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Q: Legendary Sax player Junior Walker ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Legendary Sax player Junior Walker
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Music
Asked by: fil800-ga
List Price: $100.00
Posted: 07 Jun 2003 05:25 PDT
Expires: 07 Jul 2003 05:25 PDT
Question ID: 214315
Legendary Sax player Junior Walker
Interviews with him
With his son (who was his drummer in his touring band)
Members of his band 'The All Stars'

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 07 Jun 2003 06:47 PDT
I've done an extensive search, and found quite a number of quotes
*about* Junior Walker from band members and others who knew him,
including Bill Clinton.  I have excerpts from about a dozen sources,
all told.

I've also uncovered a few little-known facts about JW himself,
including his real name (which *isn't* Autry Dewalt).

However, I haven't found any interviews of Junior Walker himself, or
his son.

Should I post what I have as an answer?

Clarification of Question by fil800-ga on 07 Jun 2003 07:07 PDT
I am surprised there are no interviews given his appearance in a film
'Tapeheads' and soloing on Foreigner's hit 'Urgent'
What about other Motown artists?

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 07 Jun 2003 07:07 PDT
I spoke too soon...I have found a few quotes from Junior Walker himself.

Clarification of Question by fil800-ga on 07 Jun 2003 08:38 PDT
Thank you I look forward to your answers
Subject: Re: Legendary Sax player Junior Walker
Answered By: pafalafa-ga on 07 Jun 2003 09:30 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
I can't read about Junior Walker and the All Stars without a whole
Motown medley going off in my head, so this was an especially
enjoyable question for me.

As I'm sure you realize, copyright protections prohibit researchers
from posting the full text of published materials as part of our
answers.  However, I can certainly point you to articles about Junior
Walker and members of the All Stars, and provide some excerpts.

For the most part, I have focused on those that have extensive quotes
from band members and others who knew him.  But I also included a few
excerpts of information that I thought you might find interesting  I
did not find quotes from direct family members.

I hope these are what you are looking for.  But if any additional
information is needed, just post a Request for Clarification to let me
know, and I'll be happy to assist you further.


Local members reflect on the All-Stars, anticipate tour
South Bend Tribune (Indiana)
Jan 05, 2003

SOUTH BEND -- Darryl Buchanan remembers how he met Junior Walker. 

"It was fate. An older brother lived in a house on Napier (in 1980),
and I was jogging to my brother's house (when) I met Junior's wife."

She was outside, but it was the music coming from inside the house
that drew Buchanan.

"She told me to go on in the house," Buchanan said.... 

Buchanan became an All Star at 17 in 1980 and played with the band off
and on until Walker's death in 1995.

With a recent documentary film shedding light on the role the
musicians played in creating the Motown sound, alumni from Junior
Walker and the All Stars have plans to hit the road as a part of a
revue of Motown music called "Motor City Memories."


Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents
Jun 09, 1997; 825(6);
Bill Clinton Interview with Sarah Stahly and Bill Brand of VH1

Q. That's wonderful. You mentioned black artists, black music. Was
that - you mentioned Virginia loved Elvis, and there was sort of the
Beatles. Going into black music, was that different, Motown?

The President. When I was a child, I just - I was elated by all those
Motown artists. I loved them all. And in the late eighties, I once got
to play in Michigan, "Dancing in the Streets" with the Four Tops,
Martha and the Vandellas, and Junior Walker. And I never will forget.
I never will forget playing a saxophone riff with Junior Walker. It
was a great thing. And I always loved that. I loved Ray Charles and I
loved that. And then I loved all the religious music.


Interview: Singer, songwriter and preacher Al Green discusses his
music career and when he became a Christian; JUAN WILLIAMS; Talk of
the Nation (NPR); Washington; ; Jan 01, 2001

WILLIAMS: Now who were the Soul Mates? 

Rev. GREEN: Palmer James, Curtis Rodgers, Lee Burgess(ph) and Al
Green. That was the Soul Mates.

WILLIAMS: And would you guys sing in churches or were you in concerts
out in parks?

Rev. GREEN: No. We were singing clubs. 

WILLIAMS: In clubs. 

Rev. GREEN: Right. We was singing with--well, they didn't know it then
either. We was singing with Junior Walker and the All-Stars.

WILLIAMS: And the All-Stars. 

Rev. GREEN: That's right. 

WILLIAMS: All right. 

Rev. GREEN: (Singing) Shotgun, da, da, da, shoot him before he runs
now, da da.

