"Junker Blues" is a song written by blues pianist "Drive 'Em Down" (=Willie Hall) from New Orleans. He played it in the streets in the Twenties.
"Junker Blues" was finally put on disc in 1941 by Hall's protege, Champion Jack Dupree.
The Originals © by Arnold Rypens - JUNKER'S BLUES
Champion Jack Dupree (Junker Blues)
Recorded in Chicago, Jan. 28, 1941;
Champion Jack Dupree, voc, p; Wilson Swain or Ransom Knowling, b
Released on Okeh 06152
Part of the lyrics:
They call me a junker, cause I'm loaded all the time
I don't use no reefer, I be knocked out with that angie wine
Think smart, think smart, say no, say no
and warn you I ain't got time
they got boys in penitentiary doing from 9 to 99
More Junkers here:
In 1951, Bob Shad, a musical producer and owner of the “A&R at Mercury Records”, a company that worked with jazz and blues, renamed and rewrote "Junker Blues" as "Junco Partner", and credited it to himself and Robert Ellen.
Shad knew the song because of his work in the New Orleans music scene. Since then, most artists who have recorded the song have credited it to him and Ellen.
The first record of "Junco Partner" was made by James Waynes. Waynes' version became popular in the United States, though actual artists affirm that it was already a classic in New Orleans.
Part of the lyrics:
Down the road came a Junco Partner
Boy, he was loaded as can be
He was knocked out, knocked out loaded
Boy he wobbled all over the street
“Six months ain't no sentence
and one year ain't no time
I was born in Angola
I was serving 99"
More Junco Partners here: http://www.secondhandsongs.com/work/31946
and here: The Originals © by Arnold Rypens - JUNCO PARTNER (WORTHLESS MAN)
"Junco Partner" was the junkies' anthem in New Orleans and in the Louisiana State Penitentiary (Angola): "Six months ain't no sentence, one year ain't no time, they got boys there in Angola doing nine to ninety-nine".
"6 Months Ain't a Sentence" is also the title of an anonymous field recording Lawrence Gellert made in 1924 in Greenville, South-Carolina, ending up on lp Nobody Knows My Name: Blues From South Carolina And Georgia (Released in 1984 on the Heritage-label (Heritage HT 304).
Click on the next link to read the back-cover and click again to zoom in:
Fats Domino 1950 (The Fat Man), Lloyd Price 1952 (Lawdy Miss Clawdy) and Professor Longhair 1953 ("Tipitina") have been casually borrowing lines from "Junker Blues" ever since Dupree's original 78 RPM record was released.
In 1952, many artists covered "Junco Partner", such as the Richard Hayes & Eddie Sauter band, and Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five for Decca (these two groups credited the song to Shad and Ellen).
Roland Stone (born as Roland LeBlanc), a jazz and blues musician, recorded two versions, the first in 1959 as "Preacher's Daughter", and the second in 1962 as "Down the Road".
In 1961 Chuck Berry recorded a live-version of "The Man and the Monkey" , which is a clever re-write of "Junco Partner".
Berry's version was released on the album "Chuck Berry On Stage" (Chess LP-1480)
In 1969 Canned Heat recorded a version which was a rewrite of Fats Domino's version.
Canned Heat - Hallelujah at Discogs
(c) Dr. John 1972 ("Junko Partner")
Liner-Notes on Dr John's "Gumbo"-album
This is what he said about "Junko Partner":
Lee Allen wails on this one, how many tenor choruses does he have, four? I love it! The song was first made popular by James Wayne's hit on the "Sittin' In" (Bob Shad's) label. But it was a New Orleans classic; the anthem of the dopers, the whores, the pimps, the cons. It was a song they sang in Angola, the state prison fams and the rhythm was even known as the "jailbird beat". Dudes used to come back with all different verses. The hard-core dopers couldn't wait to hit the streets after their release so they could score again:
"Six months ain't no sentence
One year ain't no time
They got boys there in Angola
Doing nine to ninety-nine"
Meaning they had no intention of reforming even before beginning their sentence. It'a a song all New Orleans bands had to play; kind of a Calypso-oriented rhythm with a Cajun dialect. I heard it first on Poppa Stoppa's radio show... Louis Jordan covered it later on, and he did an even heavier Calypso thing with it. The great thing on this record is our drummer Freddie Staehle's laidback second-line drumming. This is classic New Orleans second line style where the drummer plays relaxed licks all around the beat, but with perfect time. You could call it "melody drums."
The 101'ers, of which Joe Strummer was a member, covered the song in 1976.
Strummer later recorded it again with The Clash on their triple album Sandinista!, released in 1980.
On Sandinista!, they recorded two versions: a reggae version, "Junco Partner", and a dub version, "Version Pardner".
English actor and vocalist Hugh Laurie covered "Junker's Blues" on his 2013 album Didn't It Rain.