Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Charlie Walker: Honky Tonker.

Charlie Walker's career started in Texas in the 1940's with Bill Boyd & the Cowboy Ramblers, a sort of poorer, poor man's version of the Light Crust Doughboys (with whom they shared personnel), specializing in the Dixieland jazz-inflected Western swing popular at the time. World War Two ended all that (and effectively killed off all of Western swing in the process), but Walker returned to the music scene as a disc jockey in the early 50's. His fortunes were resurrected again after signing a deal with Columbia Records, and he struck gold in 1958 with Harlan Howard's "Pick Me Up on Your Way Down". From then on straight through the early 70's he was never far from the charts, occasionally joined by Ray Price, and he even had a bit part in Sweet Dreams, the 1985 Patsy Cline biopic, playing doomed country crooner Hawkshaw Hawkins.

Walker's sound here is no-frills, unadorned Texas honky-tonk, straight out of Copeland, TX. It's a safe bet you can still walk into any dancehall in Texas (and plenty of nightclubs for that matter) and find this sound, and any band with even a modicum of taste (or sense) will know this one when it's requested.

From The Grand Ole Opry TV show, 1967, the same year Walker became a member of the Opry, and also featuring the ubiquitous and amazing Walter Haynes on the Sho-Bud pedal steel.

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