I mean, all night long. 


Rev. GREEN: Because, you see, we was nobody and we had to sing with
the band, so as long as they played, you sang.

WILLIAMS: Well, did Junior Walker pick up, `Hey, this man's got a

Rev. GREEN: No. No. Just Palmer and them--Palmer James said that this
guy who worked with him, he could sing.


OBITUARIES: STONE MOUNTAIN: Ron Harville, bassist played with Motown 
The Atlanta Journal and Constitution; Jan 15, 2003 

A native of Baltimore, Mr. Harville played cornet and trumpet in his
high school band. After he graduated, he taught himself to play the
bass and became so proficient that Motown group Junior Walker and the
All Stars invited him to tour with them. He settled in the Detroit
area and became in demand as a studio and touring bassist for other
Motown acts. He performed with Gladys Knight, Ike and Tina Turner, the
Temptations, the Jackson Five and with jazz greats Herbie Hancock and
Lionel Hampton.


Jerry Butler Discusses Rhythm and Blues Awards
Weekend Edition - Sunday (NPR); Washington; ; Feb 25, 1996

In its seventh year, the Rhythm and Blues Foundation presents its
Pioneer Award to recognize artists who have made long-lasting
contributions to the genre. This year's winners include Bo Diddley and
Doris Troy...

JERRY BUTLER:...We are at this point- this annual awards show, is kind
of our concept of a Pulitzer Prize for excellence in the music, but
that is just a show. That is not the purpose. The purpose is to try
and help that artists, i.e., Junior Walker, who passed not too long
ago, basically broke and in a destitute situation, to try and
alleviate some of that pain and pressure from the family of trying to
run around and pull all of that together.


Hirshey, Gerri, Rolling Stone, 05/11/2000, Issue 840

I had a limousine," says Wilson "Mustang Sally" Pickett. "I put
200,000 miles on it, sold it, and it was still running like a sewing
machine. Because we keep the cars up." Crisscrossing the country in
their highway schooners between endless one-nighters, Pickett and his
band members could rack up more than 100,000 miles a year. Pickett
knew that that sweet ride was his pride, his livelihood and, many
times, his sanctuary. He figures the reason you hear so many of his
fifty-plus contemporaries wax poetic about their cars is that they had
more primal, hands-on relationships with them. A man's reputation was
enhanced by how deeply he understood his pretty pink Fleetwood.
"Nobody was a better mechanic than [Motown's] Junior Walker," Pickett
says. "Nobody."


Junior Walker 1931-1995.
Rolling Stone, 1/25/96 Issue 726, p28

His influence lives on today in the brash, raucous playing of Maceo
Parker and Clarence Clemons "Junior Walker and King Curtis were the
two biggest influences on me," says Clemons. "All those jazz cats were
too abstract for me; Junior was more animated, and he got straight to
the point. He knew it wasn't how many notes you play but what each
note says -- quality, not quantity."


Billboard, 12/9/95, Vol. 107, Issue 49

Harvey Fuqua, the former Moonglows singer who worked with late
saxophonist Junior Walker in the early '60s, remembers Walker as an
artist who managed to create a lot with a little.

"He was the only one who could play the same five notes throughout his
career and make hits with them," Fuqua says. "I'm sort of pulling your
leg, but that's all he had to play."

"He was a honker, but not as honkish as the others," Fuqua says. "Not
a screamin' honker--a smoother edition of a honker . . . He was a sexy
player also: "These Eyes,' "Sweet Soul,' 'What Does It Take.' Those
things were wonderful."

..."It was an excellent band," recalls Johnny Bristol, who produced
many of Walker's hits with Fuqua and played opposite the All Stars at
El Grotto Bar in Battle Creek, where the group was the house band.
"The place was so packed, the [owner] raised her cover charge from 50
cents to a dollar."


Billboard 3/18/95, Vol. 107, Issue 11

...Prysock was among 13 honorees who shared $220,000 in award moneys
presented during the emotional evening, and his heartfelt sentiments
were mirrored by just about every other artist who was honored. The
other honorees--most of whom had never been presented with any kind of
award--were Inez & Charlie Foxx, Cissy Houston, Dar-lene Love, the
Marvelettes, the Moonglows, Lloyd Price, Mabel Scott, Booker T. & the
MG's, Justine "Baby" Washington, Illinois Jacquet, and Junior Walker.


Jet, Dec 11, 1995 v89 n5 p58(1) 
Junior Walker, leader of the Motown group Junior Walker and the All
Stars, dies of cancer.

