Jr. Walker & The Allstars
Born in 1942. Walker was inspired to take up the saxophone by the jump blues and R&B bands he heard in the early 50s. In his mid-teens, he formed his first instrumental group, the Jumping Jacks, adopting the stage name Junior Walker after a childhood nickname. By 1961 he had achieved a prominent local reputation, which reached the ear of label owner and former Moonglow, Harvey Fuqua. He signed Walker to his Harvey label, allowing him free rein to record a series of raw saxophone-led instrumentals. In 1964 Walker followed Fuqua to Motown, where he perfected a blend of raunchy R&B and Detroit soul typified by his 1965 hit, "Shotgun". With its repeated saxophone riffs and call-and-response vocals, it established Walker as the label's prime exponent of traditional R&B, a reputation that was confirmed by later hits like "Shake And Fingerpop" and "Road Runner". The latter was produced by Holland/Dozier/Holland, who also encouraged Walker to record instrumental versions of hits they had written for other Motown artists.
Walker's style became progressively more lyrical in the late 60s, a development that reached its peak on the 1969 US Top 5 hit, "What Does It Take (To Win Your Love)?" This also marked the pinnacle of his commercial success, as subsequent attempts to repeat the winning formula were met with growing public indifference, and from 1972 onwards the All Stars recorded only sporadically. Hot Shot in 1976, produced by Brian Holland, marked a move towards the burgeoning disco market, which was confirmed on two further albums that year.
Jr. Walker and The All Stars
(1)I said,Shotgun shoot em for he runs now
Do the jerk baby
Do the jerk now Hey!
Put on your red dress
And then you go downtown now
I said buy yourself a shotgun now
We're gonna break it down baby now
We're gonna load it up baby now
And then you shoot him for he runs now
Put on your high heels shoes
I said we're goin' down here listen to em play blues
We're gonna dig potatoes
We're gonna pick tomatoes
I said it's Twine Time
I said it's Twine Time
I said it's Twine Time Hey!
Walker returned to the spotlight in 1981 with a guest solo on Foreigner's Top Five hit "Urgent". Two years later, he re-signed with Motown and recorded "Blow the House Down". His melodic style was now being absorbed into a new generation of R&B-flavoured jazz instrumentalists.
Junior continued to perform in the 80's and 90's, often with his son Autry DeWalt III on drums. Sadly, Junior Walker developed cancer in 1993 and as his health deteriorated, he had difficulty walking. He died on November 23, 1995 in Battle Creek, Michigan at age 53.
In the wake of his death, Billy "Stix" Nicks continued to tour with a version of the All-Stars.
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