Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Mercy Dee - G.I. Fever

Mercy Dee Walton was born in Waco, Texas on August 30, 1915. His parents worked on farms in the bottomlands of the Brazos River, and Mercy Dee was destined for a similar life when at the age of thirteen he began to learn to play the piano, inspired by the music he heard at local house parties. The greatest influence on him was the unrecorded Delois Maxey, but other (equally unrecorded) Texas pianists also made some contribution: Son Brewster from Waco, Pinetop Shorty, Willy Woodson, Sonny Vee and "Big Hand" Joe Thomas in Fort Worth, Son Putney in Dallas, and Bob Jackson in Marlin—all little more than names now—and the Grey Ghost who emerged from obscurity only after Mercy Dee's death to make several noteworthy recordings.
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

Filling a re-post request.


lemonflag said...

Thanks so much for all these posts.

I always enjoy finishing off the tagging, you really get to "own" the tracks when you're finished.

FYI Track 3 side 2 "Bought Love" is missing

Xyros said...

That's what happens when you let the software do the track sequences.
Side 2 track 2 has to be split into "come back maybeline"and the missing track 3 "bought love".

lemonflag said...

OK, I didn't look at the timing. Thanks for the update. Found it at 2.32

Anonymous said...

A re-post is possible? Thanks

Anonymous said...

Many Thanks !!!

hepster said...

Could you please re-post this?

Mickey Bitsko said...

Thanks much!