...Born Oscar G. Mixon, he chose the name Autry Dewalt Jr. as an adult
and used the stage name Junior Walker as an entertainer....He is
survived by his mother, Marie Walker, nine sons, four daughters and
two stepdaughters.


Johnny Griffith
The Times, Nov 29, 2002

 Johnny Griffith, Motown musician, was born in Detroit in 1936. He
died there
of a heart attack on November 10, 2002, aged 66.

 Classically trained session musician whose prodigious keyboard
melodies added
soul to the Motown sound...Virtually unknown outside the label's
confines, Griffith played the electric piano on Marvin Gaye's I Heard
it Through the Grapevine and on the Temptations'
Ain't too Proud to Beg, the organ on Stop in the Name of Love by the
the organ and shotgun sounds on Junior Walker's memorable dance track
and contributed to hundreds of other famous Motown tracks.


This website is a tribute to Junior Wlaker and has a number of
interesting quotes from and about JW, although they are not referenced
to any particular source.  Still....worth a look:


Shooting from the lip Obituary: Junior Walker 
The Guardian Manchester (UK) Nov 25, 1995

Walker was born Autry DeWalt Jr in Blytheville, Arkansas, and numbered
among his early influences some of the high-rolling, big-blowing tenor
saxophonists of fifties jazz - Illinois Jacquet, Arnett Cobb, Buddy
Tate and the rasping, squawking Earl Bostic. "They used to play in our
town and on Sundays I'd join them," he recalled. "We made a lot of
noise, people would complain, but the cops would say, 'Hell, leave
them be. At least we know where they are, they ain't causing no
trouble'." He formed his first band in his teens, an instrumental
outfit called the Jumping Jacks.

....If Walker's chart profile was sorely diminished, his name was
never entirely forgotten, not least because the band always pursued a
busy touring schedule. "I've always just been in to putting a band
together, getting on the road and making some money," said Walker.
"And I don't get tired of playing because I love music."


Junior Walker; Saxophonist, Head of All Stars 
The Los Angeles Times Nov 25, 1995; 

Walker continued to tour into the '90s, sometimes with his son, Autry
DeWalt III, backing him on drums. Walker had recently returned from a
tour with the Four Tops, the Temptations and other Motown stars, said
Woods, his friend since school days.

"When he got back, he had lost the strength in his legs," Woods said.
"He never really came back to where he could walk again."

Walker gained acclaim for his brilliant sax solos, and his style is
credited with influencing jazz saxophonist David Sanborn, among

"He's going to be missed," said Steve Weitzman, promoter for the New
York City club Tramps. "That era is over now. Sax has been replaced by
horn synthesizer, and that's such a shame. There's not going to be
another one like him."

Vivino said Walker was known for "his command of what the sax players
call the upper register--funky."


Chicago Tribune Oct 14, 1994

[lots of quotes in this article...too many to reproduce them all here]

...Walker, who appears with his All-Stars next Wednesday through
Saturday at the Metropole in the Fairmont Hotel...

"The doctors had diagnosed it to be in my lungs and my liver," says
Walker from his Battle Creek, Mich., home. "But after (my friends)
prayed for me and I went back, the doctor went in and took the kidney

"Then when he got to my liver, he looked at it and he said, `That
thing is healthy!' " Walker says. "I was weighing 116 pounds. I'm 153
now. Back on my feet and rolling."

Walker never precisely fit the slick Motown image.... 

"I was just different from everybody else," says Walker. "We just had
our own thing going. Berry Gordy, he kept it that way.

"He'd tell everybody else to leave me alone." 

"...I listened to Illinois Jacquet," says Walker. "I was blowing like
him, trying to do some things like him. And that's where I got it
from. I started blowing that high note. Then I just went on up a
little higher than what he was doing."

That trademark squeal made Walker a unique attraction even before he
began recording. "I was playing a little club, and I was screaming
like that with the horn. So the guy playing the guitar told me, `Oh
man, you shouldn't be doing that.'

"Another guy that was standing behind me said, `You keep doing what
you're doing. Don't pay that man any attention. You blow that note,
because there ain't nobody else blowing it.' "


Jr. Walker Reloads His Sax-Shooter for Another Tour de Force 
The Los Angeles Times  Jan 6, 1988

Junior Walker downplayed his role as one of the most successful and
influential members of the 1960s Motown Records stable.

