‘Wee’ Willie Walker
“Listen – Ticket To Ride – MP3″
Here we are, in the middle of another week, and I for one could use a pick me up. Of course at my age, that generally leans in the direction of a cup of coffee, but one of the many good things about music is that no matter how old and tired you get, multiple helpings of the strong stuff tend to have a curative, rather than destructive effect.
We got things off to a mellow start this week with something from my man Bob Dorough, and I thought that here, becalmed in midweek it would do me (and all of us) a world of good to put the pedal to the metal as it were and drop something hot.
That hotness comes to you courtesy of a certain “Wee” Willie Walker, who in addition to having a mellifluously alliterative moniker, also had a dynamite set of pipes through which he was able to deliver some hot soul music.
I don’t know much about Walker. While he recorded nine songs for Goldwax – only six of those ever saw the light of day, with four of them appearing not on the Goldwax label, but rather on two Checker 45s.
Walker started out – like so many others – singing gospel (he was in a group called the Redemption Singers with songwriter, and longtime James Carr confidant Roosevelt Jamison), and found his way to Goldwax in 1965.
Why his amazing voice didn’t find it’s way to vinyl until 1967 is a mystery, though considering the fact that among his labelmates were artists like James Carr, Spencer Wiggins and the Ovations, perhaps Goldwax was attempting to dole out the goodness so as not to flood the market with too much high quality soul.
Today’s selection was the a-side of his sole Goldwax release. Walker’s smoking take on the Beatles ‘Ticket To Ride’ (how I wish I had this 45 when I put together the Rubber Souled mixes) features a hot horn chart, female backing vocals and a very solid rhythm section.
Thankfully Walker still performs (and records) today in his (since the mid-60s) hometown of Minneapolis fronting a group called the Butanes.
As always, I hope you dig the sounds.