Sunday, January 27, 2013
Mercy Dee - G.I. Fever
In the late 1930's Mercy Dee moved to California, where he worked on farms up and down the Central Valley while performing in local bars and clubs for the region's black farmworkers. In 1949 he recorded for the Fresno-based Spire label and had an immediate hit with "Lonesome Cabin Blues," which reached Number 7 on the R&B charts. This success attracted the attention of the larger Los Angeles–based Imperial label, which signed him and recorded two sessions of twelve titles in 1950. By 1952 he was recording for Specialty, another Los Angeles label. His first track for them, "One Room Country Shack," was a hit in 1953, reaching Number 8 on the R&B charts.Mercy Dee's chart success led made him a nationally-known artist, and he worked with various package shows touring the country. But his two other Specialty issues were less successful and he was dropped by the label. A recording for the small Rhythm label in 1954 had little impact, but in 1955 he recorded for the Flair label, part of the Modern Records stable in Los Angeles. These recordings were much more in the R&B style but did nothing to restore Walton's career. He returned to his earlier situation of supplementing his earnings from music with agricultural work and settled in the Stockton, California, area.
In 1961 Mercy Dee came to the attention of Chris Strachwitz, owner of the Arhoolie label. A series of sessions that year with sympathetic backing by guitarist K. C. Douglas, harmonica player Sidney Maiden, and drummer Otis Cherry produced albums on the Arhoolie and Bluesville labels. Soon afterwards Walton suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and died in hospital in Murphys, California, on December 2, 1962. Text from Sundayblues.org