"I just blowed my horn," he said, "and I guess people liked what came

"...We were all part of the overall Motown sound, and each of us, in
our own way, helped make that sound popular," said Walker...

"It's just that I was never really much of a singer, so when I came
around, they (Motown executives) told me to concentrate on blowing my
horn," he said. "Turns out, they liked what I was doing, so they
didn't want to change me.

"I was different, that's all. Instead of singing with my voice, I sang
with my horn."

"...After so many years of nonstop touring, you just get tired," he
said. "You need to take a rest, you need to get away from it all."

"...All of a sudden, it was like history repeating itself," he said.
"Everybody started liking the old music, and even new bands began
copying our sound and playing the songs we used to play."

"There ain't too many of us originals around anymore," Walker said.
"So it's up to survivors like us to show the kids where this stuff
they're hearing now came from in the first place."


The Washington Post 
 Nov 29, 1995
Courtland Milloy; 

Junior Walker

Helen Washington, a waitress at Blues Alley, told me this week that I
had missed two great shows -- although on one occasion, six years ago,
Junior Walker performed there on the run from the Internal Revenue

"He was on stage bragging about how he had been eluding them, but he
didn't know that two IRS agents were in the audience," Washington
recalled. "We are not supposed to tell the artist if the IRS is
present, so we just had to sort of laugh as Junior started joking
about all of his evasive maneuvers. As soon as he put the horn in his
mouth, they walked out with his {pay} check."

Walker didn't find out what had happened until after he finished the

"He was as close to tears as I've ever seen him," Washington recalled.

His performance last year was another matter. Walker had canceled a
Blues Alley date after learning he had cancer. Then he rescheduled,
saying he had been visited in the hospital by his four sons, including
Autry DeWalt III, his drummer, whose prayers, he believed, had cured


Hope this does the trick.  Let me know if I can help out further.


Search strategy:  searched Google and numerous full-text databases for
"Junior Walker"

Request for Answer Clarification by fil800-ga on 08 Jun 2003 06:54 PDT
Thanks for the info - great stuff
Just a couple of other things
1. Do you know of any celebrities/musicians that attened his funeral?
2. Allan Slutsky aka Dr Licks (was rumoured to be writing a book about
JW) do you know anything about this?
Thanks and regards

Clarification of Answer by pafalafa-ga on 08 Jun 2003 10:37 PDT
Hello again.  Glad to hear that the information was what you were
looking for.  As for your clarifications:

--When you posted your earlier question on JW's funeral, I looked, but
didn't find anything substantial.  If the funeral was covered in the
press at all, it didn't make it into any of the data sources I have at
my disposal.  I continued looking as I was researching this question,
but again...nothing showed up.

--As for Dr. Licks doing a book, I took a look around, but again,
didn't find anything about this.  Tell you what, though.  If you can
give me any additional details -- like, where you heard the rumor, and
what, specifically, you heard --it might spark some possible new
avenues for searching around.

Good luck.


Request for Answer Clarification by fil800-ga on 09 Jun 2003 03:24 PDT
I got the info about the book from a cd 'The Ultimate Collection (Jnr
Walker & the All Stars). The Liner notes are by Allan (DR Licks)
Slutsky, a Philadlphia based guitarist and author - his book Standing
in the Shadows of Motown; The life & music of legendary bassist James
Jamerson won the 1989 Ralph J Gleason Book Award Grand Prize (and
became a docu film as well). the notes finish with
.....He is currently working on Jr Walker's life story.
hope this helps

Clarification of Answer by pafalafa-ga on 09 Jun 2003 06:30 PDT
I've got a few emails out on this to see if I can track down any
information.  Let's give it a few days, then I'll post an update and
let you know if anything turned up.

fil800-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars

Subject: Re: Legendary Sax player Junior Walker
From: omnivorous-ga on 07 Jun 2003 14:37 PDT
Pafalafa and Fil800 --

It's interesting that there's an issue of whether or not Autry DeWalt,
Jr. was his real name.  The AP obituary on Nov. 23, 1995 says,
"Reference books say Mr. Walker was born Autry DeWalt Jr. in
Blytheville, Ark., sometime in 1942."

His son was named Autry DeWalt III, which I think I'd noted on the
funeral question.

Maybe only Willie Woods, his guitarist and friend from school days
could shed light on the issue.

One thing's for sure: he was a powerful saxophonist.

One other note: there's a great movie (which won an Oscar nomination)
called "Standing in the Shadows of Motown."  It's out now in DVD --
highly recommended.

Best regards,


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