered 69 Freedom Special, an instrumental tune co-written by McCarty and recorded while in the Buddy Miles Express. In February 2006, Les Paul won a Grammy for his cover of the song, thus propelling McCarty into another award-winning arena as songwriter.
In 2009, a new band, the Hell Drivers were created. The members are Jim McCarty, Johnny “Bee” Badanjek, Marvin Conrad(bass), and Jim Edwards(vocals). A high-energy band, they play a variety of Dertoit rock’n’roll from Iggy, The Rockets, Mitch Ryder, Bob Seger and more to great critical acclaim.