Friday, March 28, 2008
Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Junior walker & The All Stars
Artist:Junior Walker & The All Stars
Song:How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)
Album:20th Century Masters:The Millenium Collection:The Best Of Junior Walker & The All Stars
With his honking sax and rough vocals, Junior Walker was atypical of Motown artists. But he had a huge hit with Shotgun and those of us who like old school R & B saxmen like Louis Jordan & Bullmoose Jackson enjoy his music too. He was born Autry DeWalt Jr. June 14, 1931 in Blytheville, AR. He grew up in South Bend, IN and started playing the sax in high school. He started performing in clubs in a band led by drummer Billy "Stix" Nicks along with organist Fred Patton & guitarist Willie Woods. Walker took leadership of the band when Nicks went into the Army and they all moved to Battle Creek, MI as Junior Walker & The All Stars. Victor Thomas replaced Patton and James Graves played drums. They were spotted in a local club by singer Johnny Bristol and he took them to former Moonglow Harvey Fuqua. Walker signed in 1961 but Fuqua sold his company to Motown in 1962 and Walker was assigned to the Soul label. The story behind Shotgun is Walker had no intention of singing the song. He didn't think he could sing. But the singer hired for the session didn't show up and Motown owner Berry Gordy told Walker to sing instead. Walker thought Gordy would dub in a different singer later but Gordy surprised him by leaving it alone. It topped the R & B charts and was a top five hit. This version of Marvin Gaye's How Sweet It Is also charted in 1966. This comp has all his hits. Junior Walker had more hits into the early 70s and continued to tour until his death from cancer on Nov. 23, 1995 at age 64. Here's Junior Walker & The All Stars performing Shotgun on Hullabaloo 